VANCOUVER, B.C. — A first-half goal from defender Alain Rochat stood up as Vancouver Whitecaps FC finally ended their MLS record 14-match winless streak, beating Philadelphia Union 1-0 at Empire Field on Saturday.
Rochat struck just 12 minutes with a highlight-reel left-footed strike to the far post from outside the box that Philadelphia keeper Faryd Mondragón had no chance of stopping.
Before the Whitecaps struck, however, it was Philadelphia who looked to open the scoring in the ninth minute, when new signing Veljko Paunovic sent Justin Mapp in on the left flank. Mapp's centering ball, though, was cut out by a sliding Jay DeMerit.
The ‘Caps responded by scoring the first goal themselves when Davide Chiumiento dribbled through the Union defence, playing a give-and-go with Eric Hassli, then feeding an onrushing Rochat on the left side. Rochat then unleashed a wicked strike into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.
Vancouver came close to doubling their lead nine minutes later as Jonathan Leathers sprung Shea Salinas down the right. The former Union player then fed Hassli for a left-footed shot that sailed just wide of goal and the Whitecaps took their one goal advantage into halftime.
Soehn’s squad came out strong after the break, with Camilo having a shot snagged by Mondragón and Hassli firing a 25-yard strike inches over the crossbar. The Union had a chance to equalize on 78 minutes when Brian Carroll took a pass from Sébastien Le Toux and hit a low shot just wide of the near post.
The see-saw affair nearly took a dramatic turn two minutes later, when Mondragón came way out his net to play a ball and saw a poor touch eventually end up on Chiumiento. Though the Union 'keeper challenged the Whitecaps attacker, Chiumiento came up with the ball and fed Khalfan in the box, but Khalfan had his shot blocked much to the relief of the visitors.
With new life, Philly looked to tie the match a minute later as Le Toux poked a deflected shot agonizingly close but just wide of goal.
With their long-awaited second victory now in the bag, the Whitecaps will look to start a new streak when they travel to Kansas City to take on Sporting on June 25. The Union, meanwhile, return to Philadelphia for a Wednesday match, also taking on Sporting KC on June 22.
VAN -- Alain Rochat 2 (Davide Chiumiento 6) 12
VAN -- Terry Dunfield (caution; Handball) 22
PHI -- Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Tackle) 36
PHI -- Brian Carroll (caution; Reckless Foul) 51
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (Roger Torres 81), Justin Mapp, Kyle Nakazawa, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 46), Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux, Veljko Paunovic (Michael Farfan 59).
Substitutes Not Used: Keon Daniel, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Jack McInerney, Zac MacMath.
Vancouver Whitecaps -- Joe Cannon, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat, Shea Salinas, Jeb Brovsky, Terry Dunfield (Gershon Koffie 83), Camilo (Nizar Khalfan 76), Davide Chiumiento, Eric Hassli.
Substitutes Not Used: Mouloud Akloul, Bilal Duckett, Omar Salgado, Russell Teibert, Brian Sylvestre.
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Corey Parker; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Cloudy and 60 degrees