VANCOUVER: It’s safe to say there won’t be any questions about Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s (6W-3L-2D) home form after this one.
The reeling Union came to town with a depleted lineup that featured former Whitecaps FC Residency goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre and Vancouver took full advantage.
But Sylvestre, who was making his MLS debut, wasn’t the story on this night.
The story was a thoroughly professional performance from the Blue and White, who now sit tied with FC Dallas for the top spot in MLS with 20 points from their first 11 matches.
As is often the case, the story was also another strong showing from goalkeeper David Ousted. The Dane wasn’t busy, but he made a potential Save of the Year candidate in the first half en route to his league-leading sixth clean sheet of the season.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made three changes to his starting lineup for Saturday’s match. With Steven Beitashour still sidelined (glute strain), rookie Tim Parker replaced Ethen Sampson at right back to make his first MLS start and home debut.
There wasn’t much in the game early – until the 27th minute, when Ousted brought the crowd to its feet with a remarkable goalline save. A deflected Eric Ayuk strike fell to Andrew Wenger at the back post but the ‘Caps keeper denied him with a diving point-blank save – and in the process, changed the complexion of the match.
It was all Vancouver from that point forward.
After a pair of half-chances from Rivero and Manneh, Vancouver opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. In the build-up, Techera sent a perfectly-weighted throughball to a streaking Morales, whose classy first-time finish put Whitecaps FC ahead.
The ‘Caps doubled their lead just before halftime.
Rivero did the damage this time, taking advantage of an ill-advised Cristian Maidana back pass and muscling off Ethan White before calmly slotting it in.
After a strong finish to the first half, Robinson’s side picked up where they left off after the break. Manneh nearly made it 3-0 in the 47th minute, tiptoeing around a pair of defenders before getting denied by Sylvestre from close range.
The ‘Caps kept coming though and delivered the dagger in the 81st minute – shortly after the Union were reduced to 10 men courtesy of a Richie Marquez red card. Mattocks turned Maurice Edu inside out before blasting a strike past Sylvestre, putting an exclamation point on a dazzling performance.
Whitecaps FC return to BC Place on Wednesday to host FC Edmonton in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.
NEWS AND NOTES
– Techera’s assist on Morales’ goal was his first point in a Whitecaps FC uniform. This was the 5-foot-2 Uruguayan’s second MLS appearance.
– Morales was named the Budweiser Man of the Match after scoring his second goal of the season and adding his team-leading fourth assist.
– Rivero, was subbed off in the 69th minute for Mattocks, now has six goals on the season – just one behind joint-leaders Clint Dempsey and Kei Kamara.
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 running total of $3,700.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Pedro Morales
Referee: Ismail Elfath
32′ – VAN – Pedro Morales (Cristian Techera)
44′ – VAN – Octavio Rivero
81′ – VAN – Darren Mattocks (Pedro Morales)
Shots: Vancouver 18 – Philadelphia 9
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 10 – Philadelphia 2
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Philadelphia 7
Fouls: Vancouver 14 – Philadelphia 8
Offsides: Vancouver 5 – Philadelphia 0
Corners: Vancouver 8 – Philadelphia 3
80′ – VAN – Cristian Techera
78′ – PHI – Richie Marquez
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 26.Tim Parker, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 7.Mauro Rosales (13.Cristian Techera 12′), 77.Pedro Morales (88.Robert Earnshaw 87′), 23.Kekuta Manneh; 29.Octavio Rivero (11.Darren Mattocks 69′)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 9.Nicolás Mezquida, 28.Gershon Koffie
49.Brian Sylvestre; 28.Raymon Gaddis, 15.Ethan White (6.Conor Casey 76′), 16.Richie Marquez, 25.Sheanon Williams; 27.Zach Pfeffer, 8.Maurice Edu; 14.Eric Ayuk Mbu, 10.Cristian Maidana, 11.Andrew Wenger (5.Vincent Noguiera 62′); 18.Fernando Aristeguieta (9.Sebastien Le Toux 62′)
Substitutes not used
0.Trey Mitchell, , 7.Brian Carroll, 33.Fabinho, 77.Fred