Home side loves ugly ending to night of pretty goals
Vancouver Whitecaps fans got to see some flash and some crash Sunday night.
The Whitecaps beat the Atlanta Silverbacks 3-2 in an fast-paced, firewagon-soccer tilt before a crowd of 4,689 at Swangard Stadium.
The first four goals were of the highlight-reel variety. The winner, in the 88th minute, was pure grit, as Whitecap Geordie Lyall bumped Atlanta goalkeeper Felipe Quintero trying to corral a corner kick and Eddy Sebrango slotted home the loose ball in the scramble.
Quintero and other Silverbacks chased after referee Carol Anne Chenard immediately but to no avail. Quintero also stormed after the officials as they were leaving the pitch, but, instead of saying something, merely shook his head and tugged at his jersey.
Atlanta coach Jason Smith could only shrug his shoulders after the game. Either way, those on hand in the stands went home with plenty to talk about.
With Sebrango's sixth winner of the USL First Division campaign, Vancouver (11-6-4) also moves into a tie with Puerto Rico Islanders (11-6-4) for top spot in the league.
"I'll have to see video to be sure ... I thought he had his hands on it," said Smith, who saw his team move to 8-6-7. "I wasn't going to say anything to her at the end. I'll have to see the video.
"You have to trust them to make the decisions. I couldn't tell if it was a good one or a bad one. It looked to me like he had caught the ball. You can't fault them; they have to go for the ball.
"If we had done the same, we would have been running back and celebrating as well."
For his part, Vancouver captain Jeff Clarke didn't deny the call could have gone differently.
"We've been on the other side...they all equal out," said Clarke, who played in the midfield yesterday after spending much of the year on the backline. "A lot of their guys were annoyed initially, but I think some of their veteran guys realized that they've had their fair share [of calls] at home."
Clarke tied the game up at 1-1 in the 25th minute, deftly left-footing home a feed from forward Jason Jordan after Quintero did his best impression of former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ron Hextall and roamed far out of his net to cut down Jordan's angle.
Atlanta midfielder Ansu Toure sandwiched two picturesque goals around Clarke's tally. Toure rocketed home a shot off the crossbar from about 18 yards in the 20th minute to open the scoring.
He gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead in the 38th minute, neatly chipping a shot over Jay Nolly from in tight. If Toure had any more time on the marker, he might have been able to finalize the Whitecaps' waterfront stadium.
Vancouver started the game young, going with 21-year-old rookie defender Mason Trafford and 20-year-old midfielder Admir Salihovic off the kick-off. That was due to a yellow-card suspension for midfielder Steve Kindel and the fact defenders Lyall and Lyle Martin aren't healthy enough yet to start again.
Both came on late. It was the first appearance of the season for 10-year veteran Lyall, thanks to both back and hamstring trouble.
He came on just before Sebrango tied it up at 2-2 by pouncing on a loose ball after Quintero had stoned Charles Gbeke on a breakaway in the 72nd minute. And it looked like he had scored the winner after colliding with Quintero, but he admitted afterwards that it was Sebrango 10th tally of the season.
"It's obviously a great feeling to get to run around again," said Lyall. "I've spent way too many games sitting in those blue seats up there."
© The Vancouver Province 2008