Whitecaps 2, LA Galaxy 1: Smash-and-grab win seals spot in Leagues Cup knockout stage

The Whitecaps advance in Leagues Cup play despite a spotty performance in California

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The Vancouver Whitecaps are moving on in Leagues Cup competition after a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday night in Carson, California.

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The Whitecaps only needed a draw to qualify for the knockout stage, but Brian White did one better for the visitors, scoring in the 91st minute to seal the smash-and-grab win.

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Vancouver hadn’t generated much offence through the first 80 minutes of the contest, with the Galaxy threatening to extend a 1-0 lead on several occasions. But a Ryan Gauld cross found its way into the Los Angeles net after deflecting off defender Lucas Calegari for an own goal in the 81st minute.

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White ended all Galaxy hopes of advancing in the competition with his stoppage time marker. The goal was White’s 12th across all competitions.

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The assist on the game-winner came from Gauld, his 50th for Vancouver.

Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig opened the scoring in the 16th minute, as the Spaniard ripped a low shot past Whitecaps goalkeeper Isaac Boehmer from the top of the box.

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Los Angeles dominated possession throughout, ending the match with 62 per cent possession of the ball. Both teams finished the game with three shots on target.

At the final whistle, boos rained down from the crowd of 14,787 at Dignity Health Sports Park as Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini celebrated enthusiastically with his staff.

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Before the match, Sartini said that beating the Galaxy in California would be “super tough,” especially after torching Los Angeles for three first-half goals in their last Major League Soccer meeting at BC Place in Vancouver on July 15. The Whitecaps won that match 4-2.

Vancouver finishes the group stage with a 1-1-0 record, advancing out of Group C alongside Mexican powerhouse Club Leon, who outlasted Vancouver 2-2 (16-15) last Saturday in the longest shootout in MLS and Whitecaps history.

The round of 32 matches get underway next Wednesday. The Whitecaps will play at BC Place on Friday (Aug. 4) against another Mexican powerhouse, Tigres UANL, who defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Sunday night.

[email protected]

twitter.com/mike_raptis

— with files from Canadian Press

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Vancouver Whitecaps forward Sergio Córdova reacts after falling during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Carson, Calif.
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Sergio Córdova reacts after falling during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Carson, Calif. Photo by Ryan Sun /AP
Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld (25) surveys the field during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Carson, Calif.
Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld (25) surveys the field during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Carson, Calif. Photo by Ryan Sun /AP
Los Angeles Galaxy defender Lucas Calegari (2) high fives teammate Dejan Joveljic after a goal by teammate Riqui Puig during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles Galaxy defender Lucas Calegari (2) high fives teammate Dejan Joveljic after a goal by teammate Riqui Puig during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Carson, Calif. Photo by Ryan Sun /AP

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reference: theprovince.com

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