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Dropped points: LAFC 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 2

LAFC blew a 2-0 lead and ended up sharing the points at home with Vancouver.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club drew against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday night, sharing the points with the fellow Western Conference side after going up 2-0 inside of 15 minutes.

The boys in Black-and-Gold got off to a hot start, scoring in just the fifth minute. Carlos Vela got the ball right at the top of the box and slotted it into the left-center of the area. The ball may have been intended for Adama Diomande, but he was covered by Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston. However, Diego Rossi was also making a similar cut into the box and was able to catch up to the pass, and put the ball right past Stefan Marinovic.

LAFC proceeded to keep their collective foot on the gas and put together a great team goal to double the lead in the 15th minute. Aaron Kovar took the ball to the end line and passed it back towards the six-yard box. Again, the ball might have been intended for the likes of Diomande, who was running at goal, but he was too far ahead of the pass. The ball also went past Carlos Vela in the center of the box, but went right to the feet of Rossi, who was sprinting in from the left side of the box. Rossi put the ball towards Marinovic’s right hand, and although he got a touch to it, the ball was deflected into the net for LAFC’s second, and Rossi’s brace.

LAFC’s clean sheet only lasted for another seven minutes, however, as Alphonso Davies started to make a real impact on the game. Davies got an outlet pass in his own half and went on a stunning solo run, keeping the ball through challenges from Lee Nguyen and Danilo Silva to get into the box. Once he got into the box, though, Benny Feilhaber came flying in to attempt to dispossess Davies, and got less of the ball and more of the player. A penalty was awarded, and put into the net by Yordy Reyna, to get one back for Vancouver.

Both sides had chances to add another goal in the 29th and 30th minutes. Reyna got the ball in the box from an excellent switch of play, and while he managed to curl the shot past Tyler Miller, the shot went just inches wide of the post. On the other end, Rossi almost completed his hat trick when a deflected ball from Diomande landed in front of him in the box, but was deflected out of bounds. Rossi had yet another chance a few minutes later, when his shot went just inches over the bar.

The match went to half-time with LAFC up 2-1, but it was 20 minutes after play resumed that disaster struck for the home side. After Bob Bradley subbed off Aaron Kovar and Benny Feilhaber for Latif Blessing and Eduard Atuesta, Vancouver countered with Jordon Mutch coming on for Reyna. A minute later, Mutch got the ball around the middle of LAFC’s half. He dribbled forward a few paces before realizing no one was coming to close him down, and shot an absolute rocket into the top corner past Miller. As Vancouver celebrated, LAFC saw their lead evaporate, and their chance at the top seed in the West plummet.

LAFC had their chances after the Whitecaps equalized, but the majority of them were from free kicks and corners, especially in the last four minutes of regular time. LAFC had three free kicks and two corners inside the last four minutes of the game, which turned into legitimate chances from Walker Zimmerman, Blessing, Nguyen, and Vela. But the Whitecaps were able to hang on, and keep LAFC out of goal, and seal a draw in LA.

With this draw, the Vancouver Whitecaps are officially eliminated from playoff contention. LAFC’s point brings them up to second place with 57 points, ahead of FC Dallas, who also have 57. Also notable is that the Seattle Sounders are sitting in fourth, with 56 points. LAFC sit two points behind first-place Sporting Kansas City, who have 59 after their 3-0 win over Dallas in Frisco.

LAFC’s last match of the regular season, on MLS’s Decision Day, is the hardest they could have hoped for: on the road against the aforementioned top team in the West, Sporting Kansas City. Meanwhile, FC Dallas will take on the Colorado Rapids in Colorado. Seattle will be hosting the San Jose Earthquakes at the same time. Best case scenario is that LAFC wins against SKC, which would lock them in as the top seed in the Western Conference. Worst case would be a loss to Sporting and wins from Dallas and Seattle, which would land LAFC in fourth place.

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