The Whitecaps at LAFC was able to score first and hold on to leave LA with an important point. It moves Vanni Sartini and Vancouver one step closer to the MLS Playoffs. A win and they were in but the home side had other thoughts as they were looking to keep their own playoff hopes alive.
It was a back and forth match that had much more action than the 1-1 score line shows. Let’s take a look at how things went down for the two Western Conference foes.
News Notes And Lineups
The Vancouver Whitecaps and Vanni Sartini would make one change to the lineup that defeated Minnesota 2-1. Erik Godoy would replace Ranko Veselinovic at the back joining Jake Nerwinksi and Florian Jungwirth. Maxime Crepeau would get the start between the sticks for the Whitecaps.
Leonard Owusu and Russell Teibert started in the midfield role with Javain Brown and Bruno Gaspar on the wings. Ryan Gauld started in his normal role with Cristian Dajome and Brian White up top in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Los Angeles Football Club
Head coach Bob Bradley and LAFC would make no changes to his squad as he deals with injury issues. Jamal Backman would start in the net with Sebastien Ibeagha, Jesus Murillo, and Mamadou Fall in front of him in a 3-4-3 formation. Marco Farfan, Diego Palacios, Latif Blessing, and Kim Moon-Hwan started in the midfield from left to right.
Carlos Vela would start on the bench for LAFC but they would have lots of attacking options. Raheem Edwards and Brian Rodriguez would join the red hot Cristian Arango up top. Arango has been in amazing form of late with 7 goals and 2 assists in his past 5 matches.
Whitecaps Start The 1st Half Strong But Give Up A Late Equalizer
The Whitecaps would kick things off to start the first half but give it away after an early handball from Owusu. After some nice work from Ryan Gauld Vancouver would win the ball back on a throw. Vancouver would control and Brian White would get a chance to cross it into the box. It was too high for Dajome and LAFC could counter. A smart foul on Blessing from Osusu would slow things down for the home side. They would control and try down the left side but Jungwirth was able to turn them back. The match moved into the 5th minute as the Caps would win the ball back and try and slow things down.
A turnover on the right side and Arango would find Rodriguez at the top of the box. His shot was an easy save for Whitecaps keeper Maxime Crepeau. On the clearance, Vancouver would win a free kick on a handball. They were shaky with the ball and turned it over to LAFC. Rodriguez would get a pass over the top but he was offside in the 7th minute. Dajome would try his luck crossing it into White from the left. His delivery was nice but the header from White was over the top of the net and out for a goal kick.
The match moved into the 10th minute with both teams playing cautiously. Dajome would look to win a foul but Alex Chilowicz would signal a throw for LAFC. After the Caps won it back Dajome would try an early skipping ball for White but it was too far and the home side would take over. The Whitecaps would control as we moved past the 13th minute but another cross into White was taken poorly and ran to Blackman. LAFC would try and counter but Brown was able to cut it out and turn back the other way.
Ryan Gauld was able to make a great pass down the left side to find Brian White. He would cut it back into the box and Dajome would adjust and move to the top of the box before firing it past Blackman and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead in the 14th minute. It was a great start for the Whitecaps at LAFC to take an early lead. Brian White and Ryan Gauld would both get assists on the goal.
The goal would quiet the fans a bit as the rain came down at Banc Of California Stadium. Vancouver would back off and allow LAFC to control things through their backline. The match moved into the 19th minute and Vancouver looked to steal the ball but Blessing was strong and able to keep on possession. Farfan would work it to Rodriguez but his shot was blocked by Jungwirth. The ball would come back to Rodriguez but his volley would go well over the net for a goal kick. Vancouver would take the chance to control things after winning a throw on the right side.
A bad pass back almost lead to a chance for LAFC but Crepeau was able to clear. LA would work it around at the top of the box and look to send Blessing into the box. Edwards would send in a beautiful pas to Arango who found Blessing but Gaspar was able to block the shot and it would eventually go out for a goal kick. Crepeau would clear it down the pitch in the 23rd minute as Vancouver held onto their 1-0 lead. A quick turnover and Farfan and Edwards would work down the left side.
