VANCOUVER, B.C. – A 61st-minute Barry Robson penalty made the difference Sunday evening, as the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 before 20,112 at BC Place.
The Scotsman opted for power over placement, driving a left-footed howitzer into the left side of the goal.
Dane Richards was the man who got things started in the win, cutting in from the right to blast a ball past a sprawling Jon Busch for the 1-0 lead 20 minutes in. Lee Young-Pyo played a big part in the goal, hitting a well-weighted through ball to set the Jamaican up for the opener.
Alan Gordon found the equalizer seven minutes before the half, however. The big man got loose on the back post to head home a cross from Marvin Chavez after beating napping Vancouver left back Alain Rochat to the mark.
The first-place Quakes came out in the second 45 with more intent, but it was the ‘Caps who created the first real look of the period. Once again it was Richards, who came close to adding to his tally in the 56th minute. The right winger cut in from the right, wrong-footing a pair of San Jose defenders before firing just wide of the far post.
They wouldn’t have to wait long to find the go-ahead, however. Camilo generated the spot kick after a Robson shot was deflected into his path just three minutes after Richards’ attempt. The Brazilian went down under a rash Sam Cronin slide-tackle, and after some debate, acquiesced in letting Robson take the penalty.
The Quakes, is as is their wont, pushed hard for the equalizer. But without Steven Lenhart, still sidelined with concussion symptoms, were a forward short of whole.
They turned to little-used Turk Sercan Guvenisik, who came close to grabbing equalizer several times, but never managed to put a shot on frame.
Vancouver, meanwhile, introduced newly signed Designated Player Kenny Miller for his debut in the 78th minute, replacing the active Darren Mattocks. Miller probably should have had a goal seconds after coming on only to see his first touch carom into the waiting hands of Busch after sneaking past the San Jose backline.
The Whitecaps, now 9-6-7, are back in action on Friday, as they host Real Salt Lake at BC Place. The Earthquakes, having dropped to 13-5-4, host the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.