CARSON, Calif. – Captain Jay DeMerit scored the game-winner and the Vancouver Whitecaps earned their first away victory in club history, downing Chivas USA 1-0 at a rainy Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
The Whitecaps struggled to create much offense, but as Chivas pushed forward in the second half, it was the Whitecaps who broke the deadlock. After earning a corner on an Eric Hassli header, Davide Chiumiento fired a corner that found the head of a wide open DeMerit, who notched it past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 68th minute.
It was the first career MLS goal for DeMerit, who found himself unmarked after his marker Oswaldo Minda slipped in the on the rain-soaked pitch.
From the get-go, Chivas controlled possession and, in the ninth minute, the Goats nearly broke through when defender James Riley sent in a looping through-ball to Ryan Smith. The Chivas winger saw his effort stopped by Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who appeared to be clipped by Alain Rochat on the save. Minutes later, Cannon went down for several minutes, pointing just above his left knee, but opted to remain in the match.
In the 21st minute, Smith nearly struck again after launching a shot from 25 yards that forced a diving save from Cannon.
Just eight minutes later, the Whitecaps had their first foray into the box as Camilo broke past Ante Jazic and laid in a pass to Sébastien Le Toux. Surrounded by Chivas defenders and with his back turned to goal, the French forward was forced to play the ball back to Eric Hassli, whose shot was cleared by a Chivas defender.
The Rojiblancos continued the pressure in the 32nd minute as rookie forward Casey Townsend – who was making his first MLS start in place of the injured Juan Pablo Ángel – fired in curling shot from near the edge of the box that was tipped over the bar by Cannon.
Eventually, the sting of his earlier injury proved too much for Cannon, who was substitutd by backup Brad Knighton in the 41st minute with a left quad strain for Brad Knighton. Just three minutes after coming on for the injured Cannon, Knighton was immediately called into service as he stopped a near post strike by Laurent Courtois.
At the outset of the second half, Vancouver once again struggled to generate possession, allowing the Goats to control the tempo of the match. Courtois proved the catalyst again creating a dangerous sequence in the 53rd minute as three Chivas USA players touched the ball in the box, but none were able to fire a shot on goal before it was scooped up by Knighton.
Chivas were unlucky not to earn a penalty kick when midfielder Nick LaBrocca appeared to be pulled down in the box by defender Alain Rochat, but the Rojiblancos' pleas for a spot kick went unanswered by referee Jair Marrufo.
Vancouver will now return home to BC Place where they will host D.C. United on March 24. Meanwhile Chivas USA, after wrapping up a winless two game homestand, will head to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Real Salt Lake.