Tonight’s match was an unusually defensive, park-the-bus performance from the Vancouver Whitecaps, but it worked. After a lively start and a couple of penetrating runs from Erik Hurtado and Octavio Rivero, the ‘Caps made their breakthrough by way of an ingenious Nicolas Mezquida free-kick in the 15th minute. After Pedro Morales had whiffed on an earlier set-piece, Mezquida was given an opportunity to strike a dead ball from the left side of the box and he didn’t disappoint.
From that moment on, the Whitecaps seemed content to soak up pressure and try to catch Portland on the break. It wasn't the exciting, attacking style that was on display two weeks ago against Toronto FC, but it kept the Timbers at bay for almost 70 minutes. Then finally in the 82nd minute, Fanendo Adi managed to force a scrappy goal past a sprawling 'Caps defense. It was a goal that seemed inevitable given the Timbers’ overwhelming possession, and it could have been one of many if it weren't for the man of the match, David Ousted. The Great Dane put on a world class performance that had the home fans cheering every save as though it were a goal at the other end.
Portland's goal knocked the wind out of Vancouver’s sails and was followed up by a flurry of quality chances. The Whitecaps spent a few minutes defending for their lives and Ousted was forced to deny shot after shot. Then, in the 87th minute Robert Earnshaw came on for Erik Hurtado. The Welshman proved to be the spark that the ‘Caps were missing. Barely minutes after setting foot on the pitch, Earnshaw was fed a perfect through-ball by Pedro Morales and scored the game winning goal. It was a magical moment that came seemingly from nowhere and sent the crowd into a frenzy. My ears are still ringing.
10/10 for the celebration. Oh and the goal wasn't too bad either.Way to introduce yourself to the home fans Earny...Posted by Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, 28 March 2015