VANCOUVER, BC – As they’ve done so often this season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-7L-6D) walked away from BC Place with an important three points Saturday on the strength of some more heroics from in-form strikers Kenny Miller and Camilo Sanvezzo.
Highlights: Whitecaps FC 2 - 0 San Jose Earthquakes
The crafty Brazilian jumped back into a tie atop the MLS Golden Boot race with his 14th goal of the season as the ‘Caps returned to the win column with a 2-0 victory over San Jose Earthquakes (8W-10L-6D).
Midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker also turned in one of his most dominant performances of the season, setting up both goals and earning Budweiser Man of the Match honours.
With the victory, Whitecaps FC put an end to San Jose’s three-match win streak and snapped a three-match winless spell of their own.
The Blue and White also jumped into second-place in the crowded Western Conference and created a six-point cushion over the eighth-place Quakes.
After serving his one-match suspension, midfielder Gershon Koffie returned to Martin Rennie’s starting XI – this time in a holding role to replace injured defender Brad Rusin. Miller, whose strained right adductor kept him on the sidelines during last weekend’s 1-1 draw in Portland, also drew back into the lineup, taking the place of rookie winger Kekuta Manneh.
Meanwhile, Danish 'keeper David Ousted earned his second straight start and made five saves en route to his first MLS victory – and clean sheet. It was also his first appearance at BC Place.
It was a tale of two halves Saturday with the opening frame seeing little of any action before the two sides started trading chances after the break.
Both sides seemed wary of surrendering the always-important opening goal in the opening 45 minutes. Vancouver enjoyed several extended spells of possession, but simply couldn’t crack the stingy ‘Quakes back line.
They came close in the seventh minute, however, when a lively Russell Teibert earned a free kick after getting hauled down by 'Quakes defender Clarence Goodson.
On his strong side, Camilo stepped up to the ball five yards from touch and curled in a dangerous cross to the near post, which Miller flicked on just over the goal.
The Scottish international had another opportunity in the 27th minute when a long-distance Teibert strike opportunistically landed at his foot at the top of the box. Miller turned and fired but it was no trouble for Quakes keeper Jon Busch.
San Jose’s only real chance of the first half came in the 39th minute, when midfielder Cordell Cato blasted a low right-footed shot from about 16 yards.
The Trinidadian’s strike deflected off fullback Jordan Harvey and flew between the legs of defender Johnny Leveron but Ousted brought the crowd to its feet with a miraculous sprawling save to keep matters scoreless.
Looking to break the deadlock, both sides came out looking far more energized in the second half. As expected, opposing strikers Camilo and Chris Wondolowski were in the middle of the action.
After two half-chances from the Brazilian striker, Wondolowski came within inches of opening the scoring in the 55th minute. In the build-up, Goodson headed a Quakes free kick across the goalmouth to the reigning MLS Most Valuable Player, but Reo-Coker was there to make a heroic goal-line clearance.
The Englishman was at it again just a few minutes later – this time, at the other end of the pitch – helping the ‘Caps break through with a brilliant run capped off with a clinical left-footed finish from Camilo.
After picking up the ball on his own side of centre, Reo-Coker blew by no less than two defenders with a powerful run down the right flank and sent in a perfect low cross to Camilo, whose sliding first-time strike eluded a sprawling Busch to give the ‘Caps a 1-0 lead.
The Blue and White added an insurance marker 10 minutes later and the Budweiser Man of the Match was involved again.
Camilo started the play by making a terrific switch across the field to Teibert before the Canadian played a nifty pass to a streaking Reo-Coker at the top of the box. The Englishman then whiffed on his first-time effort, but fortunately, the ball fell to a wide-open Miller inside the area and the 33-year-old striker made no mistake, burying his seventh goal of the season.
The Scotsman departed soon after the match as he gets set to represent his home nation in a highly-anticipated friendly against England August 14 at Wembley Stadium.
The goal was Vancouver’s 36th of the season, which sets a new club record in MLS.
San Jose manufactured a decent pushback in the dying stages of the match, but it was not to be as the ‘Caps held on to claim their 10th win of the season.
The victory was Vancouver’s eighth at home this season – more than any other Major League Soccer side. It also ties the club record set during the 2012 campaign.
With an important three points in their back pocket, the ‘Caps will be looking to continue their climb up the table a week from today when they visit the surging Colorado Rapids in another important Western Conference showdown.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Nigel Reo-Coker
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Match Night Sponsor: BC Hydro
60' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo (Nigel Reo-Coker)
74' - VAN - Kenny Miller (Nigel Reo-Coker, Russell Teibert)
Shots: Vancouver 11 - San Jose 19
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 4 - San Jose 7
Fouls: Vancouver 17 - San Jose 8
Offsides: Vancouver 2 - San Jose 2
Corners: Vancouver 3 - San Jose 5
6' - SJ - Clarence Goodson
28' - SJ - Rafael Baca
61' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
75' - VAN - Russell Teibert
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
22.David Ousted; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 24.Carlyle Mitchell, 16.Johnny Leveron, 2.Jordan Harvey; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker, 28.Gershon Koffie, 14.Daigo Kobayashi (8.Matt Watson 74'); 31.Russell Teibert, 7.Camilo Sanvezzo, 9.Kenny Miller (29.Tommy Heinemann 86')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 19.Erik Hurtado, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 40.Andy O'Brien
San Jose Earthquakes
18.Jon Busch, 33.Steven Beitashour, 44.Clarence Goodson, 26.Victor Bernardez, 22.Jordan Stewart; 7.Cordell Cato (19.Jaime Alas 76'), 4.Sam Cronin, 30.Rafael Baca (14.Adam Jahn 90'), 6.Shea Salinas; 8.Chris Wondolowski, 16.Steven Lenhart (24.Alan Gordon 67')
Substitutes not used: 1.David Bingham, 11.Mehdi Ballouchy, 15.Justin Morrow, 21.Jason Hernandez