By Ian Walker
The Vancouver Whitecaps are averaging at least two goals a game with Marlon James in the lineup compared to one goal without him.
It's a pretty heady stat. Even more dizzying is the gifted striker finds himself tied for the United Soccer Leagues First Division scoring lead despite missing most of the first half of the season to injury. His two-goal effort in the Whitecaps 3-1 road victory over the Rochester Rhinos on Friday gave the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international eight goals in just nine games. That's almost half of the 17 matches it's taken the Rhinos' Johnny Menyongar to accumulate the same tally.
James scored just before halftime to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead at the break then added the eventual game-winner in the 60th minute for his second consecutive two-goal game.
Rookie Tyrell Burgess had an assist and added an insurance marker in the 69th minute, shortly after the Rhinos' Tiger Fitzpatrick had brought the home team within one.
Former Whitecap Steve Kindel made his first start with his new club and set up a good chance early, but his cross was headed wide.
The win was just the Whitecaps' second away from Swangard Stadium this year and marked the team's first regular season vicory in Rochester since Aug. 7, 1996. Vancouver improved to 7-7-3 for a tie for sixth in the 11-team loop. The Whitecaps look to extend their win streak to three games today against the Cleveland City Stars.
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