Seven minutes into Saturday’s showdown at BC Place, it looked like visiting Atlanta United would add to their two-match winning run. Whitecaps defender Kendall Watson had other ideas, scoring a brace to help his side pull out a 3-1 home victory.
Atlanta’s Greg Garza opened the scoring for the visitors seven minutes in, finishing off Julian Gressel’s assist with a strong left-footed effort.
Watson’s first goal drew the Whitecaps level after 31 minutes, finishing from a corner kick. The defender’s right-footed finish beat Alec Kann to the high center of the goal.
Miguel Almiron’s 35th-minute effort forced a good save from David Ousted in the Whitecaps goal. Watson’s strong performance continued for the hosts, as the defender headed Cristian Techera’s cross to the center of the goal. Watson’s second goal of the season put the Whitecaps up 2-1 heading into stoppage time. Carlos Carmona came close to drawing the visitors level, seeing his header go off the bar.
A surge of attacks for the Whitecaps after the hour mark paid off as Fredy Montero extended their lead to 3-1 in the 68th minute. The Colombian finished smoothly inside the box after Tim Parker’s header was saved by Kann. It was the 29-year-old’s fifth goal of the season, and his first since April 22.
Despite the introduction of Kenwyne Jones and Anton Walkes, Atlanta United failed to record another shot on goal. The Whitecaps held on for a 3-1 home win, which moves their record to 6-1-6 on the season. Kann made three saves for Atlanta United, while Ousted made one.
Now sitting on 19 points, the Whitecaps close a three match homestand on June 17th against FC Dallas. Atlanta United (5-3-5) see their three match unbeaten run snapped with the loss, and next face the Chicago Fire on June 10th.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kendall Watson earned man of the match honors, scoring a brace in his team’s 3-1 win. Watson had two shots on goal, which was tied for the team lead on Saturday, but was also strong defensively against a in-form Atlanta attack. After being down early, Watson propelled the Whitecaps to an important result at home.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Just after Watson put Vancouver up 2-1 in the first-half, Carlos Carmona saw his stoppage time header glance off the bar. This easily could have given Atlanta United some momentum going into the halftime break. Following that, the Whitecaps were able to extended their lead after the hour mark, which truly sank the visitors for good.
MATCH TO FORGET
Both Hector Villalba and Yamil Asad had quiet performances for Atlanta United on Saturday. The duo combined for zero shots on goal, while also losing possession 33 times between them. Even with midfielders Julian Gressel and Miguel Almiron really gelling at the moment, this is no excuse for other attackers to become invisible on the pitch.