A lucky goal from Lee Young-Pyo helped the Vancouver Whitecaps defeat the Columbus Crew 1-0 Saturday night for the club's first road win in the Eastern Conference.
Was it lucky? It’s hard to argue with that conclusion after the Vancouver Whitecaps claimed another 1-0 victory, this time against the Columbus Crew, despite being outchanced and outpossessed once again.
From shots flying off the crossbar on the defensive side, to getting what appeared to be a fluke goal from a mishit Lee Young-Pyo free kick for the winner, lady luck smiled on the Whitecaps as they claimed their first ever Eastern Conference road victory.
“I would say a couple of things went our way,” head coach Martin Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “I think Y.P.’s goal was a little bit fortuitous and in the first half, in the first ten minutes, I thought the Crew came out really strong – caused us a few problems and hit the crossbar. I’d also say this was one of the first times this season I’ve really, really felt like that. In the games we lost we were probably really unfortunate to lose.”
The clean sheet, the fifth by goalkeeper Joe Cannon and the team’s sixth of the season, happened in large part due to some defensive heroics by Vancouver, who blocked nine shots as a defensive unit.
“The guys on our team know their individual roles,” Cannon said. “This year there’s more accountability. Everyone’s stepping up, but we are fortunate to be getting some breaks.”
The Crew outplayed Vancouver for large stretches of the game, dictating play with 62.8 percent possession. In attack, the Whitecaps looked toothless, and never really threated Andy Gruenebaum’s goal until Lee’s free kick winner.
“Honestly, I was fortunate in the first half myself,” Cannon said. “I got caught on the wrong side of a forward on a corner kick and luckily the ball sailed right over the goal rather than going on goal, which would have made it a very difficult save, and that’s from a corner, with a worse angle than Y.P.’s shot.
“I empathize with Andy. It’s the kind of goal anyone could give up.”
While most of the team will be happy with the win, designated player Eric Hassli appeared irate after being substituted with the score 0-0, right after generating the free kick which led to Lee’s goal. The Frenchman banged on some glass near the field and appeared to have words with his head coach, apparently disagreeing with the decision.
Vancouver now prepares for a Canadian Championship match against FC Edmonton on Wednesday at Commonwealth Stadium.