VANCOUVER: A moment of magic.
That could spell the difference in the MLS Cup Playoffs, according to Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson in the leadup to the clash with the San Jose Earthquakes.
A Fredy Montero goal off a world-class set piece, a Cristian Techera rocket from distance, a second-half goal from Kendall Waston plus a late brace from Nicolás Mezquida provided the magic on Wednesday evening, giving the ‘Caps the historic 5-0 victory at BC Place.
With the Knockout Round victory, their first playoff win in club MLS history, the third-seed ‘Caps move on to face second-place Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference Semifinal, beginning with the home leg on Sunday. Kickoff time at BC Place is 5:30 p.m. Tickets now available on whitecapsfc.com.
The ‘Caps received contributions from across the board, with seven different players tallying at least a goal or an assist on the evening.
WFC goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic set the tone early for the home side when he snuffed an early chance for the Quakes, leaping left to swat away a direct free kick attempt from Anibal Godoy. It was the first of five saves for the New Zealand international, as he earned a playoff clean sheet in only his sixth start for the ‘Caps.
Whitecaps FC took the advantage in the 33rd minute off some clinical execution, initiated by a Techera corner kick from the left side. Towering in the middle, Waston nodded the well-placed ball to the far post, where Montero was positioned for a diving header to score the first goal of his MLS postseason career.
Vancouver kept their foot on the pedal in the second half, doubling their lead in the 57th minute when Techera launched from over 25 yards on a direct free kick, finding the top-right corner of Quakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell’s net.
The ‘Caps pressed on, peppering the San Jose net with shots from up close in the 64th minute, before Tim Parker set up Waston to knock home another score and increase their lead to 3-0.
The match turned into a route when Mezquida came on in the second half. The Uruguayan put the cherry on the victory, scoring two goals in a span of two minutes to send Vancouver to the next round with an emphatic 5-0 victory.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Nicolás Mezquida
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
33′ – VAN – Fredy Montero (Kendall Waston, Cristian Techera)
57′ – VAN – Cristian Techera
64′ – VAN – Kendall Waston (Tim Parker)
78′ – VAN – Nicolás Mezquida (Christian Bolaños, Brek Shea)
80′ – VAN – Nicolás Mezquida (Brek Shea)
Possession: Vancouver 45.4% – San Jose 54.6%
Shots: Vancouver 17 – San Jose 10
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 8 – San Jose 5
Saves: Vancouver 5 – San Jose 3
Fouls: Vancouver 11 – San Jose 13
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – San Jose 3
Corners: Vancouver 5 – San Jose 6
76′ – SJ – Darwin Cerén
85′ – SJ – Aníbal Godoy
24.Stefan Marinovic; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 4.Kendall Waston ©, 26.Tim Parker, 17.Marcel de Jong; 66.Aly Ghazal, 16.Tony Tchani (8.Andrew Jacobson 84′); 13.Cristian Techera (20.Brek Shea 75′), 29.Yordy Reyna (11.Nicolás Mezquida 68′), 7.Christian Bolaños; 12.Fredy Montero
Substitutes not used
1.David Ousted, 2.Jordan Harvey, 23.Bernie Ibini, 67.Alphonso Davies
San Jose Earthquakes
28.Andrew Tarbell; 2.Kofi Sarkodie (25.Quincy Amarikwa 74′), 5.Victor Bernárdez, 23.Florian Jungwirth, 6.Shea Salinas; 30.Anibal Godoy, 17.Darwin Ceren; 22.Tommy Thompson (21.Marco Ureña 62′), 8.Chris Wondolowski ©, 11.Valeri Qazaishvili (14.Jackson Yueill 86′); 9.Danny Hoesen
Substitutes not used
1.David Bingham, 3.Francois Affolter, 7.Cordell Cato, 15.Andrés Imperiale