By DAN KARELL
The Vancouver Whitecaps may have some defensive issues, but there’s no doubting their offensive capability.
With members of the original Whitecaps in attendance, the current Whitecaps squad channeled the former team’s spirit with three first half goals on their way to a 3-2 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at BC Place. Pedro Morales lead the Whitecaps with two goals but the wide-open and exciting game was marred by injuries to both Darren Mattocks and Yannick Djalo in the opening 45 minutes.
The win for Vancouver ended a four-match winless run, while the Earthquakes extended their own winless run in matches at BC Place.
After coming out with plenty of emotion-fueled attacks on the Earthquakes goal, Kekuta Manneh put his mark on the match with a brilliant play to give the Whitecaps the lead.
In the 10th minute, Kekuta Manneh was isolated on the left wing against Earthquakes right back Brandon Barklage. The speedy young Gambian sped past his defender and fired a shot that cannoned right back to Manneh off the near post. On his first touch, Manneh opened his hips and shot towards the far post, which saw the ball hit that post too but bounce in.
The Whitecaps scored their second when Mattocks found himself free on the left side to take on Victor Bernardez. After dribbling into the box in the 18th minute, Mattocks performed a quick turn of the feet which caught Bernardez lunging and was an easy penalty kick decision from the referee. One minute later, Morales finished well from the spot.
Only one minute later, Morales found himself in space in front of the box and without much of a challenge from the Earthquakes defenders, the Chilean midfielder fired a long-range blast past goalkeeper Jon Busch to give his side a 3-0 lead.
The Whitecaps predictably took their foot off the gas pedal and allowed the Earthquakes to come into the game. In the 44th minute, Jay DeMerit was whistled for going through the back of Alan Gordon in the box, with the Earthquakes being awarded a penalty kick. Chris Wondolowski stepped up to the spot and finished easily just before halftime to decrease the deficit.
The deficit would be decreased once more in 90th minute stoppage time when a Wondolowski shot took a slight deflection and wrong-footed David Ousted.
Here are the match highlights: