VANCOUVER Whitecaps FC (8W-6L-13D) put themselves back into the playoff picture with a dominant 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes (6W-11L-9D) Wednesday night at BC Place.
Pedro Morales and Kendall Waston, who won his second straight Budweiser Man of the Match award, led the way for Whitecaps FC on a night that club legend Carl Valentine was inducted in the Ring of Honour.
Morales picked up his team-leading eighth goal of the season on a first-half penalty and added his team-leading 10th assist, a new club record in MLS.
The record-breaking assist came off a 56th-minute corner, which Waston met with a spectacular diving header at the near post to score his first goal in a Whitecaps FC uniform.
It was a dominant performance from the Blue and White, who outshot San Jose by a 17-4 margin and seemed in control from the opening whistle.
Though he wasn’t really tested, Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted picked up his second straight clean sheet and league-leading ninth of the season – also a new club record.
The win moves Vancouver back into the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference – two points up on Portland Timbers and now 10 points up on San Jose.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made two changes to his starting lineup after Saturday’s scoreless draw with D.C. United. Right back and San Jose native Steven Beitashour, who missed the last match with a hip injury, drew back into the squad in place of Ethen Sampson and Erik Hurtado replacedDarren Mattocks up top.
The ‘Caps controlled play right from the opening whistle Wednesday at BC Place. They dominated possession, showed some bright link-up play in midfield, and defended well. In fact, the Earthquakes didn’t have a single shot attempt in the opening 45 minutes.
San Jose appeared content to sit back and drop numbers behind the ball, but the Blue and White managed to break through.
Their first chance came in the 13th minute, when Waston headed a Mauro Rosales corner just over the goal. Waston, who was dominant in the air throughout the half, was involved again late.
In the 38th minute, the 6-foot-5 Costa Rican was hauled down by Victor Bernardez in the Quakes box as he lunged at a Morales free kick. The foul resulted in a Whitecaps FC penalty, which Morales fired into the bottom left corner to put the ‘Caps ahead 1-0.
It was a much-deserved goal for Vancouver, who outshot San Jose 6-0 and controlled nearly 60 per cent of possession in the opening frame.
The ‘Caps came out flying to start the second half and nearly doubled their lead in the 47th minute, when Sebastian Fernandez’s half volley from the left side of the box missed just wide right.
Vancouver kept coming though and they made it 2-0 in the 56th minute, when Waston met an in-swinging Morales corner with a diving header into the near post.
From there, it was all Vancouver. Morales nearly scored his second goal in the 73rd minute, when he let loose a heavy shot from the top of the box after receiving a cheeky Fernandez back heel pass. But Quakes goalkeeper Jon Bush dove to his right to make the save.
Morales, who had a goal called back due to a hand ball in the 86th minute, Fernandez and Hurtado each had opportunities in the dying stages as the ‘Caps cruised to an exciting victory at BC Place.
Wednesday’s match was Vancouver’s second of three in a one-week span. The ‘Caps are back in action on Saturday against fourth-place FC Dallas, who they trail by five points. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. PT (TSN2, TSN 1410) at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Stat of the Game
The ‘Caps set two new club records on Wedesday night with Morales’ 10th assist and Ousted’s ninth clean sheet of the season.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Kendall Waston
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
39′ – VAN – Pedro Morales (penalty kick)
57’ – VAN – Kendall Waston (Pedro Morales)
Shots: Vancouver 17 – San Jose 4
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 6 – San Jose 1
Saves: Vancouver 1 – San Jose 4
Fouls: Vancouver 13 – San Jose 12
Offsides: Vancouver 0 – San Jose 1
Corners: Vancouver 8 – San Jose 3
46’ – SJ – Jordan Stewart
59’ – VAN – Sebastian Fernandez
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 40.Andy O’Brien, 4.Kendall Waston, 2.Jordan Harvey; 30.Mauro Rosales (8.Mehdi Ballouchy 62’), 15.Matías Laba, 77.Pedro Morales (29.Nicolas Mezquida 86’), 31.Russell Teibert; 19.Erik Hurtado (11.Darren Mattocks 90’ + 3), 7.Sebastián Fernández
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 17.Omar Salgado, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 27.Ethen Sampson
San Jose Earthquakes
18.Jon Busch; 20.Shaun Francis, 5.Victor Bernardez, 21.Jason Hernandez, 3.Jordan Stewart; 7.Cordell Cato, 15.J.J. Kovall (9.Khari Stephenson 66’), 4.Sam Cronin, 6.Shea Salinas (23.Atiba Harris 60’); 22.Tommy Thompson (19.Michael Fucito 84’), 8.Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used
13.Bryan Meredith, 2.Ty Harden, 14.Adam Jahn, 80.Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi