Vancouver 2 Atlanta 0. Martin's magical moves lead to winner
Lyle Martin showed he can star for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Then he showed he can dance with the stars.
Martin, the affable and energetic 23-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif., scored a memorable first career goal to put the home side ahead in the 35th minute, then raced to centre and did a lengthy shimmy-shake worthy of a phone call from ABC.
It was a fitting sight on a night when the Whitecaps danced all over the Atlanta Silverbacks, a 2-0 victory that flattered the ailing visitors in front of 4,621 fans at Swangard Stadium.
"I tried to celebrate a little bit for you guys -- the B-Town Shake, that's for everybody back in Bakersfield," said Martin, who ripped in a left-footed strike from 15 feet after a neat fake crossed up his defender. Wesley Charles started the play from the Caps' side of midfield and Eduardo Sebrango flicked the ball on to Martin.
It was the first goal in 47 career games for the speedy Martin, who recently missed six games with a hamstring injury and has started at outside right mid the last three.
"Finally," he said. "Two seasons, and I finally got one goal."
Sebrango -- who else? -- added insurance in minute 69, chesting down Vicente Arze's ball into the box, then turning and hammering his 11th goal left-footed into the near-side top corner. The jovial Cuban said he was almost inspired by Martin's dance, but decided he's holding off on salsa celebrations.
"Hip hop, anybody can dance that," he joked. "No, he's a good dancer. It's funny because I was thinking today before the game I should have some dancing going on if I score, but maybe I'll wait for the playoffs to show off."
Vancouver is hoping for the first-round bye that goes with winning the league. The win lifted the Caps (13-6-6) past the Puerto Rico Islanders (13-6-5) and into first in USL-1 with five games left.
Puerto Rico is at third-place Charleston on Friday, then hosts Vancouver back-to-back on
Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, two games that could well determine the regular-season title.
"Hopefully we can keep on this run on the road trip and pick up some points," said midfielder Martin Nash. "we think we have a chance to win the league, and from there, win a championship."
© The Vancouver Province 2008