Crepeau was called upon to make a great save with his leg after a shot was deflected on the net. Vancouver would clear but LAFC was back in once again with a great chance. A shot from Edwards was parried out and Vancouver was able to clear and counter quickly. White was sent down the pitch and cut it back to Gaspar with space. He was slow to get his shot away and was tackled as he sent it in on the net. It was a back and forth match as Farfan would move back in and try and spot Arango at the back post but Brown was able to send it out for a corner.
It was delivered in and Fall would rise above Jungwirth but his header was right into the crest of Maxime Crepeau. The teams would once again trade possession as we moved into the 28th minute. The Whitecaps would regain control and be happy to control things and slow down the match. Godoy would try and find Owusu but his first touch was poor and the Caps would have to re-group. They would try the other side but the ball for Dajome would go out of touch for a goal kick. A poor clearance from Blackman and Gauld would take back control with a nice press.
The match would move past the 30th minute and the physicality would intensify. Brown would foul Fall in the attacking half and LAFC would get a chance for a free-kick. It was sent in deep but Vancouver was able to defend it well before it went out behind the net. Crepeau would kick things downfield and White would give it right back to LAFC with an errant header. The Whitecaps would win a free-kick of their own in the 35th minute after a foul on Gaspar by Edwards.
The home side would win it back quickly and work down the right side. It was played to Rodriguez but Vancouver was able to kick it back down to the other side of the pitch. With 10 minutes plus the added time, it was clear Vancouver was holding on for the first half. Vancouver wasn’t looking to make plays when they got on the ball. Instead, they would just try and kick it down into the LAFC end. Ryan Gauld and White would try and work a give and go but it was between 5 black shirts. A nice run from Rodriguez would win a dangerous free-kick.
Godoy would give up a foul right outside the 18-yard box and Arango would stand over the ball. Arango would send it off Dajome and out for a throw. An early cross into the box and Godoy was able to clear to Gauld who would play it up for Dajome. He did some great work to win a throw down the right side. Brown would try and cross the ball into the box but it was cleared out for a Whitecaps corner. Gauld would look for Jungwirth at the back of the box but it was cleared away. Edwards would do some nice work to win the ball back for LAFC before eventually winning a throw.
LAFC would control as the match moved into the 43rd minute of play. Vancouver did a great job of pressing and Teibert was able to win the ball back and kill more valuable first-half minutes. Brain White would work down the right side but would be beaten by Blessing and LAFC would take over. It was short-lived after some bad passing from the home side. Vancouver would try and control the final minutes but it was LAFC that was pressing now. Kim-Hwan would run past Nerwinski but a late challenge would force a corner.
It was delivered in and Ibeagha would head it towards the near post but Crepeau was able to block it out and off an LAFC player for a goal kick. LAFC would continue on the attack and looked to get the tieing goal late in the first half. Ibeagha would cross it into the box and it would bounce right off Jungwirth right to Fall. He was able to tuck it home and after a VAR review and we would go into the half, tied 1-1.
Whitecaps At LAFC Play A Physical But Scoreless 2nd Half
Bob Bradley would make the only change at halftime bringing on Jose Cifuentes for Farfan. Vancouver would win an early free-kick and bring up the men from the back. Gauld would send it right off the wall but get the ball back. It was turned over and Cifuentes would try and make a run but the ball would run off his foot and right to Crepeau. It was a fast start to the 2nd half for the Whitecaps at LAFC as both teams wanted all 3 points. LA would take control but Brown would make a smart play and win the ball back from Arango and clear.
Vancouver would win a throw down the right side and play it back to Jungwirth. There was no urgency for the visiting side and that is what hurt them to end the 1st half. Gauld would find Gaspar down the left side but he would be forced to play it back to Nerwinski. He would switch play and LAFC would win the ball back and try and send Cifuentes down the left side but it was too heavy. Rodriguez would make a great pass to Arango and his shot was saved beautifully by Maxime Crepeau. He was able to get a hand on it and force it out for a corner.
It was sent in but the header was bounced weakly and Vancouver could calm things down. Dajome would try and work down the left side in the 52nd minute but Fall was smart defensively and stepped in front of the Caps striker. Gauld would get back on the ball and work it through the midfield with Teibert and Owusu. A quick switch of play but Vancouver couldn’t find Dajome. LAFC would counter back and win a questionable free-kick. Godoy would get his hands up onto Rodriguez just outside the box.
Arango would let Kim send it into the front of the box but it was cleared easily and LAFC was forced to play it back to Blackman. The home side would continue the pressure as Blessing would fire a shot from the top of the box but it was blocked. They would try down the right side before a cross into the box. It was cleared to Gauld at the half before he was hauled down by Palacios in the 56th minute. The Whitecaps would get some rare possession to start the second half before sending it out for a throw.
Vanni Sartini would go to his bench in the 57th minute bringing on Cristian Gutierrez for Erik Godoy. White would try and get on the end of a Ryan Gauld pass but was a step ahead of the defender and offside. Vancouver would turn it over and LAFC would get space once again. The ball would get played through the box and come to Cifuentes who fired a strike on target. Crepeau was sharp once again and kicked out another chance for the home side to keep it 1-1 in the 59th minute. The home side would continue to control the pace of play.
Arango would try a cheeky backheel on a pass from Cifuentes in the 61st minute but Crepeau was smart to the attempt. Vancouver would clear it downfield but LAFC was right back in down the right side. Edwards would try and pick out a runner but it would run long and out of touch. The Whitecaps at LAFC would see some possession of their own as LAFC was looking for the counterattack opportunity. Dajome would make a nice play down the left side and win a throw after his cross was sent out of touch.
Owusu would do some great work to win a free kick after being taken down by Blessing in the 63rd minute. Gauld would send it to the back post and Ibeagha was forced to send it out the back for a corner. Gauld would deliver it in and it was sent right out for another corner. The next delivery was too close to Blackman and he was able to grab it and send LAFC away quickly. Despite outnumbering the white jerseys, Vancouver was able to win a throw on the right side. Referee Alex Chilowicz would pull out his whistle as things got chippy.
The teams would trade fouls as the match moved into the 68th minute. Dajome was taken down for the Whitecaps before Blessing was fouled the other way. It was sloppy for the next several minutes before White would win a free-kick. He was taken down from behind by Mamadou Fall. Gauld would float it in looking for Brown but Cifuentes was able to head it out for a corner. The cross was great to find Brown at the back post but his header was stopped by Blackman for another corner. Owusu would take this one but to was too close to Blackman who punched it away.
Bob Bradley would make his second sub of the night in the 72nd minute bringing on Carlos Vela for Ibeagha in a very attack-minded switch. The “Carlos Vela” chants would start from the Banc Of California crowd. Vancouver would control things down the right side and win a throw to slow the chants. A cross into the box was cleared easily and Palacios would try and counter. Owusu would make a nice challenge and the ball would come back to Crepeau. The Whitecaps would control things but be pressed high and forced into a turnover.
LAFC would push back in and win a corner. It was cleared out for a second attempt and Vanni Sartini was able to make substitutions. He would bring on Janio Bikel and Deiber Caicedo to replace Owusu and Dajome in the 77th minute. Arango was able to get on the end of the delivery from the corner but his shot would go wide of the net. After turning the ball over Gauld and Dajome would take two quick fouls which would spark the drama. Ruseel Teibert was shown a yellow card for his part in the melee.
LAFC would concede a throw down the left side in the 84th minute. Gaspar would take a knock and need to be treated by medical staff before being replaced by Ranko Veselinovc. Lucas Cavallini would also come on in the 85th minute to replace Brian White for the final 5 minutes plus added time. Deiber Caicedo would get an amazing chance when the play restarted. He was sent in all alone and headed it down perfectly but couldn’t chip the final ball over Blackman. The ball would come back the other way and Crepeau was forced to come off his line and punch it away.
It was a crazy last 5 minutes and it felt like another goal was coming. Gauld would try and switch to find Caicedo and after working it back into the middle they would try and spring Cavallini. LAFC would take over and move back into the Cap’s end. A floating cross into the box but Ranko was able to head it away and the back and forth continued. Vela would get the next chance in the 88th minute after being given far too much room. It was a weak shot, for Vela, and Crepeau was able to smoother it. The delivery was poor from the Caps keeper and LAFC would take over once again.
LAFC would make another change in the 90th minute bringing on Danny Musovski for Rodriguez. Vancouver would win a throw but give it away to LAFC. They would press looking to save their season but Gauld was able to step in and find Caicedo. he did some great work but would be tackled down the left side. The 4th official would signal an additional 4 minutes of stoppage time as the Whitecaps at LAFC looked to hold on to the 1-1 result. Arango would try and move back in but his cross went through the box and Vancouver was able to clear.
Edwards would take a dive and would be waved up almost as fast as he could return to his feet. LAFC would stay on the ball and cross it into the box. Vancouver caught a break as Arango wasn’t able to get on the end of a header. It was poor quality for the man who has been so dangerous for LAFC. The home side would get one more chance but it was too long and Chilowicz would blow the final whistle. It was a tough road result for the Whitecaps but they will take the point as they move on to the final regular-season match of the season.
Post Match Thoughts And Media
Vanni Sartini was overall happy about the Whitecaps At LAFC 1-1 result but felt the team could have done more. He spoke on the results from Banc Of California Stadium.
“We knew that for them it was a big game, they had the chance to catch us. And to play here, it’s hard. They have these fans that from minute one and, my opinion, they influence a little bit of the referee too, all the half and half calls are for them every time. And it’s okay. It’s normal. And it’s actually beautiful for the league, so they have a very beautiful atmosphere. And we know that was this kind of game: to suffer, to defend very well, and then to try and counter attack to exploit them. We did it very well with the goal.”
Vanni also spoke about some of the other things he liked from the match and how the team was looking forward to the final match at home against the Seattle Sounders.
“We are looking forward [and] I’m looking forward to the game. I’m looking forward to having BC Place full of our fans pushing us, doing the job with Seattle trying to win, of course. We know that a tie is enough, but a win can put us in a better position. So we’ll try to beat Seattle and to celebrate with our fans at the end of the day Sunday afternoon.”
Whitecaps keeper Maxime Crepeau was strong for his side letting in just 1 goal. He talked about the teams fighting spirit to get a point on the road in a tough place to play.
“We knew they were throwing everything at us and we had good spells of possession sometimes in the game. In the first half, the first few minutes we were in their half. Second half, they started strong the first 10-15, and then we got the possession a little bit of a good spell. But overall that was the key to our success, is to be a tight team, and to be difficult to play through.”
“Obviously LAFC is really good at that, finding pockets in between our lines and in between our players. But yeah, it was a great defence performance from everybody. You know, that’s really important. And we go back to Vancouver with a tie or a win against Seattle, we’re in. So it’s Decision Day for a reason and it’s up to us.”
Florian Jungwirth talked about the teams fight and how excited he was for the match tonight knowing Vancouver was getting so close to the playoffs.
“It was a fantastic fight. LAFC, they’re a great team. They have all the big offensive players. They have massive quality on top. We knew that before and they showed it today. We threw ourselves at every ball and every tackle. We fought with everything we had. When you see the last tackle, Ryan Gauld tackles it and gets the goal kick for us in our box. I think that shows the mentality and the attitude of the team. Of course they had chances, but the way we fought was just incredible. And that’s why we deserve a point for our mentality and style of play.”
The Unnamed Moments Of The Match
It could have been all 3 points for the Whitecaps at LAFC but all things considering I am sure they will take it. There was a bit of everything Tuesday night as the playoffs were in sight for both squads. Some great goals, great chances, and great saves made for a solid night of Soccer.
The Unnamed Player Of The Match
There shouldn’t be any doubt as to who “The Unnamed Player Of The Match” was! Maxime Crepeau made 10 saves and some of the bigger ones coming in the 2nd half when the team had defensive breakdowns. Max made it very clear why he should be the Whitecaps MVP this season.
The Unnamed “Bennie Hill” Of The Match
This is almost a must when there is a Footy Skirmish! You saw it earlier but now enjoy the classic theme music of Bennie Hill as the Whitecaps at LAFC got a bit edgy.
The Unnamed Media Moments Of The Match
Lots of fun tonight in media as usual. Whether it’s Maxime showing up with paint in his hair or Florian Jungwirth talking about how defending as a team keeps him from shitting his pants. His words, not mine!
Sports Talk Line And The Vancouver Whitecaps
The 1-1 draw for the Whitecaps at LAFC keeps both teams’ playoff hopes alive. Vancouver will just need either a win or a draw on Decision Day while LA will need all 3 points against the Colorado Rapids and help. The draw moves the Whitecaps back up into 6th place, tied with Minnesota United FC at 48 points in the MLS Western Conference.
It all comes down to one last match for the Whitecaps as they will host the Seattle Sounder Sunday November 9th. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @JoshuaGriffith0 as we lead up to the biggest match of the season.