VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9W-5L-5D) continued their impressive form in front of 20,206 fans at BC Place on Sunday as they saw off Chicago Fire (6W-9L-3D) with a comfortable 3-1 win.
Highlights: Whitecaps FC 3 - 1 Chicago Fire
Camilo scored a quick brace in the second half with substitute Kekuta Manneh adding a third. Whitecaps FC looked on course for a second successive clean sheet as well until Chicago pulled a goal back in added time. The victory brings their unbeaten streak to six matches and keeps the 'Caps as the only remaining undefeated team at home in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Head coach Martin Rennie named the same starting lineup that sealed the historic win against Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC last weekend. There was a change on the bench though for Vancouver as Danish goalkeeper David Ousted was named as a substitute for the first time following his move from Randers FC.
There was some early action for Brad Knighton as the reigning MLS Player of the Week had to make a close-range save from Chris Rolfe in the second minute after Mike Magee pumped the ball into the Whitecaps FC box.
Chicago came even closer on 10 minutes when the referee awarded the Fire a dubious looking corner. Magee drilled the ball to the front post where Jeff Larentowicz met the delivery with a downward header, but the in-form Knighton managed to smother the chance with another fine stop.
A sensational opener came close on 41 minutes when a ball forward from Knighton was headed on by Chicago defender Austin Berry and landed perfectly for Kenny Miller. The Scottish striker struck a sweet left-footed volley from 25 yards that sailed agonizingly wide of the goal.
Pressing forward, there was another chance two minutes later when some tenacious play from Miller resulted in a throw-in for Whitecaps FC. Corey Hertzog launched the ball into the box where Berry again headed the ball on favourably for Vancouver as the ball fell to Camilo in front on goal, but the Brazilian lofted his shot over the bar as the teams went in level at the break, 0-0.
Clearly motivated to keep their home unbeaten record intact, the 'Caps came out flying in the second half. They nearly had the perfect start with some good link up play on the right on 47 minutes. Young-Pyo Lee played the ball in to Gershon Koffie and the midfielder marauded forward before laying it off to Miller. From outside the box, the striker caressed a sublime curling effort that looked to be heading in but rebounded off the inside of the post before being cleared to safety.
There was a clearer sight on goal for Miller on 52 minutes when Camilo delivered a searching ball in from the right that found the Scot at the back post. However, a missed swing from Austin Berry was enough to distract Miller as his contact on the ball was not enough to tap into the gaping net.
Despite Vancouver’s dominance after halftime, it was Chicago who next had an opportunity when on 56 minutes they broke quickly. Magee floated a ball into the box that found Rolfe free at the back post. However, with an open chance, Rolfe could not direct his header on goal.
Chicago came close again on the hour when Magee cut in from the right and fired off a speculative effort from well outside the box that went narrowly wide. There was a sense of déjà vu when a minute later the striker found space outside the area and again fired just wide with his weaker left foot.
Vancouver looked to gain momentum once again and almost scored on 63 minutes when Nigel Reo-Coker played in Lee and the fullback struck a low shot towards the far post that was only kept out by a smart save from Fire 'keeper Paolo Tornaghi.
On 66 minutes, Whitecaps FC finally got the goal that their second half efforts deserved. The play began when Knighton launched the ball forward for Camilo. The striker then controlled the high ball, cleverly poked past Rolfe and Shaun Francis. Once in the box, the Brazilian turned Francis again before finishing past Tornaghi for the opening goal.
Five minutes later, Vancouver doubled their lead when substitute Manneh played the ball through the Fire defence for the onrushing Camilo. The Brazilian looked to have lost the chance when he was dispossessed by Tornaghi, but he won back the ball and finished under the Chicago 'keeper for his second of the afternoon - bringing him to the top of the MLS goalscoring race with 12 goals on the season, which also matches his 2011 total.
Chicago still had some fight in them and almost got a foot back into the match on 76 minutes when a cross was headed back across the box by Maicon Santos to Magee. The striker struck a fierce close-range shot that was kept out by a lunging block from Brad Rusin to prevent an almost certain goal.
With a hat-trick in his sights, there was almost another goal for Camilo with 10 minutes remaining when Reo-Coker played the ball wide for Miller to drive in a cross from the right. Camilo got on the end of the cross but his scuffed effort was saved comfortably by Tornaghi.
Whitecaps FC sealed the win on 83 minutes after some persistent play from Manneh as he looked to make space for a cross from the left. His initial delivery was blocked but just when it looked like he would play the ball across again, the young rookie fired a low shot into the near corner for Vancouver’s third goal.
Despite the commanding lead, there was still work to do for Knighton when on 89 minutes Magee again tried his luck from outside the box but the 'keeper kept out the strike with a strong save.
The 'Caps were eventually beaten in the fourth minute of added time when Fire substitute Joel Lindpere crossed to Maicon Santos, whose header struck the post. The ball fell again to Lindpere and the Estonian swung in a second cross that this time was headed in by Patrick Nyarko to make the final score 3-1 to Whitecaps FC.
After adding two goals to his MLS-leading tally, Camilo was awarded the Budweiser Man of the Match award.
Next up for the in-form Blue and White is a trip to California to take on two-time defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy. Kickoff next Saturday, July 20, is at 7:30 p.m. PT at the StubHub Center.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Camilo
Referee: Allen Chapman
Match sponsor: Tim Hortons
66' - VAN - Camilo (Brad Knighton)
71' - VAN - Camilo
84' - VAN - Kekuta Manneh
90'+4 - CHI Patrick Nyarko (Joel Lindpere)
Shots: Vancouver 19 - Chicago 25
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 - Chicago 5
Saves: Vancouver 4 - Chicago 4
Fouls: Vancouver 5 - Chicago 7
Offsides: Vancouver 2 - Chicago 0
Corners: Vancouver 9 - Chicago 7
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 3.Brad Rusin, 16.Johnny Leveron, 2.Jordan Harvey; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker (14.Daigo Kobayashi 90'), 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 28.Gershon Koffie; 26.Corey Hertzog (23.Kekuta Manneh 62'), 7.Camilo Sanvezzo (11.Darren Mattocks 88'), 9.Kenny Miller ©
Substitutes not used: 22.David Ousted, 8.Matt Watson, 29.Tommy Heinemann, 32.Greg Klazura
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 6.Jalil Anibaba, 22.Austin Berry, 4.Bakary Soumare, 28.Shaun Francis; 14.Patrick Nyarko, 20.Jeff Larentowicz ©, 71.Alex (26.Joel Lindpere 60'), 8.Dilly Duka (29.Maicon Santos 74'); 17.Chris Rolfe (24.Quincy Amarikwa 67'), 9.Mike Magee
Substitutes not used: 1.Alec Kann; 3.Hunter Jumper, 21.Michael Videira, 7.Sherjill MacDonald