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Whitecaps are given soccer lesson by expansion franchise LAFC

Apr 13, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) celebrates after scoring a goal against Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic (not pictured) during the second half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Expansion franchise LAFC quickly took control to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in front of 21,120 fans at BC Place Friday night. 

Once again, Vancouver coach Carl Robinson shuffled the deck. The Whitecaps started the match playing in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with the quick Erik Hurtado starting on top instead of the injured Kei Kamara.

Los Angeles FC, meanwhile, took to the field in a 3-4-3 formation. 

Although both teams pressed high, the game lacked chances and it was not until the 13th minute that either side recorded a shot, with Carlos Vela seeing a shot from 23 yards sail just past the near post. Just a minute later LAFC pushed through again, with Marco Ureña having a shot stopped by Whitecaps’ keeper Stefan Marinović and Dejan Jaković heading the ball just over the net. 

Vancouver responded and in the 17th minute broke forward with Alphonso Davies unleashing a shot that was poorly handled by LAFC keeper Tyler Miller. The keeper, however, was lucky because no Vancouver forward was in reach to exploit the keeper’s miscue. 

The happy back and forth continued in the first half as LAFC produced the next chance in the 29th minute, with Walker Zimmerman hitting the crossbar with a thunderous header following a Vela free kick that was fired from the left edge of the penalty box. LAFC remained on the attack, and in the 39th minute Marinović had to be on his toes to turn aside a Vela shot from 20 yards out and then in the 43rd minute was lucky when the Mexican national team player missed the open net with a header from just five yards out. 

On balance, the Whitecaps were fortunate that the scoreline was 0-0 at halftime.

Coming out of the dressing room, LAFC continued to press with Vancouver struggling to get out of its half.

It was only a question of when LAFC would open the scoring and the goal finally arrived in the 58th minute, with Vela the main protagonist. Steven Beitashour won the ball on the byline inside the Vancouver’s penalty box and played the ball back to Vela, who found the space to curl the ball from an unbelievable angle over goalkeeper Marinović to give Los Angeles the lead. 

The goal opened it up for LAFC. In the 69th minute, Marinović and Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston both rose to defend a high cross. With the two Whitecaps players interfering each other, the ball dropped to Diego Rossi, who easily tugged it away from just a few yards out. 

It was the decisive moment of the match as LAFC now handed over the majority of possession to the Whitecaps, who had just one chance in the dying moments of the game when Miller had to stretch to stop a Nicolás Mezquida shot from 25 yards out. As a result, LAFC walked away with a comfortable 2-0 victory.

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