Andres Cubas scores first MLS goal as Vancouver Whitecaps slay LAFC 1-0

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps took down Major League Soccer's top team on Saturday, beating Los Angeles FC 1-0.

Andres Cubas provided the game winner, scoring his first MLS goal in the 89th minute.

L.A. (11-4-3) dominated the first half but Vancouver (7-8-3) rallied in the second and outshot the visitors 10-7 over the course of the game, including two shots on target.

Former Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made a single save in his return to BC Place. Jeers and boos rained down on the 28-year-old Canadian nearly every time he touched the ball.

Crepeau started in 32 games for Vancouver between 2019 and 2021, but requested a trade ahead of the 2022 campaign due to what Caps sporting director Axel Schuster has described as a "very personal situation."

Vancouver goalkeeper Cody Cropper did not register a save but collected his fourth clean sheet of the season.

Cubas connected for the game-winning strike in the 89th minute, taking the ball off his chest at the top of the penalty area and sending a right-footed shot skittering past Crepeau and into the bottom left-corner of the net.

The Caps signed Cubas, a Paraguayan international, at the end of April.

The Whitecaps gained momentum late in the game and striker Brian White appeared poised to put the home side on the board in the 75th minute after a ball slipped through L.A.'s backline.

White streaked in alone and got a solid shot off, but sent the ball careening off the goalpost, prompting the American to bury his face in his hands.

Vancouver was the first side to put a shot on net, forcing Crepeau to make a highlight-reel save in the 65th minute.

White sent a cross into the box and former LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon sent a blistering header toward the L.A. net, but Crepeau dove and snatched the ball out of the air.

Minutes earlier, the Caps preserved the 0-0 score line by defending a dangerous free kick after Whitecaps attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld was called for taking out Danny Musovki. L.A. sharpshooter Cristian Arango took the kick, sending a ball into the Vancouver wall.

LAFC dominated 61.2 per cent of the possession through the first half and outshot Vancouver 4-2, though neither shot registered a single shot on target.

The Black and Gold had the better chances, though, including a header by Arango in the 31st minute.

A foul by Vancouver's Russell Teibert gave L.A. a free kick from the top corner of the penalty area. The initial blast didn't create much trouble, but it allowed Mamadou Fall to get a cross to Arango at the centre of the box and the Colombian sent a header just over the Caps net.

Arango came into Saturday's game having scored in his last four outings.

Latif Blessing nearly opened the scoring for L.A. earlier in the half. Francisco Ginella's shot was blocked by Caps defender Javain Brown in the 12th minute, but Blessing collected the loose ball and fired it from the top of the penalty area, only to see it glance off the crossbar.

Both sides will be back in action on Friday, with the Whitecaps hosting Minnesota United and LAFC entertaining the L.A. Galaxy.

FOOT NOTES: An announced crowd of 18,292 took in the game. … Former Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos also made his return to BC Place. Dos Santos was fired from his role last August and joined LAFC as an assistant coach ahead of the 2022 season. … L.A.'s star forward Carlos Vela was not in the lineup. He played 90 minutes in LAFC's 3-1 win over FC Dallas on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2022.

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