LAFC vs Vancouver Whitecaps – November 5, 2023
With a 1-0 win and a sweep in the LAFC vs Vancouver Whitecaps best-of-three series, the Black and Gold have clinched the MLS Western Conference Semifinals. Dénis Bouanga scored midway through the half which would result in the lone score of the game, sealing the deal for his squad.
LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau had an outstanding performance making five saves against his former club to maintain a clean sheet in the victory. The win was LAFC’s first ever on the road in a postseason game. Prior to this game, the past seven of eight LAFC playoff games have been played at home. Wondering when the last road playoff game was? Well that was back in 2020 against Seattle. LAFC lost 3-1.
Back to Bouanga. His goal came in the 24th minute of the match off a penalty kick due to a foul on the previous play. Whitecaps defender Triston Blackmon shoved LAFC’s Mario González near the box, leading to the perfect opportunity for Bouanga to surpass Josef Martinez for the second-most goal in a single season in MLS history. There’s only one man left on that chart to top, and that’s DB’s teammate, the man, the mystery, the legend, Carlos Vela.
Now back to the play. González got the ball near the top of the 18-yard box and went down after trying to split two Whitecaps defenders. Referee Tim Ford immediately pointed to the penalty spot despite protests from defenders. The foul was called on Blackmon, though the replay showed it was actually Ranko Veselinovic who appeared to cause the shove to Gonzalez.
Bouanga nearly scored once more during the second-half stoppage, but after video review, he was shown offsides. Much credit to him and even more so to Crépeau for making the huge stops throughout the game.
LAFC now advances to the Western Conference Semifinals and will face the winner of the Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas series.