Report and Reaction: Gauld leads Whitecaps to first away win in over a year as Vancouver shock LAFC

Report and Reaction: Gauld leads Whitecaps to first away win in over a year as Vancouver shock LAFC

(Photo Credit: @WhitecapsFC/Twitter)

Vancouver Whitecaps finally broke their away game hoodoo, grabbing their first road victory in over a year, and a first ever win at LAFC, in a barnstorming affair in California on Saturday night.

Ryan Gauld was the Whitecaps hero on the night, grabbing a goal and two assists as he helped Vancouver come away with a very hard fought 3-2 victory. Ranko Veselinovic and Brian White were also on the scoresheet for the ‘Caps on the night, scoring with a pair of first half headers, but as Vancouver kept trying to pull away, LAFC did a great job in battling back to keep themselves in it after goals from Denis Bouanga and Carlos Vela.

The Whitecaps held on in what was a nervy final 20 minutes for them, coming away with a massive, and somewhat unexpected, three points, and most importantly, keeping them above the playoff line in the Western Conference.

Vanni Sartini went with a 3-1-4-2 formation for the first time this season, stacking his side with attacking players and promising to be aggressive from the start.

That aggression saw them taking the lead in the 2nd minute when Veselinovic rose well to flick home a Ryan Gauld corner with precision, leaving John McCarthy rooted.

A great start for the visitors and they kept it going, with Sergio Cordova driving a low effort wide left in the 7th minute.

Moments later Cordova had another great chance to grab his first goal as a Whitecap when he superbly set himself up with a header to run through on goal and somehow didn’t even get his shot on target after doing everything right in the build up.

Both sides created some half chances before the ‘Caps shocked their hosts by doubling their advantage midway through the half.

Pedro Vite pounced on a loose ball after Andres Cubas broke up a play with Jose Cifuentes. The Ecuadorian sprung Cordova for a quick counter, who powered forward before playing the ball to Gauld on his left. The Scot, who once again found himself with acres of room on that wing, took his time to deliver a cross into the back of the box which White rose to meet and looped home a header to the back post to make it 2-0 Vancouver in the 23rd minute.

The Whitecaps were looking good, comfortable, and nearly added to their tally two minutes before half but a sprawling McCarthy turned away Alessandro Schopf’s effort.

But things got a lot more uncomfortable for the Whitecaps in the 45th minute when some nice LA interplay ended with a loose ball in the box being fired home by Bouanga, taking his tally for the season to 11 and reducing Vancouver’s lead back to just one.

As good had the Whitecaps surprisingly been in that first 45 minutes, LAFC were as uncharacteristically bad. With their tales up from that goal the home side dominated the start of the second half, with Vancouver struggling to get an attacking foothold on the game.

But from nowhere the ‘Caps restored their two goal lead in the 63rd minute.

Vite did well to keep an attack alive, playing in Cordova, who saw his shot saved by McCarthy. The rebound fell to Gauld who blasted home from just inside the box.

LAFC turned up the heat again and this time Vancouver’s lead lasted only five minutes.

A stumble by Veselinovic was pounced upon by Bogusz, who ran into the box and squared it for Vela to fire home and make it 3-2 in the 68th minute.

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and the home side were giving their fans something to shout about.

Vela came close to grabbing the equaliser minutes later, trying to poke the ball home at the near post, but that was to prove to be as close as the home side got to getting back on level terms, and although it was a bit nervy and a bit stop and start in the closing minutes, the Whitecaps held on for the famous victory.

The year’s wait for that road win will have felt sweet, but it was also crucial after dropping four points in their last two home matches. The ‘Caps need to make up those lost points and learn how to come away with those road victories if they are to be considered any sort of playoff contenders. One win doesn’t mean all of those woes are suddenly cured, but it will go a long way to boosting the team as they get set for a very difficult couple of months of MLS and Leagues Cup play.

FINAL SCORE: Los Angeles FC 2 – 3 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 22,133

3’ – VAN – Ranko Veselinović (Ryan Gauld, Sergio Córdova)
23’ – VAN – Brian White (Ryan Gauld)
45’ – LAFC – Denis Bouanga (Mateusz Bogusz)
63’ – VAN – Ryan Gauld
68’ – LAFC – Carlos Vela

Possession: LAFC 62% – VAN 38%
Shots: LAFC 17 – VAN 16
Shots on Goal: LAFC 9 – VAN 9
Saves: LAFC 6 – VAN 7
Fouls: LAFC 14 – VAN 12
Offsides: LAFC 2 – VAN 0
Corners: LAFC 2 – VAN 5

LOS ANGELES: John McCarthy; Ryan Hollingshead, Denil Maldonado, Illie Sanchez (Timothy Tillman 81’), Diego Palacios; José Cifuentes, Daniel Crisostomo (Erik Duenas 72’), Mateusz Bogusz (Giorgio Chiellini 72’); Carlos Vela, Denis Bouanga, Stipe Buik (Kwadwo Opoku 72’) [Substitutes not used: Eldin Jakupovic, Christian Torres, Nathan Ordaz, Diego Rosales, Julian Gaines]

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Mathías Laborda, Ranko Veselinović, Luís Martins; Andrés Cubas; Ryan Raposo (Sebastian Berhalter 77’), Alessandro Schöpf, Pedro Vite, Ryan Gauld (Déiber Caicedo 88’); Sergio Córdova (Simon Becher 67’), Brian White [Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Karifa Yao, J.C. Ngando, Kamron Habibullah, Matteo Campagna, Giovanni Aguilar]




On the performance:

“It was very good. We’ve said for a long time that we’re performing well away and just something missing. We had to do a win. I would say, even today we’re already in control of the game and then we made, unfortunately, a mistake to let them back in the game, but then we were fantastic. Today there was more than a goal difference between us and them and it was one of the top performances of the season.”

