VANCOUVER, BC – Those horns have never looked so good.
Blas Pérez scored his first two goals of the season, including an incredible bicycle kick, to lead Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-5L-2D) to a 2-1 win over Chicago Fire (1W-3L-4D) on Wednesday night at BC Place.
The Panamanian striker, who has a patented bull horn celebration in honour of his late father, opened his account in the 36th minute, finishing off a nice passing sequence between midfielders Christian Bolaños and Pedro Morales.
Then, after Kennedy Igboananike levelled the score, Perez hopped on his bike and banged in an 89th-minute wonder goal to seal the victory and send the crowd of 19,638 into absolute delirium.
'89 2-1. Blas Perez puts on his superman cape and bikes one in the final minute pic.twitter.com/ZmkvRNlK32— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) May 12, 2016
After dropping their season opener, the ‘Caps are now undefeated in six matches at BC Place.
The ‘Caps got the three points, but they didn’t seem as important on this night.
Early in the first half, Japanese striker Masato Kudo left with the match with a head injury after a heavy collision with Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson, which made for a scary scene at BC Place.
Fortunately, players and trainers from both sides were quick to respond.
Kudo was taken to Vancouver General Hospital for further evaluation. He was alert and aware.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson fielded an unchanged starting lineup after a dominating weekend win over defending MLS Cup champions Portland Timbers.
And much like Saturday’s contest, they did a great job keeping the ball, accumulating 65 per cent of possession in the first half. It wasn’t the all-out attack we saw against Portland, though Nicolas Mezquida was robbed from point-blank range in the 22nd-minute, but Vancouver still managed to open the scoring in the 36th minute.
Morales started the play with a pinpoint diagonal ball to Bolaños, who then found Pérez in the box with a cross from the right. The Panamanian, who replaced Kudo in the 19th minute, finished first-time to put Whitecaps FC ahead with his first goal of the season.
The ‘Caps looked quite comfortable for large spells of the first half, but Chicago had their chances. Three pretty good ones too, including an Igboananike breakaway. They couldn’t beat David Ousted, though, which gave Vancouver the advantage heading into the second half.
Chicago did eventually level the game in the 62nd minute through Igboananike, who fired a strike into the bottom right corner after some fancy footwork at the top of the box.
But that would not be the end of this one.
Not if Vancouver's three substitutes had anything to do with it.
In the 89th minute, Erik Hurtado found fellow substitute Kekuta Manneh in the box. His attempt was deflected in the direction of Pérez, who found the back of the net with a bicycle kick that will surely be a contender for MLS Goal of the Year.
The ‘Caps have now jumped back above the red line in the Western Conference with 17 points and a 5W-5L-2D record. Next up is a visit to Toronto FC at the newly renovated BMO Stadium this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT (TSN and TSN 1040 radio).
Wow no words after that goal !!!!! Great feeling getting the 3 points tonight, that was for u @masatokudo9 wishing u and speedy recovery— fraser aird (@FraserAird) May 12, 2016
With his yellow card in tonight's match, Whitecaps FC centre back Kendall Waston will miss Saturday's match vs. Toronto FC due to caution accumulation.
Harvey made his 134th MLS regular season appearance with Whitecaps FC tonight, which makes him the club’s new all-time leader in MLS.
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 $600 for a running total of $5400.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Blas Pérez
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
36’– VAN – Blas Pérez (Christian Bolaños, Pedro Morales)
62’– CHI – Kennedy Igboananike (Arturo Alvarez, Joey Calistri)
89’– VAN – Blas Pérez (Kekuta Manneh)
Possession: Vancouver 59.6% – Chicago 40.4%
Shots: Vancouver 17 – Chicago 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 12 – Chicago 3
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Chicago 9
Fouls: Vancouver 16 – Chicago 6
Offsides: Vancouver 0 – Chicago 1
Corners: Vancouver 6 – Chicago 3
82’- VAN- Kendall Waston
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 (23.Kekuta Manneh 66’), 13.Cristian Techera (19.Erik Hurtado 84’); 9.Masato Kudo (27.Blas Pérez 19’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 17.Andrew Jacobson, 31.Russell Teibert, 44.Pa-Modou Kah
28.Matt Lampson; 13.Rodrigo Ramos, 4.Johan Kappelhof, 16.Jonathan Campbell, 66.Joao Meira, 5.Michael Harrington (3.Brandon Vincent 63’); 12.Arturo Alvarez (17.Collin Fernandez 85’), 30.Razvan Cocis, 26.Michael Stephens (2.Matt Polster HT); 15.Joey Calistri, 77.Kennedy Igboananike
Substitutes not used
25.Sean Johnson, 21.Nick LaBrocca, 6.Eric Gehrig, 9.Gilberto
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