Thursday, November 30, 2023
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MLS Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (12-10-10) at Los Angeles Football Club (14-10-10)

This will be the first meeting between the Los Angeles Football Club and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the MLS Cup Playoffs. The only previous knockout round meeting between the sides took place in the quarterfinals of this year’s Concacaf Champions League with the Los Angeles Football Club advancing, 6-0, on aggregate.

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC earned their first-ever win at BMO Stadium on June 24 this year, recording a 3-2 victory at the Los Angeles Football Club in a regular-season meeting. The Los Angeles Football Club had gone unbeaten in its first seven home matches against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (W4 D3. All competitions), scoring at least three goals in all four wins.

Since the beginning of July, the Los Angeles Football Club has recorded seven wins, six draws and seven losses across all competitions. Los Angeles Football Club has scored 31 goals in the seven wins in that time (4.4 per match), scoring at least four in the last six wins, while scoring a total of eight times in the other 13 matches (0.6 per match).

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC enter the playoffs having lost only three of its 17 matches in all competitions (W7 D7), including going unbeaten in the last five (W1 d4). Only FC Dallas (1) and Orlando City SC (2) have suffered fewer defeats than the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in all competitions since that run began July 12.

Denis Bouanga won the MLS Golden Boot with 20 goals this regular season, and he scored 33 times over all competitions in 2023, 12 more than any other MLS player (D. Gazdag – 21). The last player to score more goals over a calendar year was his Los Angeles Football Club teammate, Carlos Vela, in 2019 (41 goals).

Ryan Gauld (23 – 11 goals, 12 assists) and Brian White (20 – 15 goals, 5 assists) are the first pair of Vancouver Whitecaps FC teammates to record 20 goal contributions in a single season in club history. In fact, entering this year, only three players ever reached 20 goal contributions in a season in team history most recently Kei Kamara (20 – 14 goals, 6 assists) in 2018.

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