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LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau ready for return to Vancouver

While wearing Black & Gold for the Los Angeles Football Club, Giorgio Chiellini is unlikely to play old friends Juventus and Gareth Bale probably won’t have a chance to beat his brothers in arms Real Madrid.

Yet for players with Major League Soccer ties who debuted in Los Angeles in 2022, the chance to hold bragging rights over their previous team has been a good bet so far.

On Wednesday, defender Ryan Hollingshead became the latest to get one over on his former club as LAFC improved to 4-0 at home in matches pitting newcomers and their old clubs.

“There’s always that edge,” Hollingshead said prior to the first-place team’s midweek victory. “Regardless of the trade and how it went down and how excited I am to be here, you always want to prove like you shouldn’t have traded me and this is why.”

Only Kellyn Acosta has experienced anything other than a win. Following an opening day victory over the Colorado Rapids at Banc of California Stadium, the defending Western Conference champions leveled the season series against a player they traded by spoiling the midfielder’s return to Denver.

LAFC (11-3-3, 36 points) is 5-1-0 under these circumstances, with another chance Saturday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps (6-8-3, 21 points) in Canada.

Starting goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and defender Doniel Henry helped beat the Whitecaps in March in L.A. Ahead of Saturday’s rematch at BC Place, Crepeau expects boos and cheers from fans who rooted him on during the past three years.

“I had a great time in Vancouver,” said Crepeau, who has five shutouts in 16 appearances with LAFC. “I left. Some people accepted it and others didn’t. It’s OK. It’s part of professional sports.”

Shortly after the whistle blew on Wednesday’s 3-1 victory against Dallas, Crepeau’s close friend, Vancouver forward Lucas Cavalini, checked in to wish the goalkeeper a good recovery.

“Of course, you want to beat your old teammates, your old organization. I think it’s something natural,” he said. “And on the other side, I’m pretty sure they’re all thinking let’s beat up Max. That’s their thinking. I know them.”

With a full week’s rest in the midst of an extended homestand, the Whitecaps are poised to test LAFC’s five-match unbeaten streak in their Canada Day celebration match.

Since 2018, LAFC is 1-3 in Vancouver while averaging just one goal per game.

In general, Vancouver has been tough to beat at home this season, earning points in seven of eight MLS matches while nailing down four clean sheets on its artificial surface.

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