The Los Angeles Football Club opened the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a convincing 5-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in Game 1 of their Best-of-3 Round One series at BMO Stadium. Dénis Bouanga and Ryan Hollingshead each scored twice while Jesus Murillo added a fifth for the home side who tied their biggest-ever postseason margin of victory, while the five goals scored equaled LAFC’s previous playoff high.
The defending MLS Cup Champions took a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute when Hollingshead put home the rebound of his shot for his first postseason goal since 2015. The Whitecaps equalized through Brian White in the 27thminute, but LAFC regained the lead two minutes later when MLS Golden Boot winner Dénis Bouanga scored the third postseason goal of his LAFC career, becoming the Club’s all-time leader in playoff goals.
The Whitecaps equalized just before halftime on a Sam Adekugbe header, sending the teams into the break tied at 2-2. But the combination of Hollingshead and Bouanga stepped up after the intermission, each scoring inside the opening 20 minutes of the second half. Hollingshead scored the eventual game-winner in the 52nd minute before Bouanga extended the lead to 4-2 in the 64th minute.
Jesus Murillo rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute, heading home a Mateusz Bogusz corner kick to give LAFC the 5-2 win.
LAFC faces Vancouver in Game 2 on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. PT. That game will be broadcast on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, FS1, FS2 (Spanish), 710 AM and 980 AM. While Game 3, if necessary, will be back at BMO Stadium on Thursday, November 9.
NEWS & NOTES
- With tonight’s win, LAFC is now unbeaten in four straight games in all competitions, and unbeaten in their last four MLS Cup Playoff games dating back to the start of the 2022 postseason.
- Tonight was LAFC’s eighth playoff game of all time. The club has now scored multiple goals in six of those eight games and averages nearly three goals per game in the postseason.
- In the 2022 MLS regular season, LAFC was 0-1-1 against Vancouver. However, the Club is now a perfect 3-0-0 against the Whitecaps in Concacaf Champions League and MLS Cup Playoff action, scoring 11 goals while conceding just two and winning all three games by three goals.
- Tonight was LAFC’s 13th victory by three goals or more in all competitions this year.
- LAFC is now 13-0-3 when scoring first in MLS competitions this year, including 10-0-1 at home.
- With his two goals tonight, Dénis Bouanga now has 35 goals in all competitions for LAFC in 2023. That leaves him tied with Josef Martinez for the second-most goals in a single year in MLS history. Only Carlos Vela – with 38 goals in 2019 – has scored more than Bouanga’s 35.
- Bouanga, who also scored twice in LAFC’s Conference Semifinal win over the Galaxy in 2022, is now LAFC’s all-time leading postseason goal scorer with four. He is the first LAFC player to record multiple multi-goal games in the playoffs.
- He has now scored eight goals in his last four games with LAFC.
- Ryan Hollingshead also scored twice in the game, becoming the first defender in LAFC history to score multiple goals in a postseason game.
- Before today, Hollingshead had only scored one goal in 14 previous postseason games.
- With Bouanga and Hollingshead each scoring twice, this was the second time that LAFC had multiple players score multiple goals in a postseason game. Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande scored twice in LAFC’s 5-3 win over the LA Galaxy in the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals.
- Ryan Hollingshead played 204 games (regular season and postseason) for FC Dallas from 2014-2021 and never scored more than a single goal in a game. He has now done so twice in 66 games with LAFC.
- Hollingshead joins Denis Bouanga, Adama Diomande, and Carlos Vela as the four players in LAFC history to score multiple goals in a postseason game.
- Jesus Murillo has now scored in each of his last two playoff games, having also scored in the second half of MLS Cup 2022 against Philadelphia.
- Carlos Vela was credited with an assist on Bouanga’s second-half strike. He now has a club record seven postseason assists, having been credited with an assist in seven of LAFC’s eight all-time playoff games.
- Diego Palacios, who assisted on Gareth Bale’s MLS Cup-tying goal last year, was credited with his second career postseason assist on Bouanga’s first-half goal.
- Giorgio Chiellini and Mateusz Bogusz each collected their first postseason assist for LAFC in the game.
- Six players – Mateusz Bogusz, Mario Gonzalez, Aaron Long, Cristian Olivera, Sergi Palencia, and Timothy Tillman all made their postseason debut for LAFC in the game. Of that group, only Long had previously played in the MLS Cup Playoffs with another team.