VANCOUVER, BC – In the build-up to Saturday’s match, Carl Robinson said his young group needed to be up for a fight against the defending champion Portland Timbers (3W-4L-3D).
Safe to say the message was received. Loud and clear.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-5L-2D) put in a dominating performance in a 2-1 victory over their Cascadia rivals on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,120 at BC Place.
- Robinson: "The intensity, effort, and application was spot on"
- Post-match press conference: Fraser Aird and Christian Bolaños
- Must see: Kudo celebrates first MLS goal
After Nat Borchers opened the scoring for Portland in the 34th minute, the ‘Caps scored twice in the second half to complete their first comeback win since September 2014.
Japanese striker Masato Kudo scored his first MLS goal and added an assist a day after his 26th birthday, while Costa Rican midfielder Christian Bolaños extended his goalscoring streak to three matches in a game that saw Vancouver outshoot Portland 26-9.
This one was all Vancouver from the opening whistle.
In the first half alone, they outshot Portland 11-3, controlled 56 per cent of possession, and played some attractive stuff going forward. Bolaños and Nicolas Mezquida were particularly lively with their link-up play and one-touch passing. Mezquida had a team-high three shots in the first half, forcing Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson into a pair of highlight reel saves.
The ‘Caps were firing on all cylinders.
Pedro Morales put in shift defensively next to Matias Laba. Centre backs Tim Parker and Kendall Waston each came close on headers – as did Cristian Techera.
And Kudo had a great chance himself.
Nine of Vancouver’s 10 outfield players had at least a shot.
It may have been their best half of the season, but they entered the break down a goal after Borchers scored against the run of play in the 34th minute. It was a well-taken goal from the Timbers – Fanendo Adi released Darlington Nagbe into the box with a nice back-heel, and Nagbe then found Borchers at the back post.
To their credit, the ‘Caps kept coming early in the second half.
And they finally drew the game level at the hour-mark, when Kudo beat Gleeson from a tight angle with his left foot. Just six minutes later, Vancouver took the lead on a Bolaños cross from the top of the box that eluded a lunging Blas Pérez and trickled through the legs of Gleeson.
The Timbers keeper probably would have liked both goals back, but it was a deserving lead for the ‘Caps. Without question.
Both sides had their chances in the final 20 minutes, which made for an exciting – and nerve-wracking – conclusion to this Cascadia derby. In the 86th minute, Portland appeared to have a clear-cut breakaway but Morales did well to track back and disrupt the play just in the nick of time.
At the other end of the park, the ‘Caps kept peppering Gleeson – who ended up with 11 saves – until the final whistle en route to a much-needed 2-1 victory.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a tilt with Eastern Conference side Chicago Fire on Wednesday at BC Place. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and tickets are still available.
Vancouver's 26 shots on Saturday matched the highest total of any team in MLS this season. It was also Vancouver's third highest total since joining MLS in 2011.
HARVEY ALL THE TIME
Harvey made his 133rd MLS regular season appearance for Whitecaps FC today, which ties the club record currently held by Gershon Koffie. The 32-year-old fullback is already the club’s all-time MLS record holder in regular season starts with 123.
MCMILLAN ‘CAPS CORNER KICK DONATIONS
For every ‘Caps corner kick at home, McMillan donates $100 to the United Way. An additional $500 is donated for every goal scored off a corner kick. This match McMillan Corners for Kids has donated $1100 for a running total of $4800.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Christian Bolaños
Referee: Kevin Stott
34’ – POR – Nat Borchers (Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi)
60’ – VAN – Masato Kudo
66’ – VAN – Christian Bolaños (Masato Kudo)
Shots: Vancouver 26 – Portland 9
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 13 – Portland 5
Saves: Vancouver 4 – Portland 11
Fouls: Vancouver 15 – Portland 12
Offsides: Vancouver 6 – Portland 2
Corners: Vancouver 11 – Portland 5
11’ – VAN – Pedro Morales
16’ – VAN – Kendall Waston
69’ – VAN – Blas Pérez
70’ – POR – Darlington Nagbe
90’+2 – POR – Diego Chara
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 77.Pedro Morales, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Christian Bolaños, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (27.Blas Pérez 63’), 13.Cristian Techera (19.Erik Hurtado 90’); 9.Masato Kudo (29.Octavio Rivero 78’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 17.Andrew Jacobson, 31.Russell Teibert, 44.Pa-Modou Kah
90.Jake Gleeson; 16.Zarek Valentin, 7.Nat Borchers, 24.Liam Ridgewell, 15.Chris Klute (23.Jack Barmby 87’); 8.Diego Valeri, 21.Diego Chara, 6.Darlington Nagbe; 26.Lucas Melano, 9.Fanendo Adi, 22.Darren Mattocks (99.Jack McInerney 77’)
Substitutes not used
33.Wade Hamilton, 4.Jermaine Taylor, 10.Ned Grabavoy, 13.Jack Jewsbury, 14.Ben Zemanski