Here are the highlights from the Whitecaps’ 2-0 win over the Earthquakes:
History, it seems was due to repeat itself Saturday afternoon, on a more positive note as Vancouver Whitecaps FC successfully avenged their only home loss of the season, snatching up a much-needed three points in a decisive 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, vaulting the team to a 10W-7L-6D record (and impressive climb in the Western Conference).
Half and Half
Like two sides of a coin, Saturday’s match-up had its unique highs and lows that made for an interesting game. Action in the first half was mediocre, the Whitecaps managing only a couple of shots on goal while both teams chalked up clumsy fouls, including a pair of yellow cards for San Jose. Ball possession was good on the Whitecaps end but urgency seemed to be lacking in midfield play as Daigo Kobayashi neglected his usual technical play failed to put much pressure on the ball, preventing many opportunities for scoring and allowing many turnovers at center field.
Things improved in the second half after the Earthquakes came within a yard of opening the scoring, only to be denied by a lightning save from David Ousted (who earned his first MLS win and clean sheet) and quick-thinking defensive play by Nigel Reo-Coker (who assisted on both goals, earning the Budweiser Man of the Match award). While Whitecaps fans went away happy at the end of the day; one still wonders if coach [Martin] Rennie will be making adjustments to the lineup before next week’s game against Colorado.
Camilo opened the scoring for the Whitecaps at the one hour mark, notching his fourteenth goal of the season and once again tying the Chicago Fire’s Mike Magee as frontrunner for the MLS Golden Boot award. Of particular notice was the Brazilian striker’s celebration, possibly his most interesting one to date, placing the ball under his jersey, mimicking a newborn baby (complete with thumb-sucking), as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the recent news of his wife’s pregnancy. Camilo’s creative celebration was rewarded with a yellow card, but he didn’t seem too bothered.
Kenny Miller returned to the starting lineup with a never say die performance, sending a message to any naysayers that it will take much more than a strained adductor muscle to keep the talented Scottish striker down and out for long. After a couple of missed opportunities in the first half, Miller jumped on a pass from Nigel Reo-Coker, firing the ball past Earthquakes netminder Jon Busch to tally his seventh goal of the season. While the 33-year old Miller now takes a short leave from MLS to join the Scottish national team in a friendly against England (August 14th), all signs point to his returning in time to join his Whitecaps teammates in Colorado next Saturday (August 17th).
And The Future Lies Ahead
Saturday’s win now puts the Whitecaps into 2nd Place in the West, their highest ranking to date since joining Major League Soccer in 2011, five points back of Real Salt Lake. However, with both Colorado and Los Angeles playing on Sunday (against separate teams), the work is far from over as the distance between teams narrows with each passing day. Expect the Whitecaps to be pushing themselves to go the extra mile and keep their playoff berth secure when they visit the Rapids next Saturday.
The race is on! And after today’s showing, the Whitecaps have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with as the playoff race continues.