Vancouver Whitecaps finish season strong with win over L.A. Galaxy

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Vancouver Whitecaps finished their season on a positive note Sunday, beating the L.A. Galaxy 3-0.

Lucas Cavallini opened the scoring in the 24th minute, and Fredy Montero added a brace with goals in the 48th minute and injury time.

The Galaxy went down a man before the half after L.A.’s Julian Araujo was sent off for a serious foul when his studs met the knee of Vancouver’s Cristian Gutierrez.

Evan Bush had six saves for the Whitecaps (9-14-0) and collected his first clean sheet for Vancouver. Galaxy (6-12-4) ‘keeper David Bingham stopped three of the six on-target shots he faced.

Sunday’s results didn’t change much for either side, as both teams were eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday.

It had been a difficult year for the ‘Caps, but coach Marc Dos Santos said earlier in the week that his squad was determined to finish strong despite not earning a spot in the post-season.

Vancouver came out with energy on Sunday and Cavallini fired a shot at the Galaxy net just seven minutes in.

The Whitecaps got on the scoreboard in the 24th minute after Russell Teibert stormed through the midfield and got a pass off to Gutierrez. The Chilean-Canadian left back delivered the ball into Cavallini just outside the six-yard box, and the striker put away a header to put Vancouver up 1-0.

Gutierrez was taken out at the top of the penalty area in the 39th minute by a high boot from Araujo.

Referee Joseph Dickerson pulled out a yellow card for the play before it was sent to video review. After a second look, Dickerson showed Araujo the red and the Galaxy defender was ousted from the game.

The ‘Caps didn’t take long to capitalize on the man advantage.

Ali Adnan sent a long ball into the danger area in the 43rd minute and Montero used his chest to bounce it in past Bingham to put the Whitecaps up 2-0.

The Colombian forward added another strike in injury time, sending a rocket past Bingham and rippling the back of the net.

The goals were the fourth and fifth of the season for Montero, who was playing in his 200th regular-season Major League Soccer game.

Despite Sunday’s result, the Whitecaps will miss the playoffs for the third season in a row this year.

Vancouver finished the regular-season with more wins than the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes, who took the last two post-season berths in the West. The ‘Caps didn’t see a single tie all year, however, which hurt the club when the MLS switched the playoff qualification criteria to points per game.

Both Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact will see post-season action.

The Impact clinched a spot Sunday with a 3-2 win over D.C. United. TFC dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Red Bulls, but finished second in the Eastern Conference.

NOTES: Teibert, Gutierrez, Adnan and Jake Nerwinski all registered assists for Vancouver on Sunday. … The Whitecaps are the only team in MLS history to finish a season without a single draw. … Gutierrez replaced Leonard Owusu in the ‘Caps starting 11. Owusu has returned to Ghana to complete immigration paperwork.

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