Whitecaps FC become first Canadian club to make MLS Cup Playoffs

'Caps in MLS postseason, despite 1-0 home defeat to Portland

Highlights: Whitecaps FC 0 - 1 Portland Timbers

VANCOUVER, BC - On Sunday evening, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11W-13L-9D) became the first Canadian club to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, despite falling to a 1-0 home defeat versus Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers (8W-16L-9D) earlier on Sunday afternoon.

FC Dallas’ 3-1 defeat at Vancouver’s Interstate 5 rivals Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday night meant Whitecaps FC secured the fifth and final playoff spot in the MLS Western Conference. Following their final regular season match at Real Salt Lake next weekend, Vancouver will travel to Southern California to play MLS Cup holders LA Galaxy in the Western Conference First Round Knockout match on Wednesday, October 31, or Thursday, November 1.

“I feel really good about making the playoffs. From the start of the season, our goal was to get into the playoffs. I think that taking over a team that was last in the table with a poor record last season, it’s actually quite a big achievement to reach the playoffs. As disappointed as we are with how we performed today, over the course of the season, we’ve done well. Things like winning our first game on the road early in the season. Those points all add up and they all came to fruition for us to reach the playoffs.”

 
 
Whitecaps FC head coach, Martin Rennie.

After the emphatic home win over Chivas USA earlier this month, Rennie opted for an unchanged line-up against Portland, with the Scottish coach also having several attacking options available on the substitutes’ bench.

Typical of most Cascadia Cup derby matches, there was a high tempo to the first half, with the visitors taking a one-goal lead into halftime. This despite Vancouver making a bright start to the match.

Camilo Sanvezzo had a pair of good chances in the first half for the ‘Caps, while Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had to save the blushes of teammate Steven Smith from scoring an own-goal on 14 minutes.

POST-MATCH
INTERVIEWS:
    

To their credit, Portland finished the opening half in the ascendency, with lone striker Bright Dike having two good sights at goal, while Franck Songo’o had a low shot deflected wide for a Timbers corner.

Portland’s winner came on 39 minutes through a superb half-volleyed finish from Jewsbury. Songo’o played the ball back to the Timbers captain, whose strike from about 30 yards out flew past a diving Brad Knighton and into the Whitecaps FC goal for a 1-0 Portland lead at the break.

Barry Robson tried to lead by example with his effort to create openings in the second half. On 72 minutes, the Whitecaps FC midfielder forced Ricketts into a save from a dangerous inswinging corner before the Scot drilled a shot high and wide of the target seven minutes later.

Content to maintain their one-goal lead, the Timbers looked to hit Whitecaps FC on the break after absorbing large amounts of Vancouver pressure. Indeed, Portland’s best chance of the second half came on the counter-attack, but despite a four-on-two break, Sal Zizzo struck his low shot wide of the target on 83 minutes

Following seven minutes of stoppage time, Whitecaps FC were unable to find an equalizer. Although Sunday's result was disappointing, Vancouver finished the season with a strong home record of 8W-3L-6D.

Whitecaps FC will wrap up their 2012 regular season schedule in Sandy, Utah, next Saturday night, as they make a second visit of the year to Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake.

MATCH DETAILS

Budweiser Man of the Match: Andy O’Brien
Referee: Juan Guzman
Attendance: 21,000

Scoring summary:
39' - POR - Jack Jewsbury (Franck Songo'o)

Match Stats:
Shots: Vancouver 6 - Portland 9
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 1 - Portland 3
Saves: Vancouver 2 - Portland 1
Fouls: Vancouver 12 - Portland 19
Offsides: Vancouver 1 - Portland 2
Corners: Vancouver 5 - Portland 5

Cautions:
10' - POR - Hanyer Mosquera
53' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
80' - VAN - Gershon Koffie

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O'Brien, 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 4.Alain Rochat (20.Dane Richards 61'), 14.Barry Robson, 16.Matt Watson (17.Omar Salgado 77'); 7.Kenny Miller, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (22.Darren Mattocks 67')

Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 11.John Thorrington, 15.Martin Bonjour, 27.Jun Marques Davidson

Portland Timbers
1.Donovan Ricketts; 15.Kosuke Kimura, 33.Hanyer Mosquera (5.Eric Brunner 48'), 12.David Horst, 14.Steven Smith; 7.Sal Zizzo, 13.Jack Jewsbury, 8.Franck Songo’o (22.Rodney Wallace 67'), 21.Diego Chara, 6.Darlington Nagbe; 19.Bright Dike (10.Danny Mwanga 85')

Substitutes not used: 23.Joseph Bendik, 2.Mike Fucito, 17.Eric Alexander, 30.Lovel Palmer