Match Report: LA Galaxy Eliminated from Leagues Cup 2023 Following 2-1 Loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday Night

LOS ANGELES (Sunday, July 30, 2023) – The LA Galaxy’s Leagues Cup 2023 campaign came to an end, falling 2-1 at home to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday night.

Leagues Cup – West Region Group 3
Following the loss to Vancouver, the Galaxy were eliminated from Leagues Cup play after finishing in third place (0-2-0, 0 points) in Group 3 of the West Region behind Club León (first place; 1-0-1, 5 points) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (second place; 1-0-1, 4 points).

Goal-Scoring Plays
LA – Riqui Puig (Calegari), 58th minute: Daniel Aguirre passed the ball up the field to Riqui Puig, who quickly played it out wide to Calegari. The Brazilian defender’s first-time pass into the center of the box found Puig, whose shot from the top of the 18-yard box was swept into the lower left corner of the goal. 

VAN – Own Goal (Calegari), 81st minute: Ryan Gauld’s pass into the penalty area squeezed through a number of players before deflecting off Calegari into the lower left corner. 

VAN – Brian White (Ryan Gauld), 90+1st minute: Brian White’s shot from inside the left side of the six-yard box was finished from close range. 

Postgame Notes

  • Sunday’s Leagues Cup match marked the 34th meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Whitecaps FC, with LA leading the all-time series 15-12-7. 
  • Against Vancouver, the Galaxy hold a 14-11-7 record in league play, a 1-0-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs and a 0-1-0 record in Leagues Cup. 
  • In three meetings between the two teams this season, LA held a 0-2-1 record against Vancouver. 
  • The Galaxy hold a 3-3-4 (16 GF, 16 GA) record in 10 matches played across all competitions dating back to May 31. 
  • LA has posted a 4-3-1 (13 GF, 10 GA) in its last eight matches played at home across all competitions dating back to May 10.
  • In 13 matches played at home across all competitions during the 2023 campaign, the Galaxy hold a 5-6-2 record. 
  • LA completed 554 passes in the match against Whitecaps FC’s (326 completed passes). 
  • The Galaxy held 61.5% of possession compared to Vancouver’s 38.5% of possession. 
  • Riqui Puig tallied a goal, completed four dribbles and won nine duels in the match against Vancouver. 
  • Puig has recorded three goals and four assists in six matches played across all competitions dating back to July 1.
  • Calegari recorded his third assist across all competitions during the 2023 campaign. 
  • Uri Rosell made his first start for the Galaxy dating back to May 17, logging 89 minutes of action and completing 76 of 85 passes (89.4%) in the match against Vancouver.

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy return to league action to play host to Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday, Aug. 20. The match on Aug. 20 kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. 
Leagues Cup 2023 – West Region Group 3 
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 
Sunday, July 30, 2023 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)

Goals by Half                            1          2          F
LA Galaxy                                 1          0          1
Vancouver Whitecaps FC           0          2          2

Scoring Summary:
LA: Puig (Calegari), 16
VAN: Own Goal (Calegari), 81
VAN: White (Gauld), 90+1

Misconduct Summary:
VAN: Cubas (caution), 42
LA: Costa (caution), 48

LA: GK Novak Mićović, D Calegari, D Jalen Neal, D Tony Alfaro, D Julián Aude (Raheem Edwards, 76); M Riqui Puig ©, M Uri Rosell (Kelvin Leerdam, 89), M Daniel Aguirre (Efraín Álvarez, 89); M Tyler Boyd (Memo Rodríguez, 76), M Douglas Costa; F Dejan Joveljić

Substitutes Not Used: GK Jonathan Bond, GK Jonathan Klinsmann; D Mauricio Cuevas, D Chris Mavinga, D Eriq Zavaleta; M Adam Saldaña, M Gino Vivi; F Preston Judd

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Riqui Puig, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Riqui Puig, 2); FOULS: 13 (Douglas Costa, Dejan Joveljić, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2

VAN: GK Isaac Boehmer; D Ranko Veselinovic (Karifa Yao, 35), D Tristan Blackmon, D Mathias Laborda; M Alessandro Schopf (Levonte Johnson, 76), M Andres Cubo, M Ryan Gauld ©, M Jean Ngando (Pedro Vite, 55), M Ryan Raposo, F Sergio Cordova (Deiber Caicedo, 76), F Brian White

Substitutes Not Used: GK Thomas Hasal, GK Yohei Takaoka; D Javain Brown; M Sebastian Berhalter, M Matteo Campagna, M Russell Teibert, F Simon Becher

TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Brian White, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Brian White, 2); FOULS: 9 (Andres Cubas, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2

Referee: Joe Dickerson
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Kieso, Chris Wattam
Fourth Official: Michael Venne
VAR: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82 degrees
Attendance: 14,787

