Hollingshead, Vela lead LAFC past Whitecaps

View Original Notice ? Hollingshead, Vela lead LAFC past Whitecaps

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ryan Hollingshead (24) celebrates with teammate defender Mamadou Fall (5) after Hollingshead scores a goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) pushes off Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert (31) during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder José Cifuentes (11) moves the ball up the pitch during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ilie Sánchez (6) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing (7) headers the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps defenders during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) points to the stands after scoring a goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Mamadou Fall (5) brings the ball up the pitch against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ryan Hollingshead (24) kicks the ball to teammate forward Kwadwo Opoku (22) during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ryan Hollingshead (24) smiles after scoring a goal during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) winds up for a kick against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ranko Veselinovi? (4) during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau (16) makes a save against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Brian Rodríguez (17) looks for an opening against a Vancouver Whitecaps defender during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Brian Rodríguez (17) heads the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing (7) kicks the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert (31) during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • A Los Angeles FC fans cheers during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • A Los Angeles FC fan holds up a scarf prior to the start of an MLS season match between the Los Angeles FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC head coach Steve Cherundolo, center, looks on during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • A Los Angeles FC fan raises his hands during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • A Los Angeles FC fan dances during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing (7) vies for the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ranko Veselinovi? (4) during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (19) chases the ball down during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Former Los Angeles FC and now Vancouver Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon (6) is surrounded by teammates after Blackmon scores a goal during the first half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Kwadwo Opoku (22) dribbles up the pitch during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Jesús Murillo (3) looks to pass against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (19) looks for an open man against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Cristián Gutiérrez (3) during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC forward Cristian Arango (9) dribbles the ball in the open field during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Brian Rodríguez (17) maneuvers the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (19) vies for the ball again Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Raposo (27) during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau (16) catches a corner kick against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles FC defender Doneil Henry (44) vies for the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps forward Lucas Cavallini (9) during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • A Los Angeles FC fan pumps his fist during the second half of an MLS season match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Los Angeles FC defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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A brace from an unlikely source and a third goal by Los Angeles Football Club’s most potent weapon produced a comfortable 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps Sunday evening at Banc of California Stadium.

Defender Ryan Hollingshead netted the first two-goal game of his Major League Soccer career, and team captain Carlos Vela contributed his first assist to go with his fourth goal of the year as LAFC stifled the anemic Whitecaps.

“Getting my first start here at home, I wanted to do something special and that’s one way to do it,” Hollingshead said following the match.

Vancouver snatched the lead in the 12th minute by quickly taking a free kick that caught LAFC flat-footed.

Whitecaps midfielder Pedro Vite made like he was going to hit a cross into the box, however the moment he set the ball down Sebastian Berhalter, the 20-year-old son of U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter, jumped in and struck a perfect pass behind the LAFC backline.

Forward Lucas Cavallini, the only Whitecaps player with a goal through three matches, redirected the ball off the near post with his head. It ricocheted to defender Tristan Blackmon, who beat Maxime Crepeau.

Blackmon’s third career MLS goal was his first with Vancouver, which acquired him in the offseason after the defender was left unprotected by LAFC and selected by Charlotte FC in the expansion draft.

Producing zero shots in the opening quarter hour, the hosts nearly went down two goals when Vancouver sprinted up the field on a counter attack following goalkeeper Thomas Hasal’s fantastic one-handed save off a header from Jose Cifuentes.

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo described his team’s ball movement as slower than he wanted, especially laterally which he expected to expose Vancouver (0-3-1, 1 point).

“We came out slow again the first 10 to 15 minutes,” said Hollingshead, who received his first start with LAFC last week in Miami. “We’ve been doing that the last couple of games. It’s not good enough from us. But we turned it around. The last part of the first half we turned it around, we were on the front foot, we had the ball. We had possession. We were moving it well and so we were just trying to continue that in the second half. We did have glimpses. It still needs to be better. But a lot of good sequences for sure. A lot of good build up. A lot of good passing with movement.”

The Black & Gold leveled the score near the half-hour mark when Hollingshead hit paydirt for the first time with Los Angeles. Vela spun a corner kick to the middle of the box where the veteran grazed the bottom of the crossbar from eight yards away.

Vela gave his team the lead in the 38th minute off some brilliant dribbling by Mahala Opoku, who earned his second straight start in the attack ahead of Cristian Arango. Opoku juked by four Whitecaps players before pushing the ball toward Vela at the near post. The Mexican’s first attempt was denied by Hasal, but Vela alertly followed up and finished with his left foot.

Another dangerous play in the box from Vela with 20 minutes left in the second half forced another quality save by the man who replaced Crepeau, who spent the previous three seasons as Vancouver’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

The subsequent corner kick was headed around the box until it fell in front of Hollingshead, who smashed a half-volley toward supporters in the North End to secure his first multi-goal game in 197 league matches.

The 30-year-old from Granite Bay, Calif., who starred at UCLA from 2009-2012, was picked up in a trade with FC Dallas in February. Hollingshead could have completed LAFC’s second hat-trick of the year, but his third shot on target turned into one of Halal’s six saves in the match.

The result lifted LAFC to a 4-3-3 record all-time against Vancouver.

Through the first month of the MLS season, Cherundolo’s players lead the Western Conference having taken 10 out of a possible 12 points to top Real Salt Lake on goal differential

“Another home game, another victory, which makes us happy,” Cherundolo said. “We’re happy with the result and very happy with the reaction after going down with the first goal.”

Since joining the league in 2018, LAFC is 39-7-19 at Banc of California, good for 136 points, tying them for the most home field points with New York City.

Following a two week pause in league play to accommodate the three remaining CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches at the end of the month, LAFC (3-0-1) will not play on their pitch again until April 17.

“What a special night for me and the club,” Hollingshead said. “We want to keep building on this.”

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