For all the attacking options at the Vancouver Whitecaps’ disposal on Saturday night, it was an unlikely source that produced the game-clinching goals.
Matias Laba had only scored two goals in more than four years in Major League Soccer, but he scored two goals 20 minutes apart to lead a second-half surge as the Whitecaps rallied from a 2-1 halftime deficit to post a 4-2 victory over the LA Galaxy at BC Place.
Early on, the match was all Galaxy, as Frenchman Romain Alessandrini was too much for Vancouver’s back four to contain. He scored a brace within the span of four minutes. to give the Galaxy a halftime lead.
The second half would play a Canadian tune as Montero’s entry into the match helped spark the Whitecaps attack and put the Galaxy defense on its heels.
The breakthrough came in the 66th minute when Techera collected an Alphonso Davies pass and cut to his right before unleashing a curling shot that forced a save from Clement Diop. The rebound fell to Montero, who made no mistake from six yards out.
Just a minute later, Laba gave the Whitecaps the lead for good, collecting a Montero pass at the top of the penalty area and blasting home his first goal since 2015.
Laba didn’t have to wait long for his next goal, adding his second of the night in the 87th minute when he stripped Alessandrini and sparked a quick counterattack. Montero attempted a long-range shot that Diop saved, but Laba had continued his run and pounced on the rebound to make the final score 4-2.
The LA Galaxy will look to rebound by taking on another Canadian team, the Montreal Impact, on Friday. The Whitecaps will turn their attention to Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg at home against Mexican power Tigres. The Whitecaps suffered a 2-0 loss to Tigres in the first leg.
MAN OF THE MATCH
The Argentinian Matias Laba had the night of his life in a Whitecaps uniform, scoring twice the amount of goals he had scored in his three years with the Canadian side.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Matias Laba’s first goal, a blast from 20 yards out, gave the Whitecaps the lead for good and gave the home team control it never relinquished.
MATCH TO FORGET
Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop had a shocker, getting caught outside of the penalty area on the first Whitecaps goal, and giving up rebounds that led to two other Whitecaps goals.