Paintsil, Fagúndez spark Galaxy to 3-1 victory over Whitecaps

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Joseph Paintsil and Diego Fagúndez scored two minutes apart late in the second half to spark the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night in a match that featured three Japanese born starters for the first time in league history.

Vancouver goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka as well as Galaxy defenders Miki Yamane and Maya Yoshida all started and accomplished a feat not seen in the league's 31 years of existence.

Neither team scored in the battle between the top two teams in the Western Conference in the early season until Dejan Joveljic used an assist from Gabriel Pec — the first of the 23-year-old rookie's career — to find the net in the 56th minute for the Galaxy (4-1-3). Joveljic has six goals this season, leaving him in a five-way tie for the league lead.

The Whitecaps (4-2-1) netted the equalizer in the 77th minute when Brian White scored with an assist from Ryan Gauld off a corner kick. White's third goal of the season is the 42nd of his career, one away from tying the club record. Gauld became the first Whitecaps player to total 25 goals and 25 assists in a career last week.

Paintsil took a through ball from Riqui Puig in the 80th minute and scored the go-ahead goal for the Galaxy and then notched an assist in the 82nd on a fast-break insurance goal by Fagúndez. Paintsil, a 26-year-old rookie forward has three goals and three assists in his first eight matches, all starts. Puig also assisted on Fagúndez's first goal of the campaign.

Takaoka had one save for Vancouver and the Galaxy's John McCarthy wasn't tested in a scoreless first half. McCarthy finished with six saves, while Takaoka saved two shots.

Vancouver leads the all-time series 14-12-7 but falls to 7-5-4 at home. LA earned its first win at BC Place since April of 2019.

A win or a draw would have had the Whitecaps off to their best start through seven matches.

The Galaxy move into the top spot in the West with the victory, two points ahead of the Whitecaps and Houston Dynamo.

Vancouver travels to play the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. The Galaxy return home to play the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

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The Associated Press