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White leads Vancouver Whitecaps to 4-3 comeback win over St. Louis City

White leads Vancouver Whitecaps to 4-3 comeback win over St. Louis City

VANCOUVER – A wave of relief washed over Brian White on Saturday night. After two months without scoring, the Vancouver Whitecaps forward finally put a ball in the back of the net. Then he did it again. And again.

VANCOUVER – A wave of relief washed over Brian White on Saturday night.

After not scoring for two months, the Vancouver Whitecaps striker finally put the ball in the net.

Then he did it again. And again.

White scored three goals as the Whitecaps beat visiting St. Louis City 4-3 on Saturday.

“The first goal came and I think the game went a little easier for us,” White said. “I felt a little more comfortable. It felt like a bit of a stress reliever. And luckily we were able to push through and win the game.”

Fafa Piccault also scored for the ‘Caps (8-7-5) in the 90th minute as Vancouver 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 twelve minutes.

But the Whitecaps responded with four goals and two saves from goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka, before Nokkvi Thorisson scored for the visitors in injury time.

Goalkeeper Ben Lundt stopped four shots on goal for St. Louis, which continued its nine-game winless streak (0-6-3).

Vancouver started the game poorly due to poor defense and an early penalty.

The Whitecaps failed to clear a ball in the seventh minute and it flew out to Blom at the top of the penalty area. The South African midfielder hit a right-footed shot that sailed past Takaoka’s hands and into the back of the net, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

Just five minutes later, City struck again after Vancouver’s Javain Brown was called for a handball. Lowen stepped up to take the ensuing penalty and fired a low shot into the corner.

It was a familiar scene, said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini, who compared Saturday’s start to the game Vancouver lost 2-0 to the Timbers in Portland last week.

“We were clearly the better team from minute one and we made our lives just as complicated as we did in Portland,” he said. “The big difference is that we stayed calm and kept playing our game, knowing that we were going to create chances, and knowing that we were going to defend very well for the rest of the 80 minutes.”

White got the home side on the board in the 37th minute, picking up a ball at the top of the penalty area, setting it down and then firing a shot that struck 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 his own in the 54th minute. While chasing down a loose ball, White held off St. Louis defender Tomas Tatland and got a backheel shot, sending a curved ball up over Lundt’s head to tie the score at 2-2.

He wasn’t ready yet either.

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

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

Yet goals have not come easy this season.

Heading into Saturday’s match, White had not scored since the ‘Caps drew 1-1 against the New York Red Bulls on April 27.

According to the attacker, perseverance is needed to get out of a slump.

“You really only have one option and that’s just keep going,” he said. “You do everything you can on the training field, it’s getting extra reps in front of the goal after practice, it’s studying film, it’s doing the mental side of training.” It’s the game. There’s a lot that goes into fighting through these tough times.”

COMMENTS

Saturday marked only the fourth time the Whitecaps have come from a multi-goal deficit to win an MLS game, the last of which came in Portland against the Timbers on Oct. 20, 2021. … Both Vancouver and St. Louis were without several players. The Whitecaps were without 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 at the Copa America with their national teams. Vancouver’s Alessandro Schopf also missed the game due to suspension after receiving a red card last week. St. Louis were without midfielder Rasmus Alm (knee), center back Roakim Nilsson (hamstring), wing back Tomas Ostrak (ankle), wing back Celio Pompeu (lower leg) and forward Joao Klauss (knee), while defender Kyle Hiebert was out with the Canadian national team. … An announced audience of 24,662 attended the competition at BC Place.

NEXT ONE

The Whitecaps visit Minnesota United on Wednesday. St. Louis hosts the San Jose Earthquakes that same evening.

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

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press