The Whitecaps were forced to navigate the match heavily shorthanded, with the likes of Cristian Dájome, Florian Jungwirth, Marcus Godinho, and Luis Martíns out due to health and safety protocols, and Brian White sidelined with a rib injury. Despite falling behind 1-0 just six minutes after kickoff, the 'Caps snatched a crucial three points late thanks to Simon Becher scoring on his MLS debut in the 88th minute and second-half substitute Lucas Cavallini delivering the winner in stoppage time.
Such late theatrics have become something of a habit this season for the Cardiac Caps, who have now accumulated a league-leading 13 points on goals scored after the 85th minute.
"I think [this win] should be in the highlight reel if we make the playoffs," Vancouver head coach Vanni Sartini said postgame.
Vancouver's victory, their first in MLS play since July 2 (0W-2L-3D), certainly made for a joyous postgame celebration in the home locker room and in the BC Place stands. While he was thrilled with the ending, Sartini said starting off matches stronger will be paramount for his side moving forward, with Fafa Picault's early opener an example of the type of concession that's "not sustainable" down the stretch.
"We need to be better in starting the game and be ourselves from the beginning," the Italian manager said. "To be honest, we started the game well, but we conceded a goal that [was] kind of childish to concede ...In order to go to the playoff, we need to have games where we are out in front at the end of the first half, for sure."
"I think we need to wake up more from the beginning," Cavallini echoed. "It's like we react when we concede a goal, and that's something that really kills our game a little bit, because if it wasn't for the two goals we scored to come back, who knows?"
That said, it's another example of Vancouver's resilience, especially with them being so shorthanded entering the evening.
The result gave a boost to Vancouver's hopes of mounting a push back into the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs race, with the Whitecaps now level on 30 points with the LA Galaxy, putting both sides two points shy of the cutoff line in the Western Conference heading into the rest of the weekend.
That sets up a crucial away contest between Vancouver and LA on August 13 (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+), where a result for the Whitecaps in Carson becomes almost a necessity. They'll be without Cavallini, not because of injury – he mentioned he felt fine despite "a little bit of a tear" in his quad – but due to yellow card accumulation.
Still, the Canadian international expressed hope his teammates would carry on the momentum from Friday night's comeback to one of their biggest matches of the season.
"As the season ends, things start to get more interesting," Cavallini said. "We have to gain as much points as possible and concede as least as possible ...It's going to be tough, but I think we can pull through and reach the playoffs."