Michaell Chirinos’ added-time game-winner capped off a thrilling back-and-forth affair as Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated LA Galaxy 4-3 at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
The victory marked a third straight result for Whitecaps FC, all coming in dramatic fashion. The game winner, which opened Chirinos’ MLS account, followed goals from Doneil Henry, Theo Bair, and Tosaint Ricketts, as three Canadians scored for Whitecaps FC in the same match for the first time in club MLS history.
Galaxy superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović tallied a goal and an assist to lead the home side, but it was not enough as the ‘Caps put forth a complete team effort to secure the road win, with Inbeom Hwang tallying three assists on the afternoon.
Henry got things rolling in the 20th minute when he got behind Galaxy midfielder Efrain Álvarez to head in a Hwang corner inside the far post. LA Galaxy were quick to answer however, getting on the break with a long pass to Cristian Pavón along the left side, who laid the ball off to a surging Ibrahimović for the equalizer just three minutes later.
Undaunted, Whitecaps FC kept the pressure on and almost responded instantly when Bair had a crafty attempt ring off the bottom of the crossbar and stay out. The Homegrown forward would get his reward in his 41st minute when Chirinos’ ball through traffic deflected off Galaxy defender Daniel Steres. Bair kept the play alive in front of net and cleverly slipped a rolling ball past keeper Matt Lampson’s outstretched legs to put the ‘Caps back in the driver seat going into halftime.
The non-stop action continued in the second half. Just minutes after a highlight-reel save on an Álvarez shot from the centre of the box, Maxime Crépeau was caught off his line on a Galaxy break, and Uriel Antuna touched in a soft chip volley to knot things up just before the hour mark.
The ‘Caps struck again in the 64th minute, showing patience in the attack as Érik Godoy sprung forward on the right to set up a Ricketts header in front of goal for a 3-2 lead. Then it was Galaxy substitute Chris Pontius’ turn in the 86th minute, burying a goal on a chance that began with a long ball from Diego Polenta around the half line.
With the Galaxy attack pressing forward, the ‘Caps snatched the full three points in added time, starting with a Jasser Khmiri clearance. Fredy Montero, who scored the late goal in the ‘Caps last two matches, did well to hold the ball at midfield, then played it forward to Hwang, who had Chirinos to his left and only Lampson to beat. The duo played the counterattack masterfully for the ‘Caps fourth goal, their most in a single match this season.
Whitecaps FC play their season finale next Sunday, October 6 when they host Real Salt Lake at BC Place. The match carries major postseason implications as RSL are just one behind LA Galaxy for fourth place in the Western Conference and home field advantage in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
INJURY UPDATES: Jasser Khmiri made his MLS debut, after undergoing meniscus surgery last November. Erik Godoy made his first appearance after a five-game absence due to a calf injury. Theo Bair (hamstring) and Brett Levis (back) were subbed off, and Yordy Reyna (left knee contusion) and Jake Nerwinski (calf tightness) were unavailable.
20’ – VAN – Doneil Henry (Inbeom Hwang)
23’ – LA – Zlatan Ibrahimović (Cristian Pavón)
41’ – VAN – Theo Bair
58’ – LA – Uriel Antuna (Jonathan Dos Santos)
64’ – VAN – Tosaint Ricketts (Érik Godoy, Inbeom Hwang)
86’ – LA – Chris Pontius (Zlatan Ibrahimović, Diego Polenta)
90’+3’ – VAN – Michaell Chirinos (Inbeom Hwang, Fredy Montero)
Possession: LA 59.9% – VAN 40.1%
Shots: LA 17 – VAN 13
Shots on Goal: LA 7 – VAN 7
Saves: LA 3 – VAN 4
Fouls: LA 5 – VAN 6
Offsides: LA 2 – VAN 2
Corners: LA 4 – VAN 2
34’ – LA – Sebastian Lletget
28.Matt Lampson; 25.Rolf Feltscher (12.Chris Pontius 83’), 5.Daniel Steres, 3.Diego Polenta, 4.Dave Romney (16.Jørgen Skjelvik 72’); 17.Sebastian Lletget, 8.Jonathan Dos Santos, 26.Efrain Álvarez (14.Joe Corona 66’); 18.Uriel Antuna, 9.Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, 10.Cristian Pavón
Substitutes not used
41.Justin vom Steeg, 6.Servando Carrasco , 21.Giancarlo González, 22.Julian Araujo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 22.Érik Godoy, 20.Jasser Khmiri, 2.Doneil Henry ©, 46.Brett Levis (94.Victor “PC” Giro HT); 4.Inbeom Hwang, 15.Andy Rose, 31.Russell Teibert; 50.Theo Bair (23.Scott Sutter 72’), 87.Tosaint Ricketts (12.Fredy Montero 65’), 33.Michaell Chirinos
Substitutes not used
18.Zac MacMath, 6.Jon Erice, 13.Derek Cornelius