Make it three goals in three games for Octavio Rivero.
The first-year striker scored a superb diving header in stoppage time to lead Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-1L-0D) to a 1-0 win over Orlando City SC (1W-1L-1D) Saturday night at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
Rivero’s winner, which came moments after David Ousted saved a Cyle Larin breakaway, propelled the ‘Caps to their second straight victory and clean sheet away from home.
This is the first time Whitecaps FC have won their first two road matches of an MLS season – and only the third time they’ve won consecutive road matches since joining MLS.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made three changes to his starting lineup after last weekend’s win over Chicago Fire. Diego Rodriguez, Gershon Koffie, and Nicolas Mezquida drew into the squad, replacing Pa-Modou Kah, Russell Teibert and an injured Mauro Rosales.
It was the first start of the year for all three players – and for Rodriguez, his first-ever MLS regular season appearance. Rodriguez and centre back partner Kendall Waston came up big for the ‘Caps, combining for 15 clearances, three interceptions and two blocks.
There wasn’t much happening either way in the early stages of Saturday’s match. Orlando controlled 60 per cent of possession and showed some promising build-up play, but didn’t really have a sniff at goal. Vancouver, on the other hand, defended well and had the better chances to score.
Rivero had Vancouver’s two best chances, including a breakaway in the 34th minute. But goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts rushed off his line to make the save. Less than a minute later, Rivero beat Ricketts but smashed a half volley off the crossbar from in tight.
Pedro Morales, who set up Rivero’s first attempt with a perfect throughball, also came close in the 38th minute but sent a first-time effort just wide from the top of the box.
It was a decent half for the visiting ‘Caps, despite picking up three yellow cards.
After a relatively quiet first half, Kaká began to cause some problems after the break. The 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year blasted a strike wide in the 55th minute and curled in a dangerous free kick minutes later that striker Pedro Ribeiro headed just over the goal.
Ribeiro came close again in the 70th minute with a curling strike that sailed just over the goal.
He was also forced to make his third sub a few minutes later, when Jordan Harvey replaced an injured Sam Adekugbe. But it was Rivero who played the role of hero for the second straight match – this time in stoppage time moments after Ousted denied a Larin breakaway.
The 23-year-old Uruguayan met a Morales free kick with a diving header in the 96th minute to secure the victory and hand Orlando their first loss of the season. Rivero becomes the first Whitecaps FC player to score in his first three MLS matches.
After back-to-back road wins, the ‘Caps return to BC Place next Saturday for a much-anticipated Cascadia derby with rival Portland Timbers. Limited tickets are still available.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Octavio Rivero
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez