VANCOUVER Whitecaps FC striker Octavio Rivero scored in his MLS debut but Toronto FC spoiled the party with a 3-1 win over Whitecaps FC Saturday afternoon in their season opener at BC Place.
After Rivero opened his Whitecaps FC account in the 19th minute, the Reds scored three unanswered goals to secure the victory in front of a sold-out BC Place crowd. Designated Player Jozy Altidore was the hero for the Reds, finding the back of the net twice in his TFC debut.
The result ends Vancouver’s 13-match undefeated streak in home openers dating back to 2002, including four previous wins in the MLS era.
Nine returning players from 2014 made up Carl Robinson’s opening day starting lineup. Rivero and experienced centre back Pa-Modou Kah were the only two newcomers in the squad.
In contrast, Toronto had five new faces in their starting lineup, including Altidore and fellow Designated Player Sebastian Giovinco. But they didn’t have much to say in the early going.
The ‘Caps were relentless out of possession, leaving little space for Toronto to operate. They also looked the more dangerous side going forward.
In the eighth minute, Rivero nearly opened the scoring after receiving a low cross from Russell Teibert but the Uruguayan couldn’t connect from close range.
Kekuta Manneh also had his chances, including a half breakaway in the 13th minute. The 20-year-old caused all sorts of problems on the left wing in the first half, but simply couldn’t find the back of the net.
Toronto’s first real opportunity came in the 18th minute, when a blocked Michael Bradley strike fell to Giovinco inside the area. Fortunately for the Blue and White, the diminutive Italian missed just wide.
And less than a minute later, Rivero made up for his earlier miss by scoring Vancouver’s first goal of the 2015 season. After receiving a perfect ball over the top from Kah, the 23-year-old took two touches before firing a low strike past Joe Bendik to put Whitecaps FC ahead.
A pair of newcomers opened the scoring for Vancouver and a pair of newcomers answered for the Reds. In the 32nd minute, Giovinco slipped in a nice little throughball to Altidore, who rounded David Ousted before slotting it into the open net.
Robinson’s side responded well, controlling play for the rest of the half.
Manneh came close again in the 40th minute, tiptoeing around Steven Caldwell into the area before seeing his left-footed attempt stopped by Bendik. The Reds keeper, who had four first-half saves, also handled a well-taken volley by Pedro Morales just before the break.
Toronto got off to a much better start to the second half.
And after a lengthy spell of possession, they took the lead in the 59th minute when Robbie Findley banged in a low Justin Morrow cross from the right.
The ‘Caps threatened in the latter stages of the match, but Toronto added an insurance marker in the 89th minute after Kah was whistled for taking down Altidore in the box.
The U.S. men’s national team striker chipped in the ensuing penalty to score his second goal of the match and seal the victory for the visiting ‘Reds.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is their first road match of 2015 next Saturday against Chicago Fire (3 p.m. PTkickoff – TSN1). The ‘Caps aren’t back at BC Place until March 28, when they host Cascadia rival Portland Timbers.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Matías Laba
Referee: Kevin Stott
19′ – VAN – Octavio Rivero (Pa-Modou Kah)
32′ – TOR – Jozy Altidore (Sebastian Giovinco)
59′ – TOR – Robbie Findley (Justin Morrow, Benoit Cheyrou)
90′ – TOR – Jozy Altidore (penalty kick)
Shots: Vancouver 13 – Toronto 15
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 – Toronto 5
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Toronto 6
Fouls: Vancouver 18 – Toronto 12
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Toronto 0
Corners: Vancouver 8 – Toronto 2
77′ – VAN – Gershon Koffie
78′ – TOR – Warren Creavalle
89′ – VAN – Pa-Modou Kah
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey, 15.Matías Laba (19.Erik Hurtado 83′), 31.Russell Teibert (28.Gershon Koffie 64′), 7.Mauro Rosales (11.Darren Mattocks 65′), 77.Pedro Morales, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 18.Diego Rodríguez, 9.Nicolás Mezquida
12.Joseph Bendik; 13.Steven Caldwell, 24.Damien Perquis, 3.Warren Creavalle, 2.Justin Morrow, 8.Benoit Cheyrou, 4.Michael Bradley, 55.Robbie Findley (26. Collen Warner 77′), 10.Sebastian Giovinco (27.Luke Moore 80′), 21.Jonathan Osorio, 17.Jozy Altidore
Subsitutes not used
1.Chris Konopka, 5.Astone Morgan, 6.Nick Hagglund, 14.Jay Chapman, 15.Eriq Zavaleta,