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 national squad departed.
Her addition was welcomed, especially since the Whitecaps were forced to go 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.
"It was hard losing those key players from last week . . . 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. Midfielder Sarah Yoro capitalized on a miscue at the back in minute 38 to give the Legends (0-2-0) a 1-0 lead.
Vancouver quickly responded, however, as midfielder Selenia Iacchelli finished off a series that followed a Tiffeny Milbrett corner kick in the 39th minute.
The Whitecaps, who outshot the visitors 8-2 in the opening 45, continued to carry the play in the second half and their work paid off when Hermus got on the end of a Kaylyn Kyle cross after another corner.
"The goal was a gimme," said Hermus, who last suited up for the Whitecaps in their 2006 W-League championship victory over Ottawa at home. "It was a perfect pass so, realistically, if I didn't score it wouldn't have looked good on my part.
"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."
Hermus trails only Andrea Neil and Liz Conner in all-time minutes played for the Whitecaps, having suited up in 2001-02 and 2004-06.
Vancouver now heads out on the road for two games in the thin air of Colorado. Birarda's squad will face the Real Colorado Cougars on Wednesday and then square off with the Fort Collins Force on Friday.
The Legends are coached by Azusa Pacific University head man Jason Surrell and feature seven players from that NAIA squad. The women's Whitecaps are made up largely of Canada's under-20 national team this season.
© The Vancouver Province 2008