It was a game of firsts today at BC Place.
Budweiser Man of the Match Mauro Rosales scored his first goal in a Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11W-8L-3D) uniform, Kendall Waston opened his account for 2015, and the ‘Caps scored on a corner for the first time this season.
And that was just the first half.
Octavio Rivero added insurance with a 56th-minute penalty en route to a dominant 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes (7W-9L-4D) in front of a crowd of 20,298 at BC Place.
The win, Vancouver’s sixth in a row against San Jose at BC Place, moves the Blue and White into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference and third in Major League Soccer.
It was all Vancouver right from the outset in this one.
That’s been the case a few times this year at BC Place, but this time the ‘Caps made their opposition pay.
Rosales put Whitecaps FC ahead in the fifth minute with his first goal in 50 games. The ball fell to the Argentine top of the box after a dangerous-looking Kekuta Manneh run and he made no mistake, beating Quakes keeper David Bingham with a calm left-footed finish.
That wasn’t the last we’d hear from Rosales on this night.
In the 32nd minute, Rosales found Waston in the box with a perfectly-taken corner and the Costa Rican headed it into the bottom left corner to double Vancouver’s advantage. Not only was the goal Waston’s first of the season, it was also Vancouver’s first from a corner since Waston’s memorable header in last year’s regular season finale.
The ‘Caps controlled 56 per cent of possession in the first half and outshot San Jose 7-2 – and it was much of the same after the break.
Rivero, who came close on a few occasions in the first half, had an early second-half opportunity – as did Manneh, who blew by Marvell Wynne in the 54th minute but couldn’t beat Bingham.
It just seemed a third goal was coming, though, and it did in the 56th minute thanks to a Rivero penalty.
The 23-year-old Uruguayan was hauled down in the box after playing a clever one-two with countrymate Nicolas Mezquida, who was lively again in his second straight start. Rivero slotted home the ensuing PK, increasing his team-leading tally to eight goals on the season.
To their credit, the visiting Quakes did come on a bit late.
In the 81st minute, Shea Salinas ripped a left-footed strike off the crossbar. And Quincy Amarikwa spoiled David Ousted’s shutout bid with a 90th-minute marker, but the result was never in question.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is back-to-back matches against Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC. First, the ‘Caps visit Seattle on Saturday in league play (7 p.m. on TSN1), before hosting them four days later in the club’s first-ever CONCACAF Champions League match.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Mauro Rosales
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Attendance: 20, 298