Updated: Oct 29
Quarter-Finals match day 1 was expected to bring some suspense given that every match against a west coast team is always a better. The winner of this duo matchup will play against the winner of the Seattle Sounders vs the FC Dallas dual. As the first match of the MLS quarter-finals, this encounter is brimming with anticipation and intrigue. Whenever a team from the West Coast takes the field, fans are guaranteed a spectacle. The fierce competition and intense rivalry among these teams add an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings.
Although the game started off slowly, it gained momentum in the 16th minute when Carlos Vela delivered a remarkable freekick cross that found its way to Ryan Hollingshead. Positioned strategically at the top of the 6-yard box, Hollingshead cleverly utilized a header to create chaos within the Whitecaps' defense. This led to a corner kick, offering LAFC a promising opportunity to claim the lead. At the peak of the 17th minute, Hollingshead positioned himself tactically to receive the corner kick cross. Towering above the Whitecaps defenders, his towering presence propelled a speedy header towards the goalkeeper. The sheer force behind his header led the goalkeeper to make a save in the ball bounced back to Hollingshead where he executed a powerful low volley, driving the ball into the back of the net to give LAFC the lead. At the 26th min LAFC’s Murillo gave a very questionable and careless pass to Paraguayan Andres Cubas that quickly transitioned into a threw-ball counter attack and the led to a one touch finish back post from Brian White. Amidst being the away team, White celebrated plugging his ears and looked at the home fans. However, in the 28th minute Italian legend Chiellini answered right away by giving an impressive long-range bending pass from the back that landed into the running path of Bouanga that led him into a speedy 1v1 inside the Goalkeeper box which put LAFC back in the lead 2-1.
In the 38th minute, defender Murillo committed a foul on the outside of the left side of the goalkeeper box, providing Vancouver with a tremendous opportunity. The referee awarded a freekick to Vancouver, positioning them for a potential game-changing moment. Adekugbe, displaying exceptional technique and timing, executed a flawless header to convert the freekick into a goal. The ball soared past the goalkeeper, finding the back of the net, equalizing the score at 2-2. This incredible display of skill left the crowd in awe and set the tone for an exhilarating second half.
In the 51st minute of the game, Hollingshead showcased his expertise and experience by reading the play perfectly. As the ball bounced around in the middle of the pitch, Bouanga flicked it over a defender and into the compact area. This created a chaotic situation where the ball ping-ponged between players, increasing the tension on the field. Amidst the chaos, Hollingshead stayed positioned at the back post, he patiently waited for the perfect opportunity to strike. Finally, the ball landed at his feet, and with precision, he bagged his second goal of the game. It was a moment of brilliance that showcased Hollingshead's exceptional skill and ability to make a game-changing impact.
After consecutive fouls by the Whitecaps, they were deemed to give away a goal off a freekick which was exactly what happened. A hush fell over the stadium as Carlos Vela and Denis Bouanga stood together, anticipation hanging heavy in the air. The Gabonese player took off sprinting, leaving defenders in his wake, and received a short pass from Vela. With precision and finesse, Bouanga unleashed a drilling shot that found its mark, propelling the Black and Gold to a 4-2 lead. This electrifying goal marked a turning point in the match, leaving the Whitecaps scrambling to mount a comeback. As the game began to settle down, Murrillo, a key player for LAFC, felt the need to redeem himself from two earlier mistakes. In the 79th minute, Mateusz Bogusz skillfully delivered a perfectly placed corner kick. With the ball sailing towards the box, Murrillo positioned himself strategically, ready to make a decisive move. In the 79th minute, Mateusz Bogusz skillfully delivered a perfectly placed corner kick. With the ball sailing towards the box, Murrillo positioned himself strategically, ready to make a decisive move.
As the clock ticked down to the last remaining minutes of the game, LAFC took charge, focusing on running down the clock. As always the 3252 were unstoppable, dancing and singing in jubilation as their team sealed the victory. While LAFC celebrated their well-deserved win, they understand that their job is far from over. The journey continues as they prepare to travel to Vancouver for the second leg on November 5th. It will be a test of their authority and trust as they aim to secure their place in the next round.
Match Facts Attendance:
Stadium: BMO Stadium
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Referee: Jon Freemon
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
Ast. Referee 1: Chris Elliot
VAR: Kevin Scott
Ast. Referee 2: Walter Heatherly
Ast. VAR: Jeff Muschik