D.C. United spank Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 on the road
The Vancouver Whitecaps are still searching for their first away win of the season after D.C. United took them back to school and spanked them hard, 4-0, on the road Saturday (August 13).
Just one game after the Caps were lifted by only the third win of their inaugural MLS season, a 4-2 victory over the equally lowly Chicago Fire, it was back to reality against a swarming United offence that had no problem shedding Vancouver markers throughout much of the match.
In the first-ever meeting of the two teams, United, sparked by forward Chris Pontius's two tallies, star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario's two assists, and a three-goal, second-half outburst, played with head coach Ben Olsen in the stands after he received a one-game suspension for a recent heated on-pitch protest during a draw against Toronto FC.
For Vancouver interim head coach Tom Soehn, it was a failed chance to impress the team that previously employed him for six years, three of them as head coach.
Played in good weather in front of a disappointingly small crowd of perhaps three or four thousand fans (although the official attendance was optimistically announced as 11,738), the match was a lacklustre effort for much of the first half on the part of the Caps, who didn’t even get a good sniff at a goal before forward Camio’s dangerous cross in the 17th minute was headed out of danger.
A few minutes earlier, D.C. forward Santino Quaranta’s skyrocket of a shot from well outside the box screamed past the right post of keeper Jay Nolly, who was making his second straight start. The attempt marked the best try to that point by United, although the home side played most of the first 15 minutes in the visitors’ end.
In the 34th minute, De Rosario collected a long ball from Quaranta and cracked a long, low shot that Nolly parried well by diving to his left post.
The Caps’ best chance at a goal in the first half came in the 39th, after United keeper Joe Willis made a good stop on a free kick by Camilo. The ball deflected off his hands to the crossbar and bounced to the turf, where frantic close-range kicking by various players ended up in a United handball that eluded the sight of referee Hilario Grajeda, who was oblivious to the Whitecaps’ protests.
Then, two minutes into first-half injury time, De Rosario executed some nifty footwork on the right of the box, avoided defender Jay DeMerit (back after missing six games), and sent a ball across the net that Nolly got a hand on but only managed to direct to Pontius, who made no mistake for United’s first goal of the game.
The second half’s disappointments started early, not three minutes in, with United midfielder Andy Najar grabbing a long Quaranta offering after a De Rosario dummy run and managing to squeeze a low ball between Nolly and his left post for his side’s second tally.
The rest of the match was just a formality, although Camilo cut back into the box nicely in the 50th and fed midfielder John Thorrington, who sent it high, and Eric Hassli had what seemed a sure goal saved from right in front after a nice setup by defender Jonathan Leathers 15 minutes later.
The always dangerous De Rosario, who was everywhere on the night, beat Nolly just seconds after Hassli’s chance but watched the ball bounce off the right post.
United’s third goal came from the boot of Pontius, who roofed his second from in close after the ball deflected off a Caps defender in the 70th minute.
Directly after another glorious chance by De Rosario, midfielder Stephen King put a stake through the Caps’ heart nine minutes before time with a left-footed effort that eluded Nolly low to his left after he dove a bit late.
The loss left the Whitecaps deep in last place in the Western Conference, with their next game on the road against the Portland Timbers next Saturday (August 20).