Despite a second-half onslaught, LAFC settled for a 1-1 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a massive Audi MLS Cup Playoff six-pointer at Banc of California Stadium Tuesday evening.
HIGHLIGHTS: Los Angeles Football Club vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | November 02, 2021
LAFC kept their postseason hopes alive with a point but missed the chance to go above the Western Conference's line, while Vancouver will have to wait until Decision Day on Sunday to find out if they will clinch a postseason berth. The Whitecaps would have clinched with three points on the night, but a draw pushes everything to the final matchday of the 2021 season for both sides.
However, Tuesday's result does mean that the Portland Timbers have clinched a playoff berth. Going into Decision Day, the Whitecaps will only need a point to join them, whereas LAFC are in must-win territory.
A stunning goalkeeping performance from Maxime Crepeau kept Vancouver in the match, with the Canadian international making 10 saves. Crepeau's heroics denied LAFC a second goal on numerous occasions and could ultimately be the difference between a playoff spot and the end of their season come Sunday.
LAFC began the match on the front foot, but a pacey counter-attack from Vancouver haunted them all night. It only took 14 minutes for the Whitecaps to execute it to perfection, with Cristian Dajome scoring his 10th goal of the season. The Whitecaps won the ball in their own half and in just three passes, the ball ended up at the feet of Dajome who took one touch before turning his body and firing home.
Mamadou Fall equalized right before the halftime break off a corner kick for the hosts, but it did not come without controversy. The LAFC defender was originally called offside, but after Video Review, referee Alex Chilowicz overturned the decision and awarded the goal to the home side.
In an attempt to score an elusive second goal, Bob Bradley brought 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela off the bench as he continues his return from a lengthy injury layoff that saw him sidelined for 11 straight matches. Vela's inclusion sparked additional fire under LAFC, but the Black & Gold couldn't find the back of the net.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Given their second-half performance, it seemed as though LAFC would find a winner on multiple occasions, but their attack just couldn’t produce the final touch, most notably when Cristian Arango missed a glorious chance right at the death. They’re walking on toothpicks going into Decision Day. For Vancouver, it’s a solid road point in their pursuit of the playoffs, although a lackluster second half where the substitutes had little impact may be a worry heading into the final game.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Mamadou Fall’s first-half stoppage-time goal. After a lengthy Video Review, the goal was awarded and granted LAFC an equalizer.
GOAL: Mamadou Fall, LAFC - 47th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Maxime Crepeau. Vancouver's goalkeeper put on a clinic, single-handedly earning a point for his side on the night.
SAVE: Maxime Crépeau, Vancouver Whitecaps - 23rd min
- LAFC: Sunday, November 7 at Colorado Rapids | 6 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
- VAN: Sunday, November 7 vs. Seattle Sounders | 6 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)