Whitecaps Draw at LAFC. One Point Won or Two Points Lost?

by Michael Martinez
Whitecaps winger, Deiber Ceicedo scores the opener agaisnt LAFC

 

The Whitecaps are heading home! After so long away from home, the boys played their last match before heading back to Vancouver for the first time since last February. While there won’t be any matches played at BC Place for a bit, at least the team can train in Vancouver. A year and a half away from home and sometimes we wonder why the team is performing the way it does… 

Anyways, on to the match! 

The Whitecaps’ third match in eight days, they went up against one of the hardest teams in one of the hardest stadiums to win in , LAFC at Banc of California stadium. The team came to play! The first half was exceptional and they looked like a different team. Despite playing as well as they did, he Whitecaps certainly dropped points on Saturday. 

The Whitecaps ended up drawing 2-2 after being up 2-0 after 38 minutes, but at the same time, that isn’t the worst result in the world. Unfortunately, we have come to expect that from the Whitecaps. This draw gives them just one win in the last eleven. Let’s dive in. 

Lineups

Vancouver Whitecaps: 4-3-3

LAFC: 5-3-2

Match Stats

Scoring Summary

25′ – VAN – Déiber Caicedo

38′ – VAN – Cristian Dájome (assisted by Cristian Gutiérrez)

40′ – LAFC – Carlos Vela (assisted by Eduard Atuesta)

75′ – LAFC – José Cifuentes (assisted by Diego Palacios)

Statistics

Possession: LAFC 54.3 – VAN 45.7

Shots: LAFC 10 – VAN 5

Shots on Goal: LAFC 5 – VAN 3

Saves: LAFC 2 – VAN 3

Fouls: LAFC 15 – VAN 20

Offsides: LAFC 2 – VAN 3

Corners: LAFC 5 – VAN 5

Cautions

27′ – VAN – Caio Alexandre (yellow)

58′ – VAN – Michael Baldisimo (yellow)

67′ – LAFC – Corey Baird (yellow)

69′ – VAN – Janio Bikel (yellow)

82′ – LAFC – Jesús David Murillo (yellow)

84′ – VAN – Déiber Caicedo (yellow)

Match Report

Image via Jayne Kamin-Oncea /USA TODAY Sports

In the first half, the Whitecaps came out looking a lot more like the team everyone was expecting to see this season. LAFC naturally held most of the possession but Vancouver looked stout defensively. Whenever they got the ball off of LAFC, they were dangerous in transition. It was definitely exciting to see considering the play we have gotten all season.

While the Whitecaps were stronger in the first half, it’s also good to note that LAFC looked a bit more dangerous from the start. LAFC would have two great chances from Diego Rossi and Jose Cifuentes. Both chances were ultimately saved by Hasal in the end. 

That is when the Colombians took off! It may have taken 25 minutes but at least it finally came. After taking control of the match and pressing the opposition, the Whitecaps got the ball into the back of the net. 

After some great play between Javain Brown and White, Dajome found himself in some space down the right side. Deiber Caicedo was sitting as his main option in the box. From there, Dajome whipped a low ball towards his fellow countryman, which would bounce right to Caicedo, allowing the winger to tap home his 3rd of the season.

Regardless of how it happened, a goal is a goal! The Whitecaps would not let their foot off the gas as another goal came in the 38th minute from the other Colombian winger and team leading scorer, Cristian Dajome.

From a set-piece, Gutierrez whipped in a fantastic curler into the box to a semi open Dajome who heads it home making it 2-0 with less than 10 minutes left in the half. 

His 6th goal of the season puts him in the top 10 scorers for the 2021 season. But more importantly, it puts the Whitecaps in a position to earn a result against a tough LAFC team.

But LAFC are still LAFC. You can never let your guard down against a team like this. They responded almost immediately with a goal of their own from Carlos Vela off a brilliant through ball from Eduard Atuesta. 

The goal was initially called back for offside but after a VAR review it was given. The goal showed the quality of some of the LAFC players but in all fairness to the Whitecaps, it was the only really good chance they gave up in the first half.

LAFC coach Bob Bradley made four subs at half time which proved to turn the tides in their favor. The Whitecaps looked a shadow of themselves from the first half.LAFC did well to come out with some fresh energy and created a couple of chances. Thomas Hasal made a solid save off of a free kick and Veselinovic came up with a goal line block. 

Despite a strong push from LAFC, it was looking like Vancouver was going to hold on to the lead. LAFC looked dangerous with the ball but for the most part they were only creating shots without much to them. That was until the 75th minute. Diego Palacios floated a beautiful cross into a wide Jose Cifuentes who hit an exquisite volley to tie the game at 2-2.

Soon after, the Whitecaps had a goal ruled out for offside but other than that there were not many chances for the rest of the game for either team. 

“I’m very proud of the mindset. We’re not doing a party in the locker room. We feel we could have gotten something even more,” said coach Marc Dos Santos. “It’s a good point in a stadium that is incredibly difficult to get points. What was special about the game today is we were consistent throughout the 90 minutes.”

Post Match Thoughts

There is not much to say about this one honestly. It’s also hard to know what exactly to say. The Whitecaps played to their potential and they looked great even with missing some starters. Especially when you consider the strength of the opponent. 

Although you have to consider the familiar pattern of play that fans are seeing. The Whitecaps blew yet another lead and once again a big factor was that the opposition made changes and they didn’t. Bob saw what he needed to change and did it immediately. MDS did not make any changes until after the second LAFC goal. Granted they were already lined up but still. 

On a more positive note, the defense was excellent on Saturday. They held a team who averages more than 14 shots per game down to only 10. They also lowered their goal expectancy down by a significant amount. Usually the weakest link in the team, the defense stood their ground. 

Would they have liked to win? Absolutely, but considering the stretch of games they went through at the start of summer, where they were mostly outplayed, it’s been nice to see them take this step forward as of late. Hopefully the results start to come with it soon. 

 

The Whitecaps will return to Sandy, Utah to play one last match at Rio Tinto Stadium against an inform Minnesota United FC on Saturday, July 31. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. PT, live on TSN and ESPN+.

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