_All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


LA GALAXY HEAD COACH AND SPORTING DIRECTOR GREG VANNEYOn Vancouver Head Coach Vanni Sartini saying a win tonight was a steal for his side, and the outcome deserved to be a tie, and his thoughts on how the last 15 minutes of the game played out:
“I thought for… I don’t know exactly what minute they scored, but I thought for 70 minutes, plus, we by and large were in great control of the game. I think that the end of the first half, they might have had a decent chance off of one of our errors. But, I thought we were in very good control. We’ve had, over the course of the season, we’ve had a lot of really good opportunities to take the game to 2-0. Looks on goal. Attacks to have the right numbers. Opportunities to create separation. We don’t. And then we don’t manage the game, and I put myself in that too, we don’t manage the final 15 or so minutes. And it became a catch 22 as we were up 1-0, I was preparing a potential third center back sub, just because I felt like maybe it wasn’t our day to get a goal. And we needed to see it out. As that player was warming up, we gave up one. And then the questions are… with what’s left, can you still go to the third? Or do you keep the group on the field and still try to prevent yourself from getting into a shootout? And then we give up the second, and we’re a few minutes away, and I just feel like we’re trying to get shooters on the field. You know, two minutes of regulation, we’re just trying to get the guys who are competent shooters on the field, and leaving some of them on the field that looked tired. Douglas [Costa] looked tired, obviously, but he’s one of our primary shooters. So it’s finding a balance between seeing the game out and having your guys out there that will win it in the shootout if you get there. And I didn’t love, in hindsight, I didn’t love the final stages of the game. Both on the field and with some of the decisions that we made.” 

On the two goals his side allowed, and the lack of finishing on the Galaxy side:
“It’s extremely frustrating. I felt like this was a microcosm of some of the games at the start of the season. Again, it’s not necessarily that we had a lot of shots on target, per say. We missed target. We’re around the area. We get things blocked. We’re just not clinical in the final action. And, you know, when you don’t do that with teams that you are, I believe, dominating through large stretches of the game, they hover, they hang around. You can put them away and the game is done. Their spirit is broken. You can see it out. But because they kept hanging around at 1-0, there wasn’t a broken spirit. They were always just kind of around. In the moments where it seemed like we were dominating, they were still hanging around because we couldn’t put them away. That’s just, for me, it’s execution. We have to execute. I’m not a big believer in luck when it comes to playing. Sometimes, like what happened to Gastón [Brugman] the other night, in the injury and stuff like that, that I take as, again, I don’t know if it’s luck, but it’s just disappointing, that you sometimes can’t control. Inside the game though, you’re competing and performing, there’s a lot of things that you can control. We could step out and we could contest those flighted balls in the air better, and head them out and clear them. But we’re kind of dropping off, and we’re allowing those balls to come into our box instead of contesting them in the air. And, when we don’t contest and things get kind of flicked around and deflected, you run the risk of things not going right for you. And I feel like that’s… if they are going right for us, you can put that in the luck category, but I think we can be stronger and contest and be more physical. Because there were a lot of duels, physical duels, that I felt like we lost over the course of the night. That are just 1-on-1, combative sort of moments that led into some dangerous moments, and I felt like that kind of was a little bit down the stretch when they’re kind of striking some hopeful balls in the box and looking for something to come from it. And they got it. Because we don’t deal with those things. Either we don’t take away the point of the service, getting pressure to the ball, or we don’t contest in the air, which is exactly how they scored the first goal against us in Vancouver. We lose the contest, win the balls up in the air. This particular one wasn’t direct, but the deflections created an anything-can-happen moment, and of course it didn’t go our way. But, again, we’ve got to be better at dealing with those situations.”

On Gastón Brugman’s injury sidelining him, and Uri Rosell stepping into that role and his thoughts on his performance on the night:
“For large stretches of the game, I thought he was solid. I think he hasn’t played a ton of 90 minutes games over the course of the season, so I do think he was getting a little bit fatigued over the course of it all. And also, there’s times where numbers, Riqui [Puig] or Douglas [Costa] drop down to those positions and guys are trying to clear space, so then our pivot goes running forward. And, it doesn’t hurt us in the moment, and it also sometimes is good for us, but it does wear on a guy who hasn’t played a lot of games over the course of the season to be doing all of that extra running and work. And, I feel like the game just started to wear on him. He wasn’t one of our primary shooters, so down in those last two to three minutes, I thought, okay, just some fresh legs in midfield. Kelvin [Leerdam] has done this job got us and does it for his national team. He is one of the guys we would put out there to shoot. We really wanted to see the final couple of minutes out, and we didn’t. But, again, by and large, I thought he had a solid performance and professional game.”