By Coloradoan staff and news services
VANCOUVER, Canada - The Vancouver Whitecaps scored three times in the first half Sunday, including two by former U.S. National Team star Tiffeny Milbrett, and went on to beat the Fort Collins Force 3-1.
The loss drops the Force to 3-5-3 (12 points) on the season, with one match to go Tuesday night against the Seattle Sounders.
The Whitecaps jumped out early with a goal in the 11th minute, when Karla Schacher finished off a through ball delivered from Milbrett. Milbrett posted the second goal with a penalty kick in the 39th minute. The penalty was given when Force defender Sally Cole was charged with bringing down Whitecaps midfielder Monica Lam-Feist in the box.
Milbrett finished off Vancouver's scoring in the 43rd minute when she took advantage of a mix-up in the Force's defensive end to beat Force keeper Emma Bailey.
"We started slow, which you just can't do when you're on the road against a strong side," said Force coach Craig Deacon. "By the time we could settle things down, we were down by three goals."
The Force managed a late goal in the 87th minute when Cayla Deacon laced a free kick past Whitecaps keeper Justine Bernier. Deacon took the free kick after Force midfield Sara Campbell drew a foul.
Statistics reported by the Whitecaps showed that Vancouver registered six shots on goal to none for the Force. Each side had one corner kick.
The Force took the pitch without a number of regulars, including center defensive back Carly Peetz, goalkeeper Kara Linder and striker Emmalie Pfankuch.
With the win the Whitecaps (6-2-3, 21 points) strengthen their hold on second place in the W-League's Western Conference. The Real Colorado Cougars (4-2-3, 15 points) are in third.