Report and Reaction: LAFC avenge first loss of season with thorough trouncing of Vancouver Whitecaps

Report and Reaction: LAFC avenge first loss of season with thorough trouncing of Vancouver Whitecaps

There was no need for earthquakes on Saturday in order to tilt the field in Los Angeles as the Vancouver Whitecaps were thoroughly dominated in a 6-1 loss to top of the table Los Angeles FC.

An opening goal from Yordy Reyna just five minutes in would be the only bright side for the ‘Caps with goals from Adama Diomande, Mark Anthony-Kaye, Diego Rossi, and a brace from Carlos Vela came after an own goal by Andy Rose.

A mix-up between Dejan Jakovic and keeper Pablo Sisniega would led to Yordy Reyna collecting the ball and slotting it into the open net for the lead in the fifth minute. Was another shock win against the Supporters Shield leaders on the cards?

No. That would be the end of the good news as the ‘Caps suffered through waves and waves of pressure from LAFC. The beast had been well and truly poked.

It could have been worse if it were not for saves from Max Crepeau but in the 35th minute the floodgates opened when the ball came off Rose on a corner and into the net.

Six minutes later LAFC took the lead on another corner when Diomande got his own head to the ball, as the ‘Caps were lucky to go into the half only down one goal.

That luck ended in the first minute of the second half when Canadian Kaye scored a stunner from outside the box to put his side up by two.

Less than ten minutes later, after a turnover deep in LAFC’s defensive third, Vela took the ball, cut into the middle scored on a shot that was deflected by a ‘Caps defender.

Two goals within two minutes (in the 70th and 72nd) would be the finishing touches for LAFC with Rossi’s shot just clearing the line and Carlos Vela’s header earning him a brace and finishing off six of the best for the league leaders.

Whitecaps woes were compounded further five minutes from time when substitute, and leading scorer, Fredy Montero, saw a straight red card for a reckless studs up challenge on Kaye.

The loss by five goals is the worst of the season for the ‘Caps and the first time Vancouver lost by more than two goals this season.

Despite returning a number of players from international duty, the Whitecaps were without recently signed Ali Adnan due to paperwork, as he awaited a new ITC. Although there is little doubt that the Iraqi international would have made very little difference in the result, as LA were simply on a different level to Vancouver on the night.

He will be available in their next match, which will be their first in this year’s Voyageurs Cup, and their first against a CPL club as they take on Cavalry FC in Calgary. Much like LAFC, Tommy Wheeldon Jr’s side have been dominant for large spells of the inaugural CPL season and with this match now coming on the back of Saturday’s shellacking, Cavalry will feel the Whitecaps are ripe for the taking. Just how Vancouver bounce back in both league and cup play from this lowpoint of their season will go a long way in determining just what they have left to play for in the coming months.

FINAL SCORE: LAFC 6 (SIX) Vancouver Whitecaps 1

ATT: 22,472

LAFC: Pablo Sisniega; Tristan Blackmon, Dejan Jakovic, Eddie Segura (Jordan Harvey 74), Mohamed El-Munir; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta (Latif Blessing 81), Lee Nguyen; Carlos Vela, Adama Diomande (Rodolfo Zelaya 62), Diego Rossi [Substitutes not used: Phillip Ejimadu, Steven Beitashour, Josh Pérez, Christian Ramirez]

VANCOUVER: Maxime Crépeau; Jake Nerwinski, Érik Godoy, Doneil Henry, Andy Rose, Brett Levis (Victor “PC” Giro 74); Inbeom Hwang (Theo Bair 66), Jon Erice, Russell Teibert; Lucas Venuto (Fredy Montero 56), Yordy Reyna [Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Felipe Martins, Derek Cornelius, Scott Sutter]

Possession: LAFC 67.4% – VAN 32.6%
Shots: LAFC 31 – VAN 5
Shots on Goal: LAFC 14 – VAN 3
Saves: LAFC 2 – VAN 9
Fouls: LAFC 9 – VAN 7
Offsides: LAFC 1 – VAN 1
Corners: LAFC 10 – VAN 3
Duels won: LAFC 40 – VAN 37
Tackles won: LAFC 10 – VAN 8




Overall thoughts on tonight’s match

“[It was] a game where we were dominated all game. LAFC was much stronger, had better pressure, a lot of possession, grabbed us by the throat pretty much, and that’s the reality of it. I think that the first 25 minutes, when we didn’t break as a team and as a unit, we got a goal in a counter-attack situation. Then we’re up, and then we concede two goals when usually we do a very good job at defending corner kicks. Two goals on corner kicks, two-one at half, and then we’re down and we decide to open a little bit more. We take a center back off to put him in the midfield because we know that Andy [Rose] can play those two roles, try to get the tie, but I think that Mark [Anthony-Kaye]’s goal was very early in the half and then mentally, it became very difficult for us. I have to give credit for everything that LAFC did today, the same way we deserved to win the game in Vancouver, they totally deserved to win the game today.”

Bouncing back from the 6-1 defeat

“We lost a game. It was a game against a team that is, by far from my opinion, the best team in the league, a team that just won five to one in Kansas City, so we have to react. We have the opportunity now on Wednesday in another competition that’s important for us and we’ll be ready for it for sure.”


The team’s performance

“We come off embarrassed and disappointed in that second half performance. Everything we’ve pride ourselves on this season and done so well with our principals of play escaped us in that second half. We came in at halftime and we had lost two set-pieces—two corner kicks – which was frustrating but we were right in the game. Our gameplay essentially was working. I thought we were frustrating them at times and most of their chances came from shots from
distance that Max did really well with, and at halftime we were right in the game. To come out like that in the second half, wave after wave of attack and not be able to deal with it and look dangerous at the other end was frustrating.”

Moving on to the next game

“You have to regroup very quickly, especially with the stretch we have coming up. That’s where mentality really comes into play. That’s where the older guys in the dressing room really have to step up, guide the youngsters and make sure we stick together as a group. A lot of teams come here and suffer and that’s what happened to us tonight. We’re going to have to deal with the consequences of that. We all came off the pitch feeling really underwhelmed, like we really didn’t showcase ourselves in the best light and that kills us all as individuals. We have a massive
game on Wednesday, the Canadian Championship is huge for this club, in a way it’s nice to have a game so soon.”


The match

“The first half started as we wanted, as we prepared during the week, trying to exploit the back of their right field with Yordy [Reyna] and Lucas [Venuto]. We scored a goal, we got two or three chances there, but right after we conceded two goals on set plays. We didn’t want to do that because the game was under control, their chances were shot from the outside, which is exactly what we wanted to do, but we conceded those two goals and we went to half time losing 2-1. The second half was our worst performance of the season. It was very, very poor, our performance in the second half. We are very sorry about that. That’s soccer. Sometimes you make these things in sports. We are very sorry about that and we have to keep going and we have to say sorry to the fans that came here to support us and the fans that support us from Vancouver. We have to keep going, now we have a very important game for us on Wednesday in the Canadian Cup and we have to work very hard to get the result there.”



Overall thoughts on tonight’s win

“There was a misunderstanding early but the response was awesome. We kept playing football, I loved the fact that Pablo [Sisniega] and Dejan [Jakovic] just had a quick word with each other and continued. [Vancouver] are organized defensively so it takes a lot of different ideas to break them down, and it also takes some set-piece stuff, so tonight’s a night where we had to pull out a lot of different attacking things out of the toolbox. At the end of the day, we played a lot of good football and finished it off with some very, very good goals.”

Responding to Vancouver’s early goal

“When you go down against a team that’s going to defend deep like that, you’re going to have to keep trying to play from side to side, you try to find ways to play through. We did a really lousy job in the first half, a lot of indecisive crosses, a lot of crosses that went straight to [Maxime] Crepeau, so that part was actually terrible. But then when you start to force the game a little bit, then that can lead to set-pieces and some great deliveries on the in-swingers from Carlos [Vela], so that makes a huge difference. And then when the game starts to open up a
little bit, then there’s more space and in that moment, I thought we did some really good things.”


Team’s performance

“We’re in a good moment. We’ve only lost two games in 19 games. That’s a good record. The important thing for us is that we want more. We know that if we don’t win the MLS Cup then this doesn’t mean anything. We know this is a long year. We have a stretch with a lot of games. We have to be mentally ready to fight every game. We want to try and involve every player in the squad. We want to follow this model of play because we’re enjoying it.”

Synergy with teammates

“It’s really important. We are trying to always give the ball to the best option. It’s not about selfish players or trying to do our own game, so I think that’s the way we play. We try to always want to try to move the ball, and after, score goals. We want always more. We scored six today but in the end, we tried to score more. I think that’s the way LAFC plays and I hope we continue that way.”


Bob Bradley’s words to Mark after he scored

“It was just about Vancouver’s tactical formation switch. It had nothing to do with the goal at all. Obviously, I know he’s happy I scored so I don’t need him to say congratulations in that moment but he just wanted me to message the team and I guess because I was fully confident, it was something I could do.”

On team’s current form

“We have high standards for ourselves so you look at our performance versus Sporting [Kansas City] where we didn’t play our best game and scored five goals then you look at tonight where it was a different game and we were able to get one more goal. We’re a very attacking team and we want to be perfect in certain situations. Perfection is hard to get and we’re going to keep pushing for that. It’s nice to score goals and we’re going to get better.”


Mindset as the team continues to roll

“The most important thing is that we keep improving, we keep seeing improvements. Bob [Bradley] and the coaching staff are so detail oriented on all our games. You see from day one, since preseason till now, it’s always the mindset of getting better than the day before. You’re starting to see us get that when we get in that fluid moment, and when we’re flowing in the game like that, it’s hard to stop us. It’s fun to watch when we’re finishing our chances.”

Recent goal scoring outburst

“Anytime you get that chance and you finish it, it’s great personally for your confidence. This is what you need coming up to halfway through the season, to see guys hitting their stride and inform, this is great. We’ve got a lot of games so it’s great to see these guys in form right now.”

Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

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