On how he envisioned the game going with such an aggressive lineup:

“I envisioned the game with us pressing them and to be as aggressive as we can, and also being risky. If the pressure would have been broken it would have been like three guys against our three defenders with Andrés [Cubas] helping a little bit. And it paid off because we had like six clear chances in the first half… In the second half, because it was very demanding playing like this, when we saw that the pressure couldn’t be the same as before we went to a more 4-4-2 and we were able to score the third goal and be in control. At the end they were pushing more, more, more, but also we had all the guys there. And again, I think the right result should have been like a three or two goals [difference], or 3-1.”


On the performance:

“That was probably our best team performance, possibly since I’ve been here, that we all came together. You know, we went up by a couple of goals twice, and they’re a good team, obviously, they’re going to give it everything to kind of get back into the game. I don’t know how long was left when they scored the second, maybe like 20 minutes, 25 minutes and, you know, I think we defended really well against them. It was a great performance from everyone, even the boys who came in and done their part. It’s just a good night all around.”

On what getting a big road win means:

“When you look at the grand scheme of things, we’re always in and around that sixth, seventh position, and we have been for the majority of the season anyway, and that’s without picking up points on the road. Knowing that we are capable of putting in these kind of performances and this result tonight, it should kick everyone on to kind of prove that we’re capable of getting the results. If we start putting the away form together and build on that result tonight, and like you said, in [August and] September we’ve got like six away games in a row and we’re going to have the Colorado rescheduled. That’s going to be a really tough run but if we go into it confident knowing that we can get points on the road then that could set us up for a good finish with the home games at the end of the season.”



Thoughts on the game:

“I’ll just start by congratulations Vancouver. The right game plan tonight, made some plays, and we made one too many errors. Any time you concede 3 goals at home its hard to win, and in the end you don’t deserve it. Frustrating, but it’s the reality and we’ll recover from this, learn from
it and move forward.”

A Valiant effort?

“The effort from the players is always there. They’ve never faulted that so that should never be an issue for a professional athlete and I haven’t seen it yet at LAFC with our boys. That’s never the issue. Some soft goals, especially the third and that can’t happen. If you make those mistakes it’s really hard to score 4 goals against a team that sits deep, efficient at time-wasting, and all the good stuff, and is dangerous in the counter. They had the right match plan tonight and it worked for them. The adjustments are us always trying to find some open spaces, some advantages on the field, some better matchups for us, and guys have the freedom to move around. We do change things around the midfield quite frequently to find those advantages and those open spaces. That seems to work, but like I said if you put yourself in a 2-0 hole, it’s hard to come back from and I think that was the issue tonight.”

On Chiellini’s fitness:

“Giorgio it’s tough for him to turn it around that quickly with our schedule so for him to come out and give us a good 20 minutes tonight was incredible. Timmy gave us 10 minutes tonight, 10-15 minutes, back from injury. We’ll add to those minutes moving forward and hopefully add a few more guys for the next couple weeks to get back to our whole strength.”

On upcoming rest and injury updates:

“Acosta I just commented on, the others will need a little more time. We’re looking forward to giving the guys a couple days off, recover physically and mentally, and also take some time to train during the week. Some of the things we talked about and saw tonight. When you have games every 3-4 nights you don’t have time to train and work on things, you just move forward and try to stay as close to your game model as possible. That’s what we’re trying to do but now we can actually make some corrections and work on some things and show the guys some video and improve.”

Why and how did Vancouver do so well?

“I think it was just playing it a little more direct and using obviously two big strong forwards. If you’re gonna play with forwards like that you better put the ball up there and that’s what they did and it was okay. Conceding the set piece that early also makes it difficult and you try to push and you try to tie and so you’re always then exposing your back line a little bit playing more man to man. Even though they had a good match plan I just think maybe we just lost it more than they won it.”

Positive feedback on the game:

“For those of you who know me well, I am a very positive person. If you take a look at the table that keeps us pretty positive here at LAFC. We’ve had a really tough stretch of games, that keeps me positive. There were some things you can see on our game but we’ll show the guys in the next couple days in video and they work. We just have to continue doing that. There’s always positive, obviously Timmy came back tonight which was nice too. Lots of positive over the past couple weeks, I think you saw some of the younger guys step up, that’s also very positive. Losing games should never feel super positive. There’s always things you can take out of it but it should hurt, that’s why we do this and it does.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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