The Vancouver Whitecaps kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 3-0 victory over the visiting L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday.
Ryan Gauld opened the scoring in the 58th minute, Pedro Vite added to the advantage in the 68th with his first goal in Major League Soccer play, and Tosaint Ricketts came off the bench to add a final strike in the 86th.
The result snapped a three-game losing skid for the ‘Caps (10-14-7), who remain six points below the playoff bar with three games to go in the regular season.
It was a tough outing for L.A. (11-8-7), who came into Vancouver on a six-game unbeaten streak (2-0-4) and sit three points out of a post-season berth.
The Galaxy controlled 67.8 per cent of the possession across the game but the ‘Caps came on strong in the second half, outshooting the visitors 6-2 in shots on target.
Vancouver ‘keeper Thomas Hasal made two saves to collect his third clean sheet of the season while Jonathan Bond had three stops for L.A.
After a quiet first half, Vancouver’s offence erupted in the second.
Julian Gressel sprang Ricketts with a high ball 86 minutes in. The 35-year-old Canadian striker went one-on-one with Bond, sending a low, rolling shot past the ‘keeper for his fourth goal of the season.
Ricketts came in for Brian White six minutes before the goal.
Vite boosted Vancouver’s lead to 2-0 in the 68th minute.
Striker Brian White sliced a ball to Luis Martins and the midfielder sent it across the box to the back post, where Vite tapped it in for his first MLS goal.
Vancouver signed the 20-year-old Ecuadorean midfielder in August 2021 but did not see his first appearance for the club until this season.
A Whitecaps’ corner in the 58th minute set up the game’s opening strike.
Bond made a save on the initial play but his defenders couldn’t clear the ball and Gauld scooped it up, blasting a left-footed shot into the bottom of the net. It was the Scottish midfielder’s seventh goal of the season.
The first on-target shot of the game didn’t come until the 47th minute when L.A.’s Riqui Puig unleashed a right-footed shot from outside of the box, forcing Hasal to make his first save of the night.
L.A. dominated 71 per cent of the possession through the first half but Vancouver’s defence held strong, preserving a 0-0 draw heading into the locker rooms.
The visitors outshot the Whitecaps 4-2 across the first 45 minutes, though neither side registered a shot on goal.
Vancouver’s best chance of the half came in the 28th minute off a throw in by Luis Martins. The ball landed in traffic at the top of the penalty area, where ‘Caps defender Tristan Blackmon picked it up and sent a shot soaring over the crossbar.
The Galaxy nearly opened the scoring 20 minutes in when Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez got a header from inside the six-yard box, only to see the ball sail just wide of the post.
The Whitecaps return to action Saturday when they host the Seattle Sounders in game two of a three-game homestand. The Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids the same night.
NOTES: Vancouver’s leading scorer Lucas Cavallini was out serving the third game of his four-game suspension. … Whitecaps midfielder Sebastian Berhalter was shown the yellow card in the 82nd minute and will be suspended for Saturday’s game. … Wednesday marked the first time the Galaxy have played at B.C. Place since April 2019. … An announced crowd of 16,681 took in the game.
THE CANADIAN PRESS