WASHINGTON – A key call, a cool conversion and 40 grim minutes of hanging on was the recipe for the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday as they took three points from RFK Stadium thanks to a 1-0 win over D.C. United.
Vancouver forward Camilo Sanvezzo continued his remarkable goal-scoring form, beating United goalkeeper Bill Hamid on a penalty kick in the 48th minute for the only score of the game.
Vancouver (7-5-4, 25 points) have now won three in a row and are 5-1-1 in their last seven matches, while United (2-12-3, 9 points) fell back into their losing ways.
Sanvezzo’s goal came after a foul called on Hamid when he came out to challenge Matt Watson, who was dribbling toward the goal inside the 18. Replays showed that Hamid touched the ball while diving forward before taking out Watson’s legs, prompting referee Matthew Foerster to point to the spot.
The diminutive Brazilian beat Hamid high and down the middle for his ninth of the season and his sixth in his last four matches.
Aside from the penalty kick and two second-half chances by Jordan Harvey and Russell Teibert on which Hamid made stellar stops, the match was largely controlled by United.
D.C. took 12 shots, three on target, in the first half that were saved by Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
The best of them came in the 16th minute when defender Ethan White, back from injury, split the defense to find Chris Korb sprinting down the right flank. Dwayne De Rosario was ahead of the defense inside the box on the play, but Korb directed his cross behind United’s captain, pulling back for Chris Pontius only to have Carlyle Mitchell break up the play.
As expected, Vancouver coach Martin Rennie shifted Nigel Reo-Coker to right back from his natural central midfield position as veteran defender Lee Young-Pyo was given the weekend off. Jun Marques Davison stepped into Reo-Coker’s central midfield role.
Meanwhile, D.C. started Alain Rochat at left back three weeks after he was traded by Vancouver. Former Whitecaps John Thorrington and Kyle Porter also started Saturday’s match for United, who dropped to 2-7-1 at home.
Vancouver, which improved to 2-5-1 on the road and recorded their second clean sheet of the season, will travel to Kansas City on Wednesday. United also will play in four days when they take on Seattle at CenturyLink Field.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Ethan White||He's a freak athlete who plays huge, not just big, and has a sweet passing touch to go with it. One of the players United should use as a pillar of their rebuild.|
|2||Matt Watson||Didn't do anything spectacular and was lucky to draw the PK, but was always in the right spot to offer support on both sides of the ball. Solid performance.|
|3||Jordan Harvey||Continues to be in the form of his life, though it didn't come with a goal this time. Got up and down the flank well, was a rock defensively and added a bit of attacking punch.|