VANCOUVER, B.C. – There was no need for late heroics this week. The Vancouver Whitecaps got their job done early against San Jose Earthquakes, and held on for a 3-2 win in front of a fifth consecutive sellout crowd at BC Place on Saturday.
Two first-half goals from Designated Player Pedro Morales and an opener from Kekuta Manneh saw Vancouver jump out to a 3-0 lead by the 20th minute. Chris Wondolowski scored at the end of each half for San Jose to give them some hope, but there was no late equalizer for the Earthquakes this time around.
The win saw Vancouver move to 3-2-4 (13 points) and remain among the top five teams in the West. San Jose fell to 1-3-3 (6 points) and are still looking for their first MLS win in Vancouver, after five attempts.
The festivities started early, with the home side celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original NASL Whitecaps' inaugural match in 1974, also against the Earthquakes, prior to the game.
Vancouver kept the upbeat mood going from kickoff and their early pressure was rewarded with the opening goal 10 minutes in when Manneh ran into the box and crashed his first effort off the near post before recovering the rebound and curling it in off the far post for his third goal of the season.
The home side took further control of the game soon after, and Morales scored two more in the space of a minute to give the Whitecaps into a comfortable 3-0 lead.
The Chilean playmaker converted a 19th minute penalty – drawn by Darren Mattocks – and quickly followed that up 54 seconds later with a low, 20-yard effort that beat Jon Busch and nestled in the same bottom left corner.
Although the Earthquakes pushed hard at the start of the second half, it was Vancouver who had the better chances, but couldn't put the game away.
Wondolowski struck his fifth of the season a minute into second-half stoppage time to give San Jose some hope for some more late drama, but Vancouver saw out the rest of time for a vital three points.
Vancouver now begin a two-game road trip on the East Coast. They will travel to Toronto for their Canadian Championship semifinal first leg on Wednesday before heading down to Columbus in MLS action next Saturday.
San Jose are also in action twice next week, returning home to take on Colorado on Wednesday, and staying there to face FC Dallas in their own 40th anniversary match on Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Pedro Morales||Lived up to his billing, scoring two first half goals and setting the offensive tone|
|2||Kekuta Manneh||Caused problems for SJ on the left side all game, nicely finished rebound for a goal|
|3||Chris Wondolowski||Continued domination of 'Caps with two more goals|