-EMPHATIC PERFORMANCE ENSURES ANOTHER YEAR IN CASCADIA CUP GLORY
-TIMBERS KNOCKED OUT OF PLAYOFFS WITH HEAVY LOSS
-‘CAPS END SEASON ON A HIGH AFTER A SEASON OF AGONY
By TODD MAY
— BC PLACE, VANCOUVER BC
All games on the final day of the season were to be played concurrently setting up for a spectacular end to the regular season. BC Place played host to the season ender in what has been a particularly disappointing year for Carl Robinson and his troops, but it didn’t stop them putting in a performance that would give the fans hope for next season.
A win for the visitors would ensure progression, and a result worse than Sporting KC would see them eliminated along with their Vancouver rivals.
With no post season to play for, the Whitecaps looked like they had their lives on the line for the entire first half despite Portland still being in contention for play offs.
The home side started brightly, with manager Carl Robinson marching up and down the touchline like an orchestra conductor to his players and they nearly conjured the opening in the first few minutes.
Fans would not have to wait much longer for the breakthrough as right back Fraser Aird managed to etch out a cross deep from the right side that found Giles Barnes at the top of the box. The Jamaican latched onto the low cross smashing into top corner from just inside 18 yards with his left foot for his first ever goal in a Whitecaps shirt.
Timbers were unlucky not to draw level with a quick well constructed response. Former ‘Caps winger Darren Mattocks, this time wearing rival colours, put some good work in down the left flank. His short cross was tapped onto the post bounding back in front of goal. Lucas Melano was waiting with an empty net to tap into but the ball ricocheted off him and back into the grateful arms of David Ousted much to the dismay of the travelling fans.
Vancouver were back in their usual flowy stride creating some good link up play between the front four nearly resulting in a goal, Mezquida was guilty of not hitting the target and could only blaze over from the penalty spot.
Mezquida found his range a little better this time nearly doubling the lead from 25 yards out just minutes later when he hit a low effort narrowly wide of the post.
Giles Barnes was at it again and bagged his second of the night in front of the Southsiders devout fans. The winger dribbled at the defensive line from the left side and delivered a curling disguised effort beyond the keeper into the far post.
It was the ideal start Robinson would have wanted from his men as the first half closed out 2-0 to Vancouver.
A response was needed in the dressing room from Portland but the second half started in quite incredible fashion. Just eight minutes in and Vancouver had extended their lead through captain Pedro Morales. The Chilean picked up a loose clearance on the right side of the penalty box and unleashed a spectacular dipping effort into the top corner leaving the goalkeeper helpless.
The lead was extended further before the announcer could even manage to finish Pedro’s scoring chant. Mezquida made it 4-0 with a neat little finish cutting in from the right and slipping it under the keeper. A clipped ball over the top for Mezquida was enough for him to cut in and finish. The goal resulted in an eruption of applause from the fans who had been waiting for a performance like this all season.
Mattocks was nearly able to restore a sense of pride after clever footwork that should have resulted in a goal, but after blowing past three opponents the effort was tame and disappointingly rolled softly into Ousted’s arms.
Portland did manage to get on the score sheet when Jordan Harvey clipped his man resulting in a penalty to the visitors. Diego Valeri stepped up and calmly dispatched his shot to knick a goal back.
The race was on for the Cascadia Cup with all teams positioned on nine points and Whitecaps now ahead by just a single goal difference, the final 15 minutes would be exceptionally important with the added incentive of possibly adding some silverware to the trophy cabinet on the back of a disappointing season.
The Whitecaps would see out the final minutes without incident delivering their fans a small piece of solitary joy for months of solid turn out and little reward.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Giles Barnes
Referee: Alan Kelly
13′ – VAN – Giles Barnes
32′ – VAN – Giles Barnes
54′ – VAN – Pedro Morales
55′ – VAN – Nicolas Mezquida (Christian Bolanos)
72′ – POR – Diego Valeri (penalty kick)
Possession: Vancouver 46.8% – Portland 53.2%
Shots: Vancouver 17 – Portland 17
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 – Portland 3
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Portland 3
Fouls: Vancouver 9 – Portland 12
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Portland 4
Corners: Vancouver 8 – Portland 5
26′ – VAN – Kendall Waston
37′ – POR – Fanendo Adi
54′ – VAN – Pedro Morales
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 77.Pedro Morales, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Christian Bolaños (27.Blas Pérez 87′), 11.Nicolás Mezquida (17.Andrew Jacobson 74′), 28.Giles Barnes (46.Brett Levis 84′); 19.Erik Hurtado
90.Jake Gleeson; 2.Alvas Powell, 27.Steven Taylor, 4.Jermaine Taylor (12.Gbenga Arokoyo 67′), 5.Vytas; 13.Jack Jewsbury, 6.Darlington Nagbe; 26.Lucas Melano (23.Jack Barmby HT), 8.Diego Valeri, 22.Darren Mattocks (99.Jack McInerney 82′); 9.Fanendo Adi