CARSON, CA - An unlucky break in the first half set the tone for a second loss on the season for Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-0D), as the 'Caps fell 2-1 to Chivas USA (4W-1L-1D) at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Highlights: Chivas USA 2-1 Whitecaps FC
Kenny Miller pulled one back for the Blue and White as they attempted a valiant comeback, but it wasn't enough to overcome a first-half own goal from Jun Marques Davidson and a second-half volley from Eric Avila.
Having been away on international duty with Scotland, Miller started the game on the bench whilst head coach Martin Rennie shuffled his pack up front with Camilo taking the place of rookie winger Erik Hurtado in the starting lineup.
After a quiet start to the match, Chivas opened the scoring on 11 minutes as Carlos Alvarez looked to deliver a ball from the left which hit Jun Marques Davidson and spun past Joe Cannon in the 'Caps goal.
Chivas had an opportunity to double their lead after 21 minutes when Juan Agudelo received the ball on the edge of the area and, despite pressure from the Whitecaps defence, the young American played through teammate Eric Avila whose first time shot hit the side-netting.
Two minutes later, Whitecaps FC got their first clear sight of goal as Alain Rochat struck a long shot from the left flank that was too hot to handle for Chivas ‘keeper Dan Kennedy, but with the goal gaping Daigo Kobayashi could only see his follow-up effort clear the bar.
Vancouver continued to press for a goal and on 35 minutes Camilo found space on the left side of the box as the Brazilian cut inside before curling a shot just past the far post.
Two minutes later Darren Mattocks won a corner for Whitecaps FC. Kobayashi swung the ball into the box and the cross was met by Brad Rusin who aimed for the far post but couldn’t get enough power on the header as Kennedy collected the ball easily. Vancouver maintained the pressure and a minute later Mattocks created space outside the area but shot narrowly wide as Whitecaps FC went into the break a goal down.
Chivas almost made a perfect start to the second half as a dangerous cross from the right was fired just wide from Bowen to let Vancouver off the hook on 50 minutes.
Five minutes later, after some pressure from Whitecaps FC, Chivas made a break and from a deep cross from the left by Jorge Villafana, Avila struck a first-time volley across Cannon to double the Goats’ lead.
The lead was cut in half by the 'Caps on 64 minutes as Hurtado took on the left back and after cutting in fired a shot towards the far post. Kennedy palmed the ball away but only as far as substitute Miller, who finished with a diving header to make the score 2-1.
Mattocks almost grabbed an equalizer on 80 minutes as Miller floated a ball over the Chivas defence for the Jamaican to run onto. The speedy striker then lifted the ball over the onrushing Kennedy, but too far as it landed agonizingly on top of the net.
On 90 minutes there was a final chance for Whitecaps FC as Miller played through substitute Kekuta Manneh who raced through on goal. The rookie took a heavy touch before poking an effort wide as he was clipped by the onrushing Kennedy. Chivas USA held on to the 2-1 victory as Vancouver lost their second straight match away from home.
“I think after we lost the first goal we played well and we had a couple of good chances," add Rennie. "To come out of it with a defeat is very frustrating, but it is something we can learn and build from. We need to do that correctly. We have a lot of talent and good players – that is evident. The game is about scoring goals and making sure you put a goal in the net and of course making sure that the other team does not.”
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a third straight road trip as they travel to California to take on San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff at Buck Shaw Stadium is 7:30 p.m. PT next Saturday, April 6.
Shots on Goal: Chivas USA 7 - Vancouver 6
Saves: Chivas USA 5 - Vancouver 6
Offsides: Chivas USA 3 - Vancouver 0