Best for last: 'Caps defeat Timbers 4-1 to win Cascadia Cup

VANCOUVER, BC – Now that’s what you call ending on a high.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC put on an absolute show in their regular season finale on Sunday afternoon at BC Place, defeating rival Portland Timbers 4-1 in front of a crowd of 24,083. Not only did the win eliminate Portland from playoff contention – a reverse of fortunes from a year ago – it also helped Vancouver overturn the five-goal difference they needed to win the Cascadia Cup.

The ‘Caps certainly saved their best for last.

Budweiser Man of the Match Giles Barnes led the way for Whitecaps FC with a first-half brace – his first two goals in a ‘Caps uniform. Then, Pedro Morales and Nicolas Mezquida extended Vancouver’s lead after the break, sending the boisterous BC Place crowd into a frenzy. 

Diego Valeri made things interesting with a 72nd-minute penalty, moving Portland to within one goal of the Cascadia Cup, but this was Vancouver’s day.

"I asked the players to put on a performance for the fans and try to get those three goals back to win that trophy for the supporters," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "Did I think we could do it? I had a feeling we could do it. Consistency during the season showed me we probably weren’t going to do it. But they answered. And they got what we deserved in the end."

In the build-up to Sunday’s match, the ‘Caps spoke at length about last year’s playoff defeat vs. Portland – and the opportunity to exact some revenge against their Cascadia foes one year later.

They certainly walked the talk.

Robinson’s side came out flying against a depleted Timbers side that were without centre backs Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers, as well as defensive midfielder Diego Chara. Erik Hurtado and Mezquida set the tone with their relentless high press, and the rest of the team followed suit.

Barnes got Whitecaps FC on the board in the 13th minute, smashing a deflected Fraser Aird cross into the top right corner with a stunning left-footed effort.

Then, after Timbers striker Fanendo Adi poked a Darren Mattocks cross off the post, Barnes doubled Vancouver’s lead in the 32nd minute. This time, the Jamaican international drove into the box before curling a right-footed strike around a defender and just inside the far post.

Barnes was the main story in the first half, but there was an interesting subplot as Adi and Whitecaps FC defender Kendall Waston mixed it up on a few occasions, with both players picking up yellow cards. It was a derby match, after all.

The ‘Caps kept coming after the break.

In the 54th minute, Morales found the top left corner with a curling right-footed strike from the top of the box. And then, just a minute later, Mezquida ran onto a fine Christian Bolaños throughball before finishing from close range with his left foot to make it 4-0.

The Timbers would eventually get one back through Valeri after Vancouver conceded a foul on Jack Barmby in the box, but that would be all they’d get.

It was a disappointing season for Vancouver but this was a dream ending as the ‘Caps now shift their focus to 2017. As Robinson told supporters prior to the match: “We’ll come back fitter, stronger, and better than ever.”

NEWS AND NOTES

Morales was awarded the Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot following the match after finishing the season with a team-high nine regular season goals … Saskatchewan native and WFC2 grad Brett Levis made his MLS debut on Sunday, playing six minutes as a late second-half sub.

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 $800 for a season total of $13,200.

MATCH DETAILS

Budweiser Man of the Match: Giles Barnes
Referee: Alan Kelly
Attendance: 24,083

Scoring Summary
13’ – VAN – Giles Barnes
32’ – VAN – Giles Barnes
54’ – VAN – Pedro Morales
55’ – VAN – Nicolas Mezquida (Christian Bolanos)  
72’ – POR – Diego Valeri (penalty kick)

Stats
Possession: Vancouver 46.8% – Portland 53.2%
Shots: Vancouver 17 – Portland 17
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 – Portland 3
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Portland 3
Fouls: Vancouver 9 – Portland 12
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Portland 4
Corners: Vancouver 8 – Portland 5

Cautions
26’ – VAN – Kendall Waston
37’ – POR – Fanendo Adi
54’ – VAN – Pedro Morales

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 (27.Blas Pérez 87’), 11.Nicolás Mezquida (17.Andrew Jacobson 74’), 28.Giles Barnes (46.Brett Levis 84’); 19.Erik Hurtado

Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 9.Masato Kudo, 13.Cristian Techera, 18.David Edgar

Portland Timbers
90.Jake Gleeson; 2.Alvas Powell, 27.Steven Taylor, 4.Jermaine Taylor (12.Gbenga Arokoyo 67’), 5.Vytas; 13.Jack Jewsbury, 6.Darlington Nagbe; 26.Lucas Melano (23.Jack Barmby HT), 8.Diego Valeri, 22.Darren Mattocks (99.Jack McInerney 82’); 9.Fanendo Adi

Substitutes not used
1.Chris Konopka, 10.Ned Grabavoy, 16.Zarek Valentin, 18.Amobi Okugo