VANCOUVER: The sold-out BC Place crowd sure got their money’s worth in this one.
Gershon Koffie and Cristian Techera‘s first goals of the season carried Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7W-5L-2D) to a thrilling 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake (4W-5L-5D) on Saturday afternoon in their final home match until mid-July.
And the boisterous home fans couldn’t have asked for a better send-off. This one just about had it all: spectacular saves, wonder goals, and most importantly three points for the Blue and White.
It was a dominant performance from the ‘Caps and a night to remember for Koffie. The Ghanaian midfielder was named the Budweiser Man of the Match after scoring a first-half stunner in his 100th MLS regular season start – all of which have come with Whitecaps FC.
The shiny new BC Place turf was the main talking point heading into this one, but that quickly changed once the game got underway. Vancouver put on a show in the first half, outshooting RSL 12-5 and creating several quality chances.
Techera and Morales both had early chances and centre back Kendall Waston came close on a pair of headers, but it was Koffie who opened the scoring. After hitting the crossbar just a few minutes earlier, the Ghanaian blasted in a half volley from distance in the 36th minute to give Whitecaps FC the lead.
It was all Vancouver in the first half – until the 45th minute, that is. Just before halftime, RSL’s Javier Morales curled in a perfectly taken free kick to draw the game level with a wonder strike of his own.
RSL rode the momentum of that goal early into the second half. The visitors came out of the break on the front foot and created a few half-chances, but the ‘Caps didn’t back down.
In the 60th minute, Matias Laba played a perfect ball over the top to Rivero, who got in behind only to see his right-footed strike stopped by a diving Nick Rimando.
Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted answered the call just a few minutes later, making a spectacular diving save off a Elias Vasquez header.
From there, the ‘Caps began to take over once more.
And the 79th minute, they scored the eventual winner when Techera alertly picked off an errant Vasquez back pass and tapped it into the gaping net.
With the win, Whitecaps FC move back into a tie for the top spot in the Western Conference with 23 points from their first 14 matches.
The ‘Caps now hit the road for five straight matches, starting Wednesday against Montreal Impact (5 p.m. PT – TSN1/5).
Meanwhile, WFC2 are back at UBC Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday, hosting former ‘Caps striker Long Tan and Arizona United SC at 2 p.m. PT. Nine MLS players will be available on-loan to WFC2.
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 $1,200 for a running total of $5,500.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
Referee: Jair Marrufo
36′ – VAN – Gershon Koffie
45′ – RSL – Javier Morales
79′ – VAN – Cristian Techera
Shots: Vancouver 20 – Real Salt Lake 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 8 – Real Salt Lake 4
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Real Salt Lake 6
Fouls: Vancouver 11 – Real Salt Lake 16
Offsides: Vancouver 4 – Real Salt Lake 0
Corners: Vancouver 12 – Real Salt Lake 2
27′ – RSL – John Stertzer
41′ – RSL – Justen Glad
44′ – VAN – Pa-Modou Kah
89′ – RSL – Abdoulie Mansally
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 28.Gershon Koffie; 7.Mauro Rosales (23.Kekuta Manneh 69′), 77.Pedro Morales (31.Russell Teibert 90’+3), 13.Cristian Techera (11.Darren Mattocks 86′); 29.Octavio Rivero<
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 9.Nicolás Mezquida, 26.Tim Parker, 88.Robert Earnshaw
Real Salt Lake
1.Nick Rimando; 12.Elias Vasquez, 14.Justen Glad, 21.Aaron Maund, 29.Abdoulie Mansally; 5.Kyle Beckerman, 11.Javier Morales, 27.John Stertzer (10.Luis Gil 81′); 8.Joao Plata (13.Olmes Garcia 70′), 23.Sebastian Jaime (15.Alvaro Saborio 84′), 49.Devon Sandoval
Substitutes not used
1.Lalo Fernandez, 2.Tony Beltran, 16.Wellington Paeckart, 19.Luke Mulholland