Los Angeles’ Efrain Alvarez settled a failed clearance and zipped a shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, leading the Galaxy to a 2-1 win over the Whitecaps on Wednesday in Sandy, Utah.
The winning goal came mere moments after Vancouver’s Janio Bikel tied the score at 1, validating the pressure the Whitecaps put on the Galaxy in the latter stages of the game. But in the end it was heartbreak and a fifth straight loss for the Whitecaps (2-6-1, 7 points), who are playing their home games this season at Real Salt Lake’s venue.
A 47th-minute goal for Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead after a scoreless first half with minimal chances and none of note. The Galaxy (6-3-0, 18 points) struck first when they took advantage of a turnover in their own end.
A pass to Sebastian Lletget created space on the right flank, and Lletget spotted Hernandez sneaking in from the far side of the goal.
Lletget delivered to Hernandez, who slid home his eighth goal of the season in the 47th minute to move back into a tie for the MLS lead in that category.
The Whitecaps got an opportunity from the top of the box in the 49th minute. Cristian Dajome slid a pass to Lucas Cavallini while on the ground, and Cavallini had a good look, but his shot was too weak to be a problem for Galaxy goalie.
Cavallini couldn’t chase down a ball sent to the front of the goal in the 65th minute, and Dajome had a shot blocked as he put one on target in the 68th.
Moments later, Vancouver second-half substitute Deiber Caicedo made a good run past midfield and got off a shot, but it hit the side of the net.
But none of those chances were better than a header from the Whitecaps’ Erik Godoy in the 79th minute that hit the bar and caromed away.
It all finally paid off for Vancouver when Bikel scored from well inside the box, and the Whitecaps were minutes away from salvaging a point before Alvarez’s deciding tally.