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Gauld shines as Whitecaps roll past Galaxy 4-2

VANCOUVER — After looking unbeatable for the first 30 minutes, the Vancouver Whitecaps almost came undone in the second half but still managed to hang on for a 4-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy in Major League Soccer play Saturday night.
Vancouver Whitecaps' Ryan Gauld jumps to knock down a pass during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 15, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — After looking unbeatable for the first 30 minutes, the Vancouver Whitecaps almost came undone in the second half but still managed to hang on for a 4-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy in Major League Soccer play Saturday night.

Ryan Gauld scored a brace and Brian White added a goal as the Whitecaps led 3-0 after 23 minutes and looked to have the game well in hand.

Even though they were playing with just 10 men the Galaxy battled back with midfielder Gaston Brugman scoring in the 61st minute and Marco Delgado in the 74th.

Striker Sergio Cordova, who subbed into the match in the 76th minute, decided matters with a goal in extra time.

Assistant coach Michael D’Agostino said the Whitecaps got away from the game plan that had proven successful early in the match.

“I think what ended up happening is we turned our confidence into arrogance,” said D’Agostino. “We thought the game was just going to be won very easily.

“In general, in the second half, we veered away from our game plan. I think guys turned the game into a little bit more of an individual type scenario and did a little bit too much of what they wanted to do.”

Gauld said it proved how much the Whitecaps have matured during the last two years that the players in the dressing room were frustrated after the victory.

“It was a drop in intensity,” said Gauld, who scored on a pretty play in the 10th minute and a penalty kick in the 23rd. “It was easy for us to look at they had 10 men and (think they) can’t create much.

“They have a lot of good players on that team. Once we took a step back it was hard to get control of the match again.”

D’Agostino hoped the players learned from the experience.

“We escaped learning a good lesson,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us to not repeat that second half.”

D’Agostino was making decisions on the field because Vancouver head coach Vanni Sartini was suspended for the match for an accumulation of yellow cards.

“It’s a lot harder than I thought, being the one that has to make the decisions,” he said. “It’s an experience I’ve always wanted to try. Now that I’ve done it, if I ever get the opportunity again, it will be just that little bit easier.”

The win moves the Whitecaps (8-7-7) into seventh place in the MLS Western Conference with 31 points.

The Galaxy (5-10-7) are 13th in the West with 22 points. It was the Galaxy’s first loss in seven games (2-1-4).

Gauld has been a scoring machine lately, collecting eight goals and five assists in his last nine games across all competitions.

“I’m just getting into the right positions,” said the Scotsman. “The boys are finding me in the right areas or they’re putting away the chances.”

Midfielder Ryan Raposo, who collected his first MLS assist of the season on White’s opening goal, said Gauld always make the right decision.

“He always makes the right pass,” said Raposo. “He just sees everything.”

Many in the crowd of 18,354 at BC Place Stadium where just getting seated when White opened the scoring with his eighth MLS goal of the season. Raposo sent a crossing shot into the box. The five-foot-11 White outleaped a Galaxy defender and headed the ball past the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Jonathan Bond.

Gauld made it 2-0 just nine minutes later. Midfielder Julian Gressel fired a shot that went off the foot of a Galaxy defender. Gauld collected the rolling ball and launched a right-footed shot into the right top corner.

White and Gauld were also involved in the third Vancouver goal.

White had a breakaway before being tripped up by defender Chris Mavinga in the box. Mavinga was tossed from the game in the 21st minute after being assessed his second yellow card of the match, leaving the Galaxy to play a man down.

Gauld easily scored on the penalty kick for his seventh MLS goal of the season.

Brugman got the Galaxy’s first goal on a right-footed shot from the top of the box off a pass from Riqui Puig. Delgado drew L.A. to within one after taking a pass from Preston Judd and putting a shot between goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka’s legs.

Cordova decided the game in extra time when he kicked in the rebound of a shot from Deiber Caicedo.


Gauld became the fourth Whitecap to score two goals in an MLS game this season, joining White, Gressel and Simon Becher. … The Whitecaps defeated Austin FC 2-1 on Wednesday to snap a two-game MLS losing streak. … The last time the Whitecaps won consecutive MLS games was an April 1 win over CF Montreal followed by an April 8 win against Portland, both at home. … The Whitecaps wrap up a four-game homestand on Friday when they face Club Leon in the inaugural Leagues Cup tournament.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2023.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press