This time the poutine tasted just right. After six tries in Vancouver, D.C. United have finally beaten the Whitecaps. On Saturday night, United pushed their way to the top of the Eastern Conference Standings by beating their Western Conference foe by the score of 2-1.
Although United may have won the match, it did not come easy. In just the second minute of the match, United found themselves down one thanks to a chip shot goal by Whitecaps midfielder Pedro Morales. Morales was the beneficiary of an excellent cross taken by forward Octavio Rivero. Rivero’s run pulled in three United defenders, which gave Morales ample space to trap and bury his opportunity. The goal was his first of the 2015 campaign.
United would respond just six minutes later when center-back Bobby Boswell would head home a cross taken by center-midfielder Michael Farfan. Boswell angled his header so that the ball would spin towards the right goal-post. Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted would make an excellent diving effort but his attempt would be in vain as United would level the score at 1.
The goal was Boswell’s first of the 2015 season.
Play would continue at a break-neck pace with both teams using their advantages on the attack to try and gain the upper-hand. D.C. United coach Ben Olsen’s attack strategy focused on exploiting Whitecaps left- Pah Mamadou Kah’s lack of speed by having him go against forward Fabian Espindola.
Meanwhile the Whitecaps attacking combination of Morales and Rivero worked on United center-back Kofi Opare, with one forcing him out of position so the other can expose the gap. Both strategies produced some exciting moments but not the third goal of the match.
The Whitecaps would be dealt a serious blow in the 42nd minute when midfielder Matias Laba would be sent off for his second yellow card. Laba had previously been booked for a hand ball. While the hand ball was obvious the second call, a tackle on United forward Fabian Espindola, was debatable. Without Laba, the Whitecaps defense would be stretched with Espindola continuing to work on Kah on the outside.
With the defense stretched, it was up to Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted to come up big for his squad. In the 53rd and 54th minute he would make consecutive diving saves on shots taken by Espindola and United forward Chris Rolfe and kept the result at 1-1.
Whitecaps forward Mauro Rosales would bring the supporters to the feet just one minute later with a cut back and shot that would rattle the post. United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra would have to be subbed off after injuring himself on the play. With the club down to rookie Travis Worra (regular starter Bill Hamid was unavailable for the match due to a thigh contusion,) it appeared that Vancouver might still have a chance.
But United shut the door on Vancouver in the 64th minute when Rolfe would hit a bullet of a shot past an unsuspecting Ousted. Rolfe was left unattended to in the box after Whitecaps right-back Steven Beitashour’s tackle on Espindola gave him a hole to work with. The goal was Rolfe’s second of the season and second in as many games.
With the victory, United (4-1-2, 14 points) kept their unbeaten strike alive at 5 games. They will head back home next week to take on the Columbus Crew (05/02 7pm).
Although the Whitecaps (5-3-1, 16 points) lost the match they retained their top spot in the Western Conference. The ‘Caps will travel to Portland next week to take on their Cascadia foes the Timbers (5/2 10:30pm).