The Vancouver Whitecaps came into Wednesday night's game with the Charleston Battery as the best defensive team in the USL First Division.
The Whitecaps left Blackbaud Stadium with their reputation intact.
Jason Jordan and Nick Addlery each scored and Jay Nolly recorded the shutout as the Whitecaps blanked Charleston, 2-0, Wednesday night before a crowd of 2,763 at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Whitecaps improved to 5-2-1 (16 points), including a 3-0-1 mark on the road, with the victory. The Battery, which had their five-game win streak snapped, dropped to 5-2-2 (17 points), but remained in first place in the USL First Division despite the loss.
To date, the Whitecaps have not given up a goal in four road games this season and managed to keep the Battery, the league's top offensive team, off the scoreboard with a smothering defensive effort.
"Vancouver defended with 11 players most of the game and that makes it very difficult to score," said Charleston coach Mike Anhaeuser. "You can try and replicate what they do all week in training, but it's tough to do. There is a reason why they're the best defensive team in the league. They know how to defend on the road and how to defend with the lead."
It was Jordan's goal in the ninth minute that proved to be the difference in the game in more ways than one for the Battery.
"We gave up that early goal and that changed the whole complexion of the game," Anhaeuser said. "That goal gave them some life and put a bit of pressure on us. I think them getting that early goal made all the difference in the world. They were able to drop another guy back into the midfield and that took away some space for us in the middle of the field."
Veteran defender Nelson Akwari said the Battery might have been a little overconfident coming into the game.
"We didn't come out to play tonight," Akwari said. "We just thought we could show up on the field and win the game. That's not going to work against a team as good as Vancouver. We've got to play better as a team. We knew they were going to sit back and defend, so giving up that early goal really killed us.
"We've won five home games, so it's not like we've done anything special. You're supposed to win your home games. We've got eight games on the road in August, so you can't give up points at home early in the season."
After three straight shutouts, a team finally scored on the Battery when Jordan scored in the ninth minute. Dustin Moose took the ball to the 18-yard line and slid it to defender Lyle Martin, who had made an overlapping run from the back. Martin crossed the ball low, along the ground to Jordan, who chipped it past Charleston keeper Keith Wiggans for the score.
"It was just a sloppy goal," Akwari said. "We had some breakdowns in the back. There were a lot of things we could have done to stop that goal."
The Whitecaps extended their lead to 2-0 on Nick Addlery's goal in the 75th minute. On a perfect counterattack, midfielder Tony Donatelli stepped past a Charleston defender at midfield and slotted a through pass to Addlery, who ran onto the ball. Wiggans came out to challenge Addlery just inside the 18-yard box, but the Whitecaps striker moved to his right and blasted a shot across his body for the score.
Charleston had two chances to score in the final 10 minutes of the game, but Aaron King's header and Stephen Armstrong's shot couldn't find the mark.
"The last three home games those shots were going in for us," Anhaeuser said. "When you're on a winning streak those are the kinds of bounces and breaks you get, and when things are not going well those are the breaks that usually are going the other way."