Kelvin Leerdam nets rare goal to salvage LA Galaxy draw against Vancouver Whitecaps

ByReuters ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Kelvin Leerdam scored his first MLS goal since 2020 to help the LA Galaxy salvage a 1-1 draw against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.

Leerdam's contribution from close range just before half time of LA's home opener canceled out Tristan Blackmon's early header as both teams failed in their quest for their first win of the season.

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The Suriname international's offense was vital for the Galaxy (0-1-2, 2 points) on a night they were without injured striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and winger Douglas Costa.

Julian Gressel contributed his third assist of the season to set up Blackmon. He has now set up every goal for Vancouver (0-2-2, 2 points) this season save one, an own goal off Dallas' Paul Arriola.

Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond departed after 25 minutes with an apparent shoulder injury, and 18 minutes later, Vancouver attacker Sergio Cordova left with what looked like a knee issue.

Vancouver went in front in the 14th minute through a bit of trickery on a set piece. Ryan Gauld acted like he was considering a shot from about 25 yards out to the right of goal.

Then suddenly, Gressel approached the ball instead and sent in an out-swinging cross, which Blackmon met with a powerful header beyond Bond.

The Galaxy were on the front foot for the remainder of the half, and Riqui Puig had a goal disallowed in the 28th minute after a video review spotted that Dejan Joveljic had been offside.

But LA pulled level in first-half stoppage time.

After a combination down the left, Raheem Edwards sent in a cross toward the back post. Takaoka attempted to intervene but spilled it into the path of Leerdam, who outmuscled defender Javain Brown to guide it over the goal line.

Both teams had chances late.

Joveljic forced Takaoka into a fine save in the 53rd minute.

Vancouver's Brian White sent his 1-on-1 effort wide of the target in the 75th minute after reaching Gauld's throughball. Moments after that, Joveljic thought he'd put the Galaxy in front, only for a second LA goal to be disallowed after the ball appeared to hit the striker's arm in the process of controlling and shooting.

Brown also struck the inside of the far post with a wayward 85th-minute cross.