VANCOUVER, BC - on a night marking the 30th anniversary of the opening of BC Place stadium 16,130 boisterous fans watched the Whitecaps host Western Conference bottom dwellers CD Chivas USA. Chivas, notorious for their off-the-field problems and a losing record, came to Vancouver seeking a victory for their new coach Jose Luis Real.
THE FIRST HALF
While the Whitecaps did not start quite as badly as they did a few days earlier when they played host to the New England Revolution, they still allowed Chivas some early chances. The Caps were punished by some poor marking when Tristan Bowen put a dipping strike beyond the reach of Brad Knighton in the 7th minute. The Whitecaps, who were expected to dominate Chivas, struggled to find their rhythm early on and take the game to their opponents. As the half progressed Vancouver's best chance to draw level came from the striker Camilo Sanvezzo, who headed a Kenny Miller cross wide of goal in the 17th minute and then Miller himself, who put a strike wide of the net just after the half hour mark.
As the match went deeper into the half an increasingly frustrated looking Nigel Reo-Coker attempted to rally and motivate his teammates to play better and find an equalizing goal. In the 38th minute Vancouver was given a scare when centre back Johnny Leveron went up for a header and was elbowed in the head by Carlos Alvarez. Alvarez was then awarded a yellow card. Leveron laid on the turf and was treated by medical staff for several minutes before returning to the game. Caps' fans breathed a huge sigh of relief because if the unthinkable happened and yet another centre back was lost to injury Adam Clement would have had to come on to replace Leveron.
The Leveron incident woke up the Whitecaps up and they began to attack with a little more purpose and there was promise that an equalizing goal was in the works. Their persistence was rewarded in the second minute of first half stoppage time when fullback Jordan Harvey stepped up to even the score at 1-1. Barely a minute later midfielder Russell Teibert won the ball on the right side of midfield and passed to Camilo, who broke into the area at speed and put the ball past Chivas 'keeper Dan Kennedy. Out of seemingly nothing the Caps were 2-1 up on the stroke of half time.
THE SECOND HALF
Almost immediately at the start of the half the Caps conceded a corner kick. There was doubt that the Whitecaps may start another half flat footed, but Vancouver was more composed and confident on the ball. Chivas were now starting to look a little rattled when the Caps were awarded a free kick in the 52nd minute. Chivas goal scorer Bowen was given a yellow card after tugging on Jordan Harvey's shirt and pulled him to the ground. Although the Caps did not score from the ensuing free kick they were starting to put more pressure on Chivas and were playing in the manner that was expected from the outset. By the hour mark it was all Whitecaps and Chivas were showing very little offensively that might bring them another goal. The Caps had another good opportunity to score in the 73rd minute when Miller failed to convert on a dangerous Camilo cross into the area. Jun Marques Davidson came on for Daigo Kobayashi (who was relatively anonymous in midfield throughout his shift) in the 80th minute and Vancouver scored a third goal just a minute later when Camilo scored his second of the match from a deflected pass from Jordan Harvey. Vancouver held on for the remaining time which also saw Erik Hurtado and Tom Heinemann come on for Teibert and Miller respectively. The Whitecaps were denied a fourth goal in the second minute of second half stoppage time when Reo-Coker surged forward from midfield and a dangerous Heinemann cross could not be converted by either Camilo or Hurtado.
THE FINAL WORD
- Although the Whitecaps did not dominate Chivas as was expected prior to this game they overcame some early problems to win. Once again the front three of Miller, Camilo and Teibert were creating chances and looked very dangerous at times.
- After securing the 3 points in the victory over Chivas the Whitecaps now sit in 4th spot in the Western Conference at 22 points.
- Since May 11th the Whitecaps are now 4-1-1 in league play which is a statistic that has been a little overshadowed by some high profile disappointments in the Canadian Championship and Cascadia Cup competitions.
- With emergence of Russell Teibert this season one has to wonder whether his brilliant form will be rewarded with a call up to Colin Miller's Canada squad for the Gold Cup, and if so, how much will he be missed by the Whitecaps?
- The Whitecaps now have a 10-day break and will next face MLS bottom dwellers DC United in Washington, DC on Saturday, June 29th.
MAN OF THE MATCH
With a brace on the night and 8 goals on the year so far Camilo takes the honour as Man of the Match