July 17th, 2024

White lifts Vancouver Whitecaps to 4-3 comeback victory over St. Louis City

By Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press on June 29, 2024.

Vancouver Whitecaps' Levonte Johnson (28), left, St. Louis City's John Klein (41), middle, and St. Louis City's Tomas Totland, right, vie for the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, June 29, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VANCOUVER – Brian White netted a hat trick and the Vancouver Whitecaps stormed all the way back for a 4-3 victory over slumping St. Louis City on Saturday.

Fafa Piccault also scored for the ‘Caps (8-7-5), who snapped a two-game losing streak.

St. Louis (3-7-10) was dominant to start the Major League Soccer match, with Njabulo Blom and Eduard Lowen scoring in the first 12 minutes of the game.

But the Whitecaps – and White – responded with four goals and two saves from goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka before Nokkvi Thorisson added a stoppage-time tally for the visitors.

Netminder Ben Lundt stopped four on-target shots for St. Louis, who saw their winless skid stretch to nine games (0-6-3).

The ‘Caps controlled 60.9 per cent of possession across the match and outshot the visitors 14-10.

Vancouver got off to a disastrous start thanks to some scattered defence and an early penalty.

The Whitecaps failed to clear a ball in the seventh minute and it popped out to Blom at the top of the penalty area. The South African midfielder got off a right-footed shot that sailed past Takaoka’s hands and into the back of the net.

Officials reviewed the play for a possible foul before confirming St. Louis’ early 1-0 lead.

Just five minutes later, the visitors struck again after Vancouver’s Javain Brown was called for a handball. Lowen stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick and sent a low shot into the corner, boosting City’s cushion to 2-0.

Vancouver nearly clawed a goal back in the 17th minute when Ryan Gauld stepped around his defender and began sprinting down the field. The ‘Caps captain chipped a pass to Levonte Johnson at the top of the penalty area and the Canadian attacker took a few strides before unleashing a shot, only to see Lundt tip the ball out of harm’s way.

White got the home side on the board in the 37th minute, taking a ball at the top of the box, settling it, then firing a shot that hit the leg of St. Louis defender Jake Nerwinski before bouncing into the net.

White’s sixth goal of the season cut Vancouver’s deficit to 2-1.

The American striker added to his tally in the 54th minute. Chasing down a loose ball, White held off St. Louis defender Tomas Tatland and got a back-heel shot off, sending an arching ball up, over Lundt’s head and in to knot the score at 2-2.

He wasn’t done, either.

Whitecaps defender Bjorn Utvik helped set in motion Vancouver’s third goal of the game when he sent a long pass to Ryan Raposo in the 61st minute. Raposo sailed a cross into White, who headed the ball down past Lundt for his third goal of the game, putting the ‘Caps up 3-2.

The goal marked White’s second career hat trick. He also scored all three goals when the Whitecaps blanked the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Oct. 2, 2021.

Piccault added some insurance for Vancouver, collecting a pass from Luis Martins before blasting a right-footed shot past Lundt from near the penalty spot in the 90th minute.

His fourth goal of the season put the ‘Caps up 4-2.

St. Louis refused to go quietly.

Thorisson fired a shot past Takaoka in stoppage time to seal the score a 4-3.

NOTES

Saturday marked just the third time the Whitecaps have comeback from a multi-goal deficit to win an MLS game. The last instance happened in Portland against the Timbers on Oct. 20, 2021. “¦ Both Vancouver and St. Louis were without a number of players. The Whitecaps were missing forward Damir Kreilach (calf) and defender Sam Adekugbe (calf) due to injuries, while wingback Ali Ahmed (Canada) and defensive midfielder Andres Cubas (Paraguay) are both with their national teams at Copa America. Vancouver’s Alessandro Schopf also missed the game due to suspension after receiving a red card last week. St. Louis was missing midfielder Rasmus Alm (knee), centre back Roakim Nilsson (hamstring), wingback Tomas Ostrak (ankle), wingback Celio Pompeu (lower leg) and forward Joao Klauss (knee), while defender Kyle Hiebert was away with the Canadian national team. “¦ An announced crowd of 24,662 took in the game at BC Place.

UP NEXT

The Whitecaps will visit Minnesota United on Wednesday. St. Louis is set to host the San Jose Earthquakes the same night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.

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