LAFC vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Saturday, October 21 at 6:00 pm PT
Location: BC Place, Vancouver Canada
Radio: 710 AM ESPN, ESPN LA App, 980 AM La Mera Mera
Coming off a two-week FIFA international break after beating Austin FC 4-2 on October 7, LAFC travels to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, October 21, at BC Place, in both clubs’ final regular season match of 2023.
In Austin, goals from Timothy Tillman, Denis Bouanga (two goals), and Cristian Olivera helped the Black & Gold improve to 14W-10L-9D in MLS play in 2023. The victory lifted LAFC into second place in the Western Conference standings heading into Major League Soccer’s Decision Day. LAFC can lock down the Western Conference’s second seed with a win in Vancouver.
Bouanga’s double against the Verde gave the Gabon international a three-goal cushion (19 goals) over FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta (16) in the race for the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi.
LAFC’s record against the Whitecaps is 6W-5L-3D all-time, although at BC Place LAFC has won just once in five matches (1W-4L-0D).
Led by head coach Vanni Sartini, the Whitecaps will use this final match to try and climb into the top four of the Western Conference standings and secure home-field advantage in the playoffs’ first round. The club currently sits in sixth place with 47 points – tied with Real Salt Lake but trailing RSL in the tiebreaker (head-to-head results).
Striker Brian White leads the club with 15 goals and five assists in 31 MLS matches. Midfielder Ryan Gauld has contributed 11 goals and 12 assists in 31 MLS matches.
The Whitecaps will get a boost from midfielder Andrés Cubas, who is expected to return to the lineup after a one-game absence due to a shoulder injury.
THE BLACK & GOLD WILL WIN IF
It can pick up where it left off prior to the international break. LAFC outscored its opponents 9-3 in its two most recent matches, marking the club’s first two-game win streak in MLS play since June. The Black & Gold lost the last two games it has played on a non-grass surface (in Portland and Charlotte) and will need to find its feet while fighting off a hungry Whitecaps team looking to secure a top-four playoff placement.
WHITECAPS CAN WIN IF
It can sustain its momentum. Vancouver is unbeaten in its last four matches (including a 3-0 win over West-leading St. Louis City SC) and has lost just two of its last ten. After getting blanked by LAFC in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal (6-0 aggregate), the Whitecaps handed LAFC a convincing 3-2 loss at BMO Stadium on June 24. They will aim to recreate the control they held that night over the Black & Gold, a team whose goal output has been up and down throughout 2023.