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Andres Cubas scores first MLS goal as Vancouver Whitecaps beat LAFC 1-0

Vancouver Whitecaps' Russell Teibert, front left to right, Pedro Vite, Andres Cubas and Cristian Dajome, back, celebrate Cubas' goal against Los Angeles FC during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, on Saturday, July 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Vancouver Whitecaps slayed a giant on Saturday.

The Caps came in below the playoff line in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference and seemed to be in tough as they hosted league-leaders Los Angeles FC, a team that has dominated nearly every club in its path this season.

While L.A. controlled play through much of the first half, Vancouver came on strong in the second.

An 89th-minute goal from newcomer Andres Cubas gave the home side a crucial 1-0 victory.

“We played really well,” said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini.

“It’s not just today, it’s games after games after games.”

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After starting the season with a 1-6-1 record, the Caps have turned their campaign around, going 6-2-2 in MLS play since the beginning of May.

The club has also won three rounds in the Canadian Championship and is set to face Toronto FC in the final on July 26.

Goalkeeper Cody Cropper posted his third straight clean sheet on Saturday.

He now has four on the season and the Caps have not conceded a goal in MLS play since June 14.

“I think the stats speak for themselves,” said Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon.

“We’ve been in really good form lately.”

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Vancouver outshot L.A. 10 to seven over the course of Saturday’s game, including two shots on target.

The visitors did not have a single on-target shot.

Cubas, a Paraguayan international who signed with the Whitecaps in late April, connected for the game-winning strike in the 89th minute, taking the ball off his chest at the top of the penalty area and sending a right-footed shot skittering past LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

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“It was great that I stayed in that position at the top of the box,” Cubas said through a translator.

“I saw the opening in the angle of the goal and thankfully it all worked out in the end.”

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Getting a third straight shutout shows how the entire Whitecaps team has been working together defensively, Blackmon said.

“We put up three clean sheets in a row. And that’s really difficult, in this league especially,” he said.

“It shows the determination of the guys in the back as well as the guys on the front. It’s a cohesive thing. It’s a group effort.”

Both sides will be back in action on Friday, with the Whitecaps hosting Minnesota United and LAFC entertaining the L.A. Galaxy.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2022.

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