Canada's loss is Vancouver's gain as Hermus nets winner

Just like old times at Swangard

Marc Weber

Randee Hermus proved to be a one-hit wonder Friday evening.

Hermus, the veteran national team defender from Langley, headed home the winning goal in the 54th minute to lead the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 2-1 win over the expansion Los Angeles Legends at Swangard Stadium.

It was her first and last appearance for the Caps this season.

The former Simon Fraser University star was supposed to be in Australia for Olympic preparation matches, but came down with strep throat before the squad departed.

Her addition was welcomed, especially since the Whitecaps were without defender Emily Zurrer and forwards Jodi-Ann Robinson and Jonelle Filigno -- all called up to the Canadian team.

Zurrer and Filigno were the goal scorers in the season-opening 2-2 draw with Ventura County.

"Randee's been training with us all week and it's been great to have her," head coach Bob Birarda said of Canada's fourth all-time appearance leader with 105 caps. "She's been offering advice and feedback to the players and I think she's enjoyed being around the kids as well because they're super enthusiastic.

"I think this was a big step for us. The first half we had some big shape problems but [our players] responded very well in the second half."

Reminiscent of their opening-week defensive breakdowns, the Whitecaps (1-0-1) gifted a goal to open the scoring -- Legends' Sarah Yoro taking the spoils in minute 38.

Whitecaps midfielder Selenia Iacchelli responded one minute later, however, and the home side continued to carry the play in the second half.

Hermus got on the end of a Kaylyn Kyle cross after a corner for the winner.

"It was a perfect pass so, realistically, if I didn't score it wouldn't have looked good on my part," said Hermus, who played five seasons for the Whitecaps and last suited up in the 2006 W-League championship victory over Ottawa.

"It was unfortunate to come down with strep throat, but I'm glad to have made an impact. I was just out there having fun, helping the team win."

Vancouver heads out on the road for two games in the thin air of Colorado starting Wednesday.

© The Vancouver Province 2008