Tristan Blackmon started off the Week 4 MLS nightcap by scoring against his former team, but Ryan Hollingshead answered with his first goal in Black & Gold, then Carlos Vela got himself on the scoresheet and Hollingshead struck again, en route to an LAFC 3-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Los Angeles Football Club vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | March 20, 2022
The Whitecaps strode out to the early lead on a set piece, with Lucas Cavallini striking the post and Blackmon cleaning up the rebound – and opting not to celebrate in front of the 3252. But LAFC matched defender goal with defender goal; Hollingshead connected his head on a Vela-delivered corner in the 27th minute to even the score. And then, on a play starting with a throw-in deep in Vancouver's end of the field, Kwadwo Opoku worked hard to get through the 'Caps defense and get the ball to Vela. The LAFC talisman was thwarted on his first attempt at goal but nailed the follow-through to put the hosts up 2-1.
LAFC continued to put pressure on the Whitecaps defense to start the second half. On a second-chance ball on a 70th-minute corner kick, LAFC struck again, with Hollingshead putting in his second goal of the match on a blistering shot that got past Thomas Hasal. Hasal's former teammate, Maxime Crepeau, wasn't nearly as tested in the opposite goal after his former teammates' opening 20 minutes.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Life’s good for new LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo four matches into his debut season. This first installment of the “Crepeau Cup” not only highlighted the array of offensive weapons LAFC can deploy, but also showed how good Crepeau is and how much better LAFC might be with a goalkeeper of his caliber for a full season. While MLS seasons are long and sometimes weird, the Black & Gold have the look of a team that will be contending in the postseason. The ‘Caps, meanwhile, don’t seem to have the mojo they rode to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs once Vanni Sartini took charge late last season, and though Ryan Gauld and Brian White weren’t available for this one, the funk they’re in so far in 2022 seems to run deeper than just that.
- MOMEN OF THE MATCH: If you’ve watched MLS the last few seasons, you know Hollingshead is a defender-plus, possessing an ability to get upfield and score, and especially adept on set pieces. His first goal with his new team showcased that, and also served to remind everyone that Vela’s pretty good at delivering corner kicks as well.
GOAL: Ryan Hollingshead, LAFC - 27th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: There’s no denying Hollingshead these honors, though Vela definitely made a case for himself with a goal and an assist, and Opoku’s marauding runs made for great entertainment.
- LAFC: Saturday, April 2 at Orlando City SC | 7:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada)
- VAN: Saturday, April 2 vs. Sporting Kansas City | 8 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada)