By VINCE MADURI
The Vancouver Whitecaps rode one beautiful goal and one opportunistic finish to keep their impressive start to the 2013 season going.
A Daigo Kobayashi blast in the sixth minute, and a Kenny Miller conversion of a Columbus Crew turnover helped the Whitecaps deliver a 2-1 victory over the Crew at BC Place on Saturday.
Kobayashi opened the scoring with a 30-yard blast that caught Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum off his line. The Japanese international curled the ball over Gruenebaum’s head and into the far left corner of the goal for a Goal of the Week contender that helped set a strong tone for the Whitecaps, who dominated play for much of the first half.
Jairo Arrieta tied the score just seconds into the second half, but Vancouver promptly re-took control and eventually re-captured the lead when Miller pounced on a poor touch from Crew defender Glauber to beat Gruenebaum in the 57th minute for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Whitecaps had several chances in the first half to break the game open, including a quality chance for Miller in the 19th minute. Glauber held onto Miller’s shirt quite obviously and was handed a yellow card after the whistle.
Miller wasn’t done. The Scottish international was the spark plug in the middle of Vancouver’s dangerous attack, sinking back to receive the ball and darting behind the Columbus defense over and over again.
The Crew defense did a very good job on Darren Mattocks for the most part, but Glauber lost the speedy Jamaican in the 37th minute. Mattocks sprung free toward the goal line and whipped in a cross toward Kenny Miller, who couldn’t get his toe on the ball to finish.
Nigel Reo-Coker wasted a golden opportunity on an open goal in the 39th minute and despite Vancouver owning a large chunk of the chances, the first half ended with a very kind 1-0 scoreline in favor of the Whitecaps.
Columbus was able to capitalize on Vancouver’s wastefulness coming out of the break as Arrieta scored off a layoff from Ben Speas in the 46th minute.
Vancouver reclaimed the lead just 11 minutes later after Glauber took a careless touch on the ball, allowing Kenny Miller to intercept it and score in the 57th minute.
Dominic Oduro had an opportunity to tie up the match in stoppage time off a cross from Federico Higuain in the 94th minute. Oduro’s header from point blank range went high, spoiling Columbus’ final chance to equalize.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Impressed with Vancouver’s play? Disappointed with the Crew’s performance?
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