The red hot Brazilian continued his fine form on Saturday by taking a well-taken first-half goal, but the Whitecaps fell 2-1 to defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.
Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes scored for the home side in the win, with the first of those goals coming after an initial Villarreal effort was ruled offside before referee Chris Penso consulted with his assistant referee and reversed the call.
“The assistant referee called the referee over to determine if no.29 Zardes had touched the ball with his head before no.33 [Villarreal] kicked the ball into the goal,” Penso answered when a pool reporter submitted a question about that decision.
“The referee determined that Zardes had not touched the ball, thus not making [Villarreal] offside. The goal was awarded.”
Designated player Kenny Miller told reporters in Los Angeles that the officials provided two different explanations for the call reversal – one on the field at the time of the incident, and another after half-time.
“It was a strange situation,” Miller said. “Obviously it was hard to take at the time when you think the goal’s not going to be given, but then the decision is overcome like that – it’s a bit disappointing.”
While that equalizing goal certainly seemed to rattle the Whitecaps, the team has a whole struggled mightily, finding themselves outshot 22-4.
The Galaxy’s willingness to continue to push for more eventually paid dividends, as Zardes scored an excellent individual effort after receiving a ball from Todd Dunivant before twisting Brad Rusin with ease and beating Brad Knighton with a shot to the near post.
“If you look at the game as a whole, the best team won on the night,” Miller said. “There’s no doubt about that. We never quite got to the level of performance we’ve shown both at home and the road of late.
“So it’s one that we’ll have to take it on the chin and move on to next week and make sure we get back to winning ways.”
The Whitecaps host the Philadelphia Union at BC Place on Saturday, after falling to 9-6-5.