Galaxy dominate Whitecaps, 3-1, regain top spot in West

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Diego Fagundez joined the likes of Galaxy legends Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones with 70 goals and 70 assists in MLS in LA’s 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The LA Galaxy (4-1-3) bounced back from last week’s setback with a convincing victory, 3-1 over the Vancouver Whitecaps, reclaiming their place at the summit of the Western Conference with 15 points in the standings.

After a scoreless start in the first half the Galaxy’s attack found the back of the net three times in the second half, while also conceding on a set piece for the seventh time in 2024.

“I was pleased with the play, I was pleased with the quality of play, I was pleased with the effort and the commitment the guys made,” Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said after the victory. “I don’t like the set piece goal that we gave up, we”ve got to continue to work at that, but a lot of good things came out of tonight.”

Dejan Joveljic broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, capitalizing on a rebound from a sharp save by Vancouver goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka.

“In the first half I felt like we were getting to those good attacking positions but then we needed to find that next gear to get behind them and turn those opportunities into chances because we were getting to where we wanted to get to but then the game just slowed down a little bit when we got there and we needed to speed it up,” Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said. “When we started to come down the stretch the game was getting a little stretched out and nowadays, when the game gets stretched out we do have speed that can kill.”

Later in the 77th, after successfully stopping Vancouver from scoring on the previous six corner kicks, LA conceded on the seventh and the Whitecaps evened the score at 1-1.

The Galaxy then took advantage of their speed on the wings to regain the lead and put the game on ice.

Joseph Paintsil doubled the Galaxy’s advantage in the 80th minute, firing home a pinpoint pass from Ricky Puig. Paintsil’s goal comes a week after he was the subject of racial abuse online following El Tráfico.

Paintsil appeared on an MLS MVP award watchlist, something he’s proud of, but is not the end goal.

”We have a long season, my focus is really with the team,” Paintsil said.”I’m really happy and this makes me work harder for the club. that is the most important thing.”

Two minutes later, Diego Fagundez sealed the win with his first goal of the season, assisted by Paintsil for his second goal contribution of the night. The goal puts Fagundez in the 70-70 club, meaning 70 goals and 70 assists in MLS, joining the likes of Galaxy legends Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones.

“It’s amazing. It’s something that I’m very proud of,” Fagundez said about the feat. “My next step will be 80-80, hopefully I can accomplish it here.”

Takaoka made MLS history along with Galaxy captain Maya Yoshida and Miki Yamane as Saturday marked the first time three Japanese-born players started in an MLS match.

The victory was particularly sweet for LA, who had been swept by Vancouver last season. 

Next, the Galaxy will look to build on this impressive showing when they face off against San Jose Earthquakes in the 100th Cali Clásico in their next fixture.