Vancouver snapped a 14-game run without a win.
Alain Rochat’s second goal of the year was the difference to lead his team to a 1-0 win over Philadelphia Union. Rochat also received the man of the match for his dominating performance on the left side of the pitch.
The win moves the Whitecaps out of the MLS basement one point above Sporting KC and ends a MLS record of 14 games in a season without a win.
“It’s been a long time coming.” Whitecaps captain Jay Demerit said after the game in regards to the win. "Everyone’s been working for it, everyone’s been showing the character to get it, but once you finally have it there is a bit of relief.”
The class of the winning goal is undeniable. Davide Chiumiento picked the ball up on his side of half field and four stepovers later had driven past five Philly players. A quick give and go with Eric Hassli, who had dropped back in support, found Chiumiento with space in front of the Philly box.
But there was still plenty left to do, and with one last stepover for good measure, Chiumiento weighted a perfect pass across the face of the box for Rochat to run on to and hit with the outside of his left foot. The ball curled perfectly around the defenders then around Faryd Mondragon’s out stretched hands before nestling wonderfully inside the right post. A goal plucked right out of the top drawer.
The goal was exactly what the Whitecaps had been looking for but there was still a lot of work left with 79 minutes still left to play.
Philadelphia missed Carlos Ruiz on the pitch as the team couldn’t find any creativity and looked to play a physical game against the Whitecaps. New signing Veliko Paunovic got his first start for the Union but showed little and was subbed off for Danny Mwanga at the half.
The second half showed a slight change of plan from Philadelphia as the club had Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux up front and turned away from kicking the 'Caps all over the pitch to holding the ball more and looking for a crack in the defense.
The best chances in the second came to the Whitecaps though, as a confident Hassli had multiple chances to double the lead but he couldn’t find the net.
Mondragon gave his team a scare near the end of the second as his team pushed for the equalizing goal. Mondragon was caught out near halfway and Chiumiento had only to hit the open net but couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and the Philly defense was able to cover in time.
In the closing minutes Philadelphia had a few chances to tie the game. In weeks past the Whitecaps let one in late but not tonight. Tonight was about the Whitecaps getting the monkey off their back and the new team with a new coach can build from there.
Kansas City is next up for both of these teams as Philadelphia plays Sporting at home on Wednesday and Vancouver has its first ever visit to the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in a week’s time.
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