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Bob Frid

Battling defensive display earns 'Caps win in tight encounter

After conceding six goals in their previous two matches, a clean sheet was just what the doctor ordered for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday at BC Place was also their fifth shutout of 2012.

Camilo Sanvezzo, back from a quadriceps injury, made his first start of the month and scored a classy effort — which turned out to be the game-winner — past Chris Seitz in the 11th minute. From then on, however, it was backs-to-the-wall defending, as Vancouver allowed Dallas to maintain possession – 56.9 per cent of it – but managed to keep Brek Shea and the Hoops attack at bay.

GOAL: Camilo’s curler gives ‘Caps lead

“It was a tight game, and that lends itself to a physical game,” goalkeeper Joe Cannon told MLSsoccer.com following the match. “There’s that battle in there – the ref let it play a bit, so it was nice to have a physical and flowing game. There wasn’t too many set-pieces or free kicks to slow things down.”

FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman went out of his way to criticize Vancouver’s physical style of play during his post-match press conference, referencing the ankle injury David Ferreira suffered during a sliding collision with then Whitecaps fullback Jonathan Leathers last season.

“I think they’re a much better team, but I don’t like the way they play,” Hyndman said. “I think they’re still very physical. If you remember last year, almost to the date, the MVP of the league is taken out here (in Vancouver) and he’s still not on the field.”

That physicality went both ways though, as Martin Bonjour and Blas Perez, in particular, were at each other all night, battling in the air and on the turf. The Argentine defender sported a highly noticeable large scratch in the Vancouver locker room post-match, which he said he received during a duel with Perez.

“It’s part of the game,” Bonjour said through a translating teammate. Coming out on top in that battle was also a boost for the player, given his own-goal against Sporting Kansas City in Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat.

“I wasn’t happy with my game, with (his involvement) in the second and third goals,” Bonjour said. “But, I was just happy to play after three days and play a good game. I know I didn’t play well on Wednesday and I just wanted to play well and focus on my job.”


Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.