VANCOUVER, BC - Despite a scrappy and forgettable first half 20,151 Whitecaps fans went home happy after a two-goal second half performance that has, for now, lifted the 'Caps into second place in the MLS Western Conference.
THE FIRST HALF:
The Whitecaps had an early opportunity to take the lead in the 6th minute when San Jose Earthquake's defender Clarence Goodson received a yellow card for pulling Russell Teibert to the turf after Teibert had beaten him to the inside. Reigning MLS Player of the Month Camilo Sanvezzo lined up for to take the free kick which was flicked just inches over the bar by Kenny Miller. After a promising opening 10 minutes, the match had degraded into a scrappy, disjointed affair that was at times frustrating to watch.
In the 12th minute, Shea Salinas tangled with Teibert about 30 yards from goal, and the Quakes were awarded a free kick. Victor Bernardez's free kick thundered into the wall and was cleared by the the Whitecaps. Minutes later Young-Pyo Lee conceded a corner, but the resulting ball that was put back into play by Salinas was easily claimed by David Outsted, who was making his home debut for the Whitecaps. A minute later, Cordell Cato had a try from outside the box, but his effort sailed harmlessly over the goal and did not seriously test Ousted.
The half continued in the same scrappy manner and in the 30th minute Teibert was again pulled down, this time by Rafael Baca, as he was about to scamper down the right flank. Teibert, who has not quite regained the form he had prior to coming down with a virus while on international duty with the Canadian Men's National Team, looked a little more like his normal self. Teibert's 36th minute effort, reminiscent of his first goal against the LA Galaxy earlier this season, sailed harmlessly over Jon Busch's net for a goal kick.
A few minutes later the 'Caps found themselves in a spot of bother when Caryle Mitchell's headed clearance went behind the goal line for a San Jose corner kick. The resulting ball put back into play by Salinas was not effectively cleared by Vancouver, and Ousted was forced to make a reflex save on Cato's shot that was marked for the lower left hand corner of the net.
THE SECOND HALF:
The second half started off with a momentary lapse in marking and Baca was left open long enough to unleash a shot from outside the box that sailed (thankfully) wide of the mark. Fortunately the 'Caps were able to gather themselves and it was soon apparent that they were much more focused and intent on a positive result than they were in the opening 45 minutes.
In the 53rd minute the 'Caps showed some promise when Camilo used some fancy footwork to get a shot on net, but was awarded with a corner kick instead. The ball was cleared away and landed just outside the area at the feet of Daigo Kobayashi, but his volley was high and went over the net.
There was danger in the 55th minute when Gershon Koffie fouled San Jose super pest Steven Lenhart. Salinas' free kick sailed towards the back post, but was nodded back in front of goal and a fortunately positioned Nigel Reo-Coker stopped Chris Wondolowski's shot.
The 'Caps were able to break the deadlock in the 62nd minute when Young-Pyo Lee was able to win a challenge on the edge of his own 18-yard box. He fed the ball Nigel Reo-Coker, who countered up the right wing and crossed a low ball into the box which was poked just inside the back post by Camilo for his 14th goal of the year.
The 'Caps continued to control the game, and again in the 74th minute Teibert's ball into the box skipped past Reo-Coker, but eventually found Miller and the Scottish international made no mistake and put it into the net to add to the 'Caps advantage, and put the game beyond the reach of the 'Quakes.
The 'Quakes had an opportunity in the 88th minute to get on the score sheet when Mitchell fouled Alan Gordon on the edge of the penalty area. Jaime Alas' free kick cleared the wall, but he could not keep it low enough to find the top right corner he was aiming for. After 3 minutes of added time, the match ended 2-0 for the home side.
THE FINAL WORD:
- The Whitecaps now sit (temporarily) in 2nd place in the Western Conference only a single point off their next opponents the Colorado Rapids.
- Danish goalkeeper David Ousted made his home debut and rewarded the home supporters by keeping a clean sheet.
- Despite not seeing any action in tonight's game, defender Andy O'Brien was included in the 18 for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the Cascadia Cup match away at Seattle on June 8th.
- In general, the Whitecaps were strong with finishing and were effective at creating goal scoring opportunities from counter attacks.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Nigel Reo-Coker
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