Report and Reaction: Whitecaps late, late show in LA sets up Leagues Cup knockout clash with Tigres

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps late, late show in LA sets up Leagues Cup knockout clash with Tigres

The scenario was a simple one for both Vancouver Whitecaps and LA Galaxy in Carson, California on Sunday evening – win, whether over the 90 minutes or in a penalty shootout, and you advance from the Leagues Cup group stage and into the knockout round. For 80 minutes, it looked like the Galaxy were the team that had got the memo, before a late smash and grab from the Whitecaps gave Vancouver a 2-1 victory and booked a match-up with Mexican giants Tigres in the Round of 32.

LA had dominated the game after taking a 16th minute lead from a Riqui Puig goal and should have put the game to bed long before they allowed the ‘Caps to get themselves back into it. But they were made to rue their missed opportunities when Calegari turned the ball into his own net in the 81st minute after a great cross into the box from Ryan Gauld.

As the game headed into stoppage time and with penalties looming, up popped White to bury the winner from close range and set up a tasty Friday night clash with Tigres.

Vanni Sartini made four changes from the side that lost that epic penalty shootout to Club Leon last week, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation and handing Isaac Boehmer the start in goal. Luis Martins was penciled in to start but a tight calf in warm ups saw him scratch, to be replaced by Mathias Laborda.

It was a slow start by both teams, with the best opportunity falling to the ‘Caps when a through ball tried to play in Brian White but LA keeper Novak Micovic was quickly off his line to deal with the danger.

The home side took the lead in the 16th minute after a well worked move saw Riqui Puig play the ball out to his right to Calegari. The Brazilian played it back in to Puig, who fired it into the bottom corner to give the Galaxy the lead.

Dejan Joveljic came close to adding a second for LA in the 26th minute, missing the far post by inches with a shot across goal. There was a collision between Joveljic and his fellow Serbian Ranko Veselinovic in the box that saw the Whitecaps centre back in a lot of pain on the ground holding his knee. Veselinovic tried to continue but was subbed off nine minutes later.

That was basically it for the first half action. Not a great game, but the ‘Caps were still very much in it and with a chance of getting into the knockout stage of the competition. They’d have to be able to muster some attacks though in the second half to get there.

But it was the Galaxy that threatened to add to the scoreline after the restart, with Tyler Boyd, Joveljic and Puig all coming close as the hafl reached the midway mark.

LA looked in complete control but Vancouver drew themselves level from nothing in the 81st minute.

Gauld whipped a cross into the box from the right, White failed to connect with a header and the ball ran through to Calegari, agonisingly hitting off the Galaxy player, past his keeper, and into the net.

All of a sudden the Whitecaps had been thrown a lifeline.

Both sides pushed for the winner that would see them advance to the next round in the closing stages, but it looked like neither were going to find it and the game was going to have to be settled by the lottery of penalties.

The ‘Caps were keen to avoid that after the heartbreak of their loss to Leon last week in that epic 19-round affair, and they were spared having to go through another shootout when White grabbed a dramatic late winner for Vancouver a minute into stoppage time.

Deiber Caicedo’s cross into the box was deflected onto Gauld, whose acrobatic effort bounced through of White, with the ‘Caps striker quick to react, get the ball out of the turf and fire home the winner from four yards out.

A stunning turnaround and highway robbery not seen since the days of Dick Turpin.

The Whitecaps care not a jot about that, all that matters is they got the win the needed to and they now move on to the knockout round where a battle with Tigres awaits, six years after their semi-final loss to the Mexican giants in their CONCACAF Champions League semi-final. That game is set for BC Place this coming Friday. It should be a cracker, with a raucous crowd on hand.

The Whitecaps quest for their second piece of silverware this summer lives on.

FINAL SCORE: LA Galaxy 1 – 2 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 14,787

SCORING SUMMARY:
16’ – LA – Riqui Puig (Lucas Calegari)
81’ – LA – Lucas Calegari (OG)
90’+1 – VAN – Brian White (Ryan Gauld)

STATS:
Possession: LAG 61.1% – VAN 38.9%
Shots: LAG 16 – VAN 10
Shots on Goal: LAG 3 – VAN 3
Saves: LAG 2 – VAN 2
Fouls: LAG 13 – VAN 9
Offsides: LAG 0 – VAN 0
Corners: LAG 4 – VAN 5

LOS ANGELES: Novak Mićović; Lucas Calegari, Jalen Neal, Tony Alfaro, Julian Aude (Raheem Edwards 76’); Daniel Aguirre (Efraín Álvarez 89’), Uri Rosell (Kevin Leerdam 89’), Riqui Puig; Tyler Boyd (Memo Rodríguez 76’), Dejan Joveljić, Douglas Costa [Substitutes not used:
Jonathan Bond, Jonathan Klinsmann, Eriq Zavaleta, Chris Mavinga, Mauricio Cuevas, Gino Vivi, Preston Judd, Adam Saldaña]

VANCOUVER: Isaac Boehmer; Tristan Blackmon, Ranko Veselinović (Karifa Yao 35’), Mathías Laborda; Ryan Raposo, J.C. Ngando (Pedro Vite 55’), Andrés Cubas, Alessandro Schöpf (Levonte Johnson 76’), Ryan Gauld; Sergio Córdova (Déiber Caicedo 76’), Brian White [Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Yohei Takaoka, Sebastian Berhalter, Javain Brown, Simon Becher, Russell Teibert, Matteo Campagna]

Authored by: Michael McColl

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  1. Pingback: Whitecaps late, late show in LA sets up Leagues Cup knockout clash with Tigres – AFTN

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