By IVES GALARCEP
The Vancouver Whitecaps had never beaten a Cascadia opponent in MLS play before. Not the Seattle Sounders, nor the Portland Timbers. For a team on the rise, doing something about that drought was a top priority.
The Whitecaps did something about it on Saturday.
Led by the outstanding goalkeeping of Brad Knighton, and driven on by a sold-out crowd at BC Place, the Whitecaps outplayed the Sounders on their way to a 2-0 victory.
Kenny Miller and Darren Mattocks delivered the goals, but the story of the night was Knighton’s heroics. The Whitecaps goalkeeper made seven saves to record a shutout that helps push Vancouver’s unbeaten streak to five matches and allow the Whitecaps to climb within a point of the Portland Timbers for third place in the West.
The Whitecaps needed just four minutes to jump on the Sounders, with Miller’s fourth-minute goal opening the scoring and put the Sounders on their heels early. The Sounders didn’t waste much time putting pressure on the Whitecaps defense. Obafemi Martins had the first quality chance, forcing a 22nd-minute save from Knighton, who then made a one-handed save on a Zach Scott chance.
Knighton was just getting started.
The Whitecaps keeper made a vital double-save in the 27th minute, slapping away an Eddie Johnson chance before kicking away another Martins attempt.
Beleaguered Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks provided the insurance goal in the 79th minute when he raced onto a Gershon Koffie header and chipped Michael Gspurning on the full sprint for his first goal in almost two months.
The victory improves the Whitecaps’ record to 4-0-1 in their past five matches. Seattle continues to struggle for consistency without captain and on-field leader Osvaldo Alonso, who is still sidelined with an injury.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Think the Whitecaps are a legitimate contender in the West now? Disappointing in the Sounders’ play, or think they will continue to struggle until Alonso returns?
Share your thoughts below.