It may have taken four games to finally make a statement, but the Vancouver Whitecaps have their first win of the 2017 MLS season, taking down the Los Angeles Galaxt 4-2. After conceding an early lead, the ‘Caps rallied to usurp the perennial MLS darlings, if but for one night.
After the Thursday night trade of Kekuta Manneh, Vancouver ran out an arguably familiar eleven to start the match: David Ousted (no more suspension!) returned in front of Sheanon Williams, Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, and Jordan Harvey; Andrew Jacobson and Matias Laba manned the defensive midfield while Alphonso Davies, Christian Bolanos, and Cristian Techera were all in support of Erik Hurtado.
And despite the absence of Galaxy stalwarts Sebastian Lletget and Robbie Rogers, the Whitecaps still had to stare down the likes of Giovani dos Santos, Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme, as well as newcomers Jermaine Jones and Joao Pedro.
The first forty-five minutes of the match could easily have been titled, “The After-Effect of a Los Angeles Corner Kick,” the Whitecaps found an early breakthrough on the counterattack. After a clearance fell to Williams’ foot, the right back quickly launched a ball to Techera against the absent LA d-line, only to have the diminutive winger face a challenge from a charging Clement Diop:
19' Techera makes it 1-0 to the 'Caps! #VWFC #VANvLA pic.twitter.com/Xw4jmpWoaM— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) April 2, 2017
With the keeper out of the net, Techera turned & fired to open the scoring. However, the “LA Corner Kick” theme was not dead by any means,
Following a second Galaxy corner, a long switch from Jermaine Jones to Romain Alessandrini allowed him to go 1v1 against Jordan Harvey. After cutting inside Harvey, the Galaxy winger drilled a shot off the near post, fortuitously caroming off Ousted and into the Vancouver goal:
The whole “corner kick” mantra didn’t stop there, as Los Angeles buried a second shortly after. With the Galaxy pressing again after a cleared ball, Jack McBean sprung Emmanuel Boateng down the left side, only for the winger to lay back to... once again... Romain Alessandrini:
Leading up to half time, the Galaxy seemed to have their way on the pitch while Vancouver only meant to counterattack when possible, such as when Bolanos sprung Hurtado during the first-half extra time:
He may have been arguably offside, but the counter attack to end the half did lead to the arguably game-changing moment of the match: Hurtado being substituted at half time from Fredy Montero.
Though the second half begat somewhat expected game play, Vancouver pressing to equalize while Los Angeles neutralized, the storyline changed on the 66’ minute: taking down a cross from Davies, Techera faked with his left and blasted a shot at Diop, only for the rebound to be buried by Montero:
And much like the Galaxy’s first-half two goal swing, Vancouver was able to quickly pull the match back in their favor.
Mere moments after the substituion of Jack McBean for Gyasi Zardes, a Techera-poached giveaway fell to Montero, who quickly found a never-presses-forward Matias Laba:
With twenty minutes remaining, the Galaxy again had to dig themselves out of a one-goal deficit. However, the home side were able to ice the result with a second goal from... Matias Laba???:
Surprisingly, its the Argentine defensive midfielder celebrated for his tackling that buried the brace needed for the comeback. Nevertheless, the Whitecaps put in a full ninety-minute effort to pull out of their early season funk and earn their first victory of the 2017 MLS season.