It took almost three months but the Whitecaps were able to duplicate their victory from opening day with a 1-0 result against the Philadelphia Union. Building on the draw from last week in Seattle the Whitecaps continued their strong possession and tight defensive play in their return match versus the Eastern Conference contender. The Whitecaps scored inside of the of first fifteen minutes for the first time this season and it was their earliest goal since the opener as Rochat opened the score in the 12th minute.
Immediately the Whitecaps went into keeping possession of the ball as they passed it around but did not have a great push forward until the 11th minute. That was when Chiumiento picked up the ball from the half line and proceeded down the sideline when he changed direction and cut across the field. After a quick touch to Hassli, who slid it right back, Chiumiento continued his run across the field when he set the ball up for Rochat who curled the ball towards the far post into the back of the net.
The Whitecaps had a chance to increase their lead in the 21st minute as Salinas made a great run down the right wing and set up Hassli from about 12 yards out but the Frenchman struck the ball wide. The physical play between Hassli and the Califf/Valdes combo continued from the first match but this time it was the Valdes who received the caution in the first. The Whitecaps were able to hold the one goal lead going into halftime.
Four minutes into the second half and the Whitecaps had another opportunity to extend the lead as Eric Hassli received the ball just outside the box from Brovsky turned the defender inside out but fired the shot just over the bar. With about thirty minutes left in the game and after some great touches between Chiumiento and Hassli the ball found itself to Brovsky but the rookie was able to control the ball and could not get off a shot inside the box. The Union had their best chance of the day when Dunfield gave away the ball in the middle of the park but after some build up the shot ended going wide and the match ended as a 1-0 defeat for the Union.
There were some tense moments and the Caps did not make it easy for themselves but the club picked up their second victory of the season and ended their 14 game winless streak. The Whitecaps won the battle for the center of the pitch, pressed the Union players when they were in possession and also kept a tight defensive game which aided in the win. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon was rarely tested by the Union and Hassli was able to keep his cool unlike last time when he faced these physical center backs from Philadelphia.
The victory was a long time coming for the Whitecaps and their supporters and was the first for Tom Soehn as improves his record to one win, one loss, and two draws. Now the team must use this victory with their strong performance in each of the last two games to build towards more victories as we approach the half way time. The Whitecaps go out on another road trip but this one is to the east coast as they face the Sporting Kansas City and then twice with Toronto FC within a few days. Included in the road trip is the replay of the second leg of the Voyageur’s Cup which was delayed due to rain and stands at 1-1 on aggregate.