Ryan Gould had a goal and an assist, and the Vancouver Whitecaps recorded an important 2-0 victory over Austin FC in their home final on Saturday.
Gould opened the scoring with a breakaway goal in the seventh minute before replacing Lucas Cavalli in the 62nd minute.
Goalkeeper Thomas Hassall made five saves for the Whitecaps (12-14-7) to collect their fourth clean sheet of the Major League Soccer season.
Brad Stover stopped four of six field goal shots for Austin (16-10-7), which lost its fourth straight road game.
The result extended Vancouver’s winning streak to three straight and kept its faint hopes of securing a playoff spot alive — at least temporarily.
The club now sits three points and two spots out of a postseason spot in MLS’s tightest Western Conference. To make the playoffs, the Whitecaps need several results to go their way this weekend, then defeat Minnesota United on the road next week.
Heat flared in overtime Saturday when Vancouver’s Julian Gressel exchanged words with Austin’s Julio Cascante before Cascante threw the defender to the ground. Players from both sides quickly ran off in a frenzy and were tackled before the scrum was broken up by the officials.
The score was already tied 2-0 for the home team.
Three minutes after Brian White came on in the 59th minute, Cavolini made his presence felt.
Gould sent a low rolling ball into the penalty area and the Canadian striker tapped it in from the top of the six-yard box to extend Vancouver’s lead to 2-0.
The goal was Cavallini’s team-leading ninth of the season and came on his return from a four-game suspension for stepping on the Nashville SC defender.
Austin controlled 67.5 percent of the possession in the first half and outshot the Whitecaps 8-5 (4-3 shots on goal) but Vancouver took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Gould dominated the first 45 minutes, destroying Austin’s defense and setting up his teammates.
On forty minutes, Scotland’s attacking midfielder danced around several defenders and fired from the top of the box, forcing Stover to make a diving save.
Two minutes later, Gould and White showed some great passing inside the penalty area and created a solid chance for Vancouver. Stover made an awkward-looking move to stop White’s sliding shot from the middle of the box.
Gould opened the scoring just seven minutes into the break.
Pedro Waite fed him a ball along the sideline and Glad broke deep into the Austin area, went one-on-one with Stover and sent a left-footed shot past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0 with his eighth goal of the season. .
Austin’s key pieces still managed to get their chances on Saturday.
Sean Drewesi nearly tied the score with a hard shot in first-half injury time, only for it to be blocked by Caps defenseman Jack Nirwinski.
Drewsi has 21 goals this season and trails Nashville SC’s Hani Mukhtar (23) in the Golden Boot race.
Austin’s Max Orotti got to the Whitecaps’ end in the 22nd minute and fired a shot into the back of the net. Hasal stepped up from the goal line and kicked the ball out of harm’s way.
Arruti has been a problem for the Caps before. The 31-year-old Argentine forward has scored nine goals against the Caps during his time with five different MLS teams (Austin, Portland, Dallas, Montreal and Houston).
The Whitecaps will conclude their regular season campaign on the road against Minnesota United on October 9.
Footnotes: The match played host to three matches where the Whitecaps won three matches. … Vancouver has won three straight games for the first time since August 2021, when they beat Austin on the road and had home wins against Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake. An announced crowd of 19,292 played at the BC venue.