Whitecaps FC defeat Houston 3-0 to clinch home playoff game, bye to conference semis

VANCOUVER, BC – The 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs are coming to Vancouver.  

Vancouver Whitecaps FC (16W-13L-5D) booked their first-ever home playoff date with a convincing 3-0 win over Houston Dynamo (11W-14L-9D) in Sunday’s sold-out regular season finale at BC Place.

POST-MATCH
INTERVIEWS:
 

Kekuta Manneh, Kendall Waston and Robert Earnshaw each scored in the second half en route to a thrilling conclusion to the 2015 MLS regular season.

With the win, Whitecaps FC finish second in the Western Conference, which means they will avoid the Knockout Round and get a bye directly to the conference semifinals.

The first leg will begin next Sunday, November 1 on the road, and Whitecaps FC will host the second leg on Sunday, November 8.

Vancouver’s possible opponents are Seattle Sounders FC, Portland Timbers, and LA Galaxy.  

Pass the popcorn.

The ‘Caps came into the game knowing a win would clinch a home playoff date.

And you could sense the urgency in their game early on. Carl Robinson’s troops came out of the gates flying, creating three quality chances within the opening 15 minutes.

In the third minute, Cristian Techera picked off an errant back pass and sent a cross into Octavio Rivero, whose header was stopped a diving Joe Willis. Willis came up big again less than a minute later, this time denying a low Matias Laba strike from the top of the box.

And then in the 13th minute, Vancouver came within inches of opening the scoring when Techera blasted a powerful half-volley off the inside of the crossbar.

It was a bright start for the home side, but they had nothing to show for it.

Neither did Houston, whose only chances came off the foot of Giles Barnes. The Jamaican international had a pair of decent free kick opportunities as well as a heavy 20-yard strike that a diving David Ousted turned away late in the first half.

The second half started just as the first ended – with little space either way.

Manneh opens the scoring with a perfect strike into the bottom corner

But then, just before the hour mark, Manneh broke the deadlock with a perfect 25-yard strike into the bottom left corner. The goal was Manneh’s seventh of the season, a new career-high.

From there, the floodgates opened.

Waston added insurance in the 72nd minute, heading a Techera corner off a Houston defender and into the back of the net. Fittingly, the goal came exactly one year to the day that Waston headed the ‘Caps into the playoffs last season. The Costa Rican was also named the 2015 Whitecaps FC BMO Player of the Year earlier in the day.

Finally, Whitecaps FC added an exclamation mark in stoppage time when Earnshaw headed in a cross from fellow substitute Mauro Rosales to make it 3-0.

The victory capped off a historic season for Whitecaps FC, who won their first-ever Voyageurs Cup, set a new club record in points, and are now set to host their first-ever home playoff game.

And the best part? It's not over yet. 

NEWS AND NOTES

Sunday’s win brought Vancouver’s point total to 53 on the season, a new club record in MLS … The ‘Caps have now improved their point total every single season since joining MLS in 2011 … For the second straight year, Vancouver finished as the top Canadian team in the regular season, which means they will be the top seed in next year’s Amway Canadian Championship … Goalkeeper David Ousted recorded his 13th clean sheet of the season on Sunday, which is tied for the league-high. Whitecaps FC announced their year-end award winners today – Kendall Waston was voted as the 2015 BMO Player of the Year and Octavio Rivero took home the Golden Boot with 10 goals. 

MCMILLAN ‘CAPS CORNER KICK DONATIONS

For every ‘Caps corner kick at home, McMillan donates $100 to the United Way. An additional $500 is donated for every goal scored off a corner kick. This match McMillan Corners for Kids has donated $1,100. 

Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! 2016 Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

MATCH DETAILS

Budweiser Man of the Match:  Kendall Waston
Referee: Kevin Stott
Attendance: 21,000

Scoring Summary
59’ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Gershon Koffie, Matías Laba)
72’ – VAN – Kendall Waston (Cristian Techera)
90’ + 3’ – VAN – Robert Earnshaw (Mauro Rosales)

Stats
Shots: Vancouver 9 – Houston 10
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 6 – Houston 2
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Houston 3
Fouls: Vancouver 14 – Houston 7
Offsides: Vancouver 5 – Houston 4
Corners: Vancouver 6 – Houston 4

Cautions
52’ – HOU – Luis Garrido
83’ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 
1.David Ousted ©; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 13.Cristian Techera (7.Mauro Rosales 74’), 28.Gershon Koffie, 23.Kekuta Manneh (6.Jordan Smith 85’); 29.Octavio Rivero (88.Robert Earnshaw 90’+2’)

Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 9.Nicolas Mezquida, 20.Deybi Flores, 22.Christian Dean

Houston Dynamo
31.Joe Willis; 22.Sheanon Williams, 18.David Horst, 5.Raul Rodriguez, 7.DaMarcus Beasley; 33.Leonel Miranda (27.Boniek Garcia 63’), 8.Luis Garrido, 13.Ricardo Clark, 10.Giles Barnes © (3.Rob Lovejoy ‘89); 12.Will Bruin, 9.Erick Torres (19.Mauro Manotas 61’)

Substitutes not used
1.Tyler Deric, 14.Alex Lima, 20.Rasheed Olabiyi, 23.Taylor Hunter