Gbeke leads the Whitecaps over Islanders again

By BOB MACKIN The Buzz: Vancouver Whitecaps’ striker Charles Gbeke did it again, scoring the game-winning goal to send the Puerto Rico Islanders out of Swangard Stadium with a United Soccer Leagues’ First Division loss. Rematch: Gbeke’s 82nd minute goal, his first of 2009, gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 win and sole possession of first place on a drizzly Sunday night. Gbeke also had both goals in last October’s 2-1 league final victory over the visiting Islanders. Charles chats: “Thanks to my wife, she arrived yesterday (from Brazil) and I scored today,” Gbeke said. “The coach said today maybe it’s going to take 80, 90 minutes to score that goal.” Gbeke gabs: “It was a relief for me, it was getting tough there, I had a big weight on my shoulders,” said Gbeke, who scored five goals in 2008 after a midseason trade from the Montreal Impact. Thor thoughts: “I said to him, I have been a striker myself, been in similar situations. I said to him slow down, and do what we are expecting from you and the goals will come,” said head coach Teitur Thordarson. Early threat: Striker Marlon James nearly scored in the eighth minute when he received a Gbeke cross deep in the Puerto Rico penalty area. Gbeke’s graceful header in the 20th minute on a long cross was nudged aside by Islander Bill Gaudette, the 2008 USL goalkeeper of the year. Costly win: James, who was USL player of the week for a hat-trick in his first Whitecaps’ start eight days ago, injured his hamstring in the 36th minute. Thordarson said he could be gone three to six weeks. Vic and Wes: Thordarson applauded sophomore midfielder Vicente Arze and rookie defender Wes Knight for their two-way play. Knight’s cross set-up Gbeke’s goal. Orange tromped: Puerto Rico, the “orange troupe,” managed just three shots on Whitecaps’ goalkeeper Jay Nolly, who earned his third shutout in six 2009 games. One came from Nick Addlery, a 2008 Whitecap. Gbeke had three of the Caps’ nine shots on Gaudette. Top of the table: The 3-1-2 Whitecaps vaulted from fifth place into first with 11 points, one ahead of the Carolina RailHawks and Rochester Rhinos. The Rhinos are Vancouver’s next opponent on May 16 at Swangard.