BURNABY, BC (BCSB) - Lookout y'all, the B-Town Shake is here! With an upcoming two-game showdown with Puerto Rico, likely to settle this season's USL-1 champion, Lyle Martin and his teammates played like they had something to prove as they completely dominated Atlanta from start to finish for a comfortable 2-0 win on a cool but perfect night for soccer at Swangard Stadium.
The B-Town Shake (the B stands for Bakersfield) is the name Martin gave to his highly entertaining celebratory dance after his spectacular goal in the 35th minute to open the scoring.
After a long ball by defender Wesley Charles was flicked on to Martin by Eduardo Sebrango, the Bakersfield, California native executed a great little shimmy to fake out the Atlanta defender before unleashing an unstoppable left-footer into the top corner. If the goal wasn't exhilarating enough, Martin's post-goal B-Town Shake afterwards brought the house down. It was the newly converted winger’s first goal in a Whitecaps uniform and we hope not the last for entertainment value.
The Silverbacks are a struggling team on the road and it showed. They produced very little in terms of offensive threat and were unable to get past the strong presence of former Silverback Omar Jarun, who looked to be a man on a mission during tonight's game by winning every header in his own end as well as coming agonizingly close at the other end when pushing up on corner kicks.
And although the visitors were missing a few key players, make no mistake that last night's victory was a comprehensive team effort from the ‘Caps. Manager Teitur Thornadsson does not try to conceal his strategy: attack from the wings and get those crosses in. And with the likes of Martin, Valente, along with substitutes Moose and Arze – both impressive in the second half - the 'Caps are stacked on both flanks heading into the final stretch of the season and the playoffs.
El Fiable - Eduardo Sebrango - claimed his 11th goal of the season in the 67th minute when he chested down a clever near post chip from Arze and then volleyed a thunderous strike from close in that first went off Silverback keeper Felipe Quintero's hand and then off the bottom of the crossbar before bouncing in.
The 2-0 score line remains rather flattering for the visitors considering how many more chances the home side created. Martin Nash let go of a vicious long-range volley that beat the keeper but wound up hitting the side of the post.
Many on hand thought recent reserve call up Randy Edwini-Bonsu had scored his first goal in the dying moments of the game but his shot mischievously bulged the side netting instead of the net itself. Finally, while on the counter attack, Justin Moose had plenty of time to pick his spot when he was in all alone but his right-footed effort curled just wide of the far post.
All in all, the players and the fans left Swangard feeling positive about their team's chances to win the league as well as the playoffs.
Barring any injuries, the ‘Caps have the depth, the coaching and the potential to go all the way. On that note, 6’ 2” St. Vincent and Grenadine defender Wesley Charles was carried off on a stretcher with an apparent pulled muscle in his thigh, sidelining him for at least 2-3 weeks. Other than that, Vancouver has a relatively healthy squad.
The Whitecaps will next travel to Puerto Rico where they will play two games away to the Islanders, with a 5 day layoff between games. The back-to-back games are likely to decide this year’s USL-1 League champion as Vancouver holds a slim one point lead – having also played one more game than the Islanders - as they prepare to fly to the Caribbean. When asked what he would do during the break between games, Lyle Martin joked that he would “hit the beach, then hit the beach and then maybe, um, hit the beach”.
Man of the Match: Omar Jarun
Of course Lyle Martin gave us a fantastic goal and celebration but Jarun’s work cannot be left unnoticed. He who won every single header and intercepted many a through ball to ensure keeper Jay Nolly once again had very little to do in order to keep another clean sheet. Jarun also looked hungry for a goal when marauding into the visitor's box during corner kicks and set pieces.