Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports Images
By ADAM TROXTELL
Anyone who thought the Vancouver Whitecaps were fading away as the dog days of summer drag on is probably thinking again now.
The Whitecaps put on a dominant display against the San Jose Earthquakes to win, 3-1, at BC Place on Sunday. They used the opportunity against the second-from-bottom Earthquakes to claim their first win in four games, keeping the gap between them and Western Conference leaders FC Dallas to just two points.
Their opponents are desperate for similar inspiration. San Jose hasn’t won a single match since beating the LA Galaxy at the end of June, and a familiar scene unfolded when the Whitecaps’ Mauro Rosales scored in just the fifth minute.
Rosales then provided the next goal when he found Kendall Waston from a corner kick. A converted penalty kick early in the second half by Octavio Rivero wrapped up an enjoyable afternoon for the Whitecaps, ensuring Quincy Amarikwa’s late goal was nothing more than a consolation.
The onslaught began early. Kekuta Manneh intercepted the ball at midfield just minutes in, running at the back line with pace. It was knocked away, but straight into the path of Rosales who finished accurately past goalkeeper David Bingham for a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Rivero nearly had the second four minutes later. Not for the first time that afternoon, Rivero beat the Earthquakes back line to a ball over the top, but he was unable to get enough of a controlling touch on it and Bingham was able to eventually smother it.
More worrying for the Earthquakes was a lack of action at the other end. They failed to record a single shot on target in the first half — three for the whole game — and the Whitecaps took the initiative.
After Gershon Koffie’s header deflected wide for a second-straight corner, the home side made the next chance count. Rosales swung in another, this time finding Waston for a 2-0 lead just after 30 minutes.
Shortly after halftime, the lead was three. Once again, Rivero got behind the defense courtesy of an exchange with Nicolas Mezquida. He was chopped down in the box by substitute Paulo Renato, and he then converted the penalty kick as the Earthquakes faded away.
They did manage a good chance in the 75th minute, with Cato curling a shot from the top of the box that David Ousted had the whole way. Later, Shea Salinas found enough space to fire a shot off of the bar and onto the goal line, but not far enough into the net.
Amarikwa struck just as stoppage time began for a late consolation. The striker, acquired from the Chicago Fire in June, scored his third goal in three games for the Earthquakes by firing home from close range.
With some fresh momentum, the Whitecaps next take a short trip south to face the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. The Earthquakes face another Cascadia team when they host the Portland Timbers next Sunday.