Highlights: Vancouver 2 - 1 San Jose
VANCOUVER, BC - Playing their second home match of the week, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9W-6L-7D) claimed a valuable 2-1 victory over Major League Soccer leaders San Jose Earthquakes (13W-5L-4D) on Sunday afternoon.
Two recent additions led the Blue and White to their second league win of the season over the Western Conference frontrunners on Bell Pitch at BC Place. Dane Richards gave Vancouver the lead before the Earthquakes drew level through Alan Gordon. Whitecaps FC secured all three points with a second-half penalty from Barry Robson in front of 20,112 delighted supporters in downtown Vancouver.
The result ended Whitecaps FC’s four-match winless streak and took them up to third in the Western Conference standings, though fourth-place Seattle Sounders FC have two games in hand on their Pacific Northwest rivals.
True to the competitive nature of these all-conference contests, it was an even first half from both sides, with Whitecaps FC making the brighter start. Darren Mattocks nearly got on the end of two Young-Pyo Lee’s crosses, while Robson and Camilo Sanvezzo struck shots wide of the target.
There was good passing and movement from the ‘Caps in the early stages, and it resulted in the game’s first goal on 20 minutes. Lee’s superb through ball to Richards allowed the speedy Jamaican to break in off the right flank and beat Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch from a tight angle for a 1-0 ‘Caps lead. It was the winger’s first goal for Vancouver and second of the season following his move from New York Red Bulls.
Despite another positive start by the home side, San Jose’s determination to get back into the match was immediate, with top scorer Chris Wondolowski and Englishman Simon Dawkins threatening the Whitecaps FC goal after falling behind.
The Earthquakes restored parity on 38 minutes, as Gordon headed home his ninth goal of the season at close range after Marvin Chavez played in a fine cross from the left to make it 1-1 at the break.
The second half proved another well-contested period of play, with Whitecaps FC making the decisive breakthrough in the end. Dawkins and Gordon had chances for San Jose, while Mattocks and Richards created several opportunities for Vancouver after the break.
The key moment of the contest came just after the hour mark, as Whitecaps FC earned their first penalty of the season after Camilo was taken down in the San Jose box by Earthquakes midfielder San Cronin. It was Robson that stepped up and drilled his spot kick past Busch for his second Whitecaps FC goal in as many matches on 62 minutes.
With their advantage restored, Whitecaps FC were made to defend for much of the latter stages, as San Jose applied plenty of pressure. However, efforts from Victor Bernardez, substitute Sercan Guvenisik, and Cronin proved unsuccessful for the Earthquakes.
There was also time for Whitecaps FC’s new Designated Player Kenny Miller to make his MLS debut on Sunday, as he came on for the impressive Mattocks on 78 minutes. The Scottish international’s experience helped his new club see out a nervy last few minutes and claim a crucial home win.
Whitecaps FC will now turn their attentions to closing the gap between themselves and second-place Western Conference club Real Salt Lake when they visit the Utah-based outfit next Friday night. The match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, is the first of three regular season meetings between the ‘Caps and RSL this season.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Dane Richards
Referee: Jair Marrufo
20' - VAN - Dane Richards (Young-Pyo Lee)
38' - SJ - Alan Gordon (Marvin Chavez)
62' - VAN - Barry Robson (penalty)
Shots: Vancouver 9 – San Jose 18
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 – San Jose 3
Saves: Vancouver 2 – San Jose 1
Fouls: Vancouver 17 – San Jose 15
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – San Jose 2
Corners: Vancouver 3 – San Jose 3
11’ - VAN – Martin Bonjour
12’ – VAN – Barry Robson
32’ – SJ – Steven Beitashour
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1. Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 15.Martin Bonjour, 6.Jay DeMerit, 4.Alain Rochat; 28.Gershon Koffie, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 14.Barry Robson; 20.Dane Richards, 22.Darren Mattocks (7.Kenny Miller 78'), 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (3.Jordan Harvey 85')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 9.Atiba Harris, 16.Matt Watson, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 31.Russell Teibert
San Jose Earthquakes
18.Jon Busch; 33.Steven Beitashour, 26.Victor Bernardez, 21.Jason Hernandez, 15.Justin Morrow; 81.Marvin Chavez (6.Shea Salinas 64'), 4.Sam Cronin, 30.Rafael Baca (9.Sercan Guvenisik 82'), 10.Simon Dawkins; 8.Chris Wondolowski, 16.Alan Gordon
Substitutes not used: 1.David Bingham, 7.Khari Stephenson, 27.Cesar Diaz Pizarro, 28.Jed Zayner, 55.Ike Opara