Dénis Bouanga scored on a first-half penalty kick and Maxime Crépeau made it stand up against his former club as defending-champion Los Angeles FC finished off a first-round sweep of the Vancouver Whitecaps with a 1-0 victory on Sunday night.
Bouanga, who scored 20 goals during the regular season to win the Golden Boot and was named a finalist for the MVP award, scored on a penalty kick in the 24th minute to give LAFC (15-10-10) the lead. Bouanga took the PK after Mario González drew a foul on Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon.
Crépeau, a member of the Whitecaps from 2018-2021, finished with five saves to earn his second career clean sheet in the postseason — both with LAFC. Yohei Takaoka had six saves for Vancouver (12-11-12).
The Whitecaps won LAFC’s first four visits to Vancouver in all competitions, but LAFC has gone 2-0-1 since.
Bouanga and Ryan Hollingshead became the sixth pair of teammates to both score twice in the same match in LAFC’s 5-2 victory at home in the series opener. LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande did it in 2019. LAFC and the Los Angeles Galaxy are the only clubs to do it multiple times.
LAFC notched its seventh victory since August. The club scored at least four goals in each of the first six wins but managed just five goals in its other nine matches, going 0-5-4.
Bouanga, who had a goal waved off in second-half stoppage time, joins Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada and FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta as finalists for the league’s top player.
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Source: NBC Los Angeles