After just two games, the Vancouver Whitecaps have amassed one-seventh of the point total that took them to the playoffs in 2012. With a win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday, the Whitecaps showed that last season’s postseason qualification was more than merely a statistical fluke of conference alignment. Despite sacrificing their lead early in the second half, Vancouver showed their resolve in claiming the full points at home.
The home side went up just six minutes into the match, as new Whitecaps winger Daigo Kobayashi latched onto a ball from Darren Mattocks. Catching Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum off his line, Kobayashi lofted an arcing lob over the keeper and into the top corner of the net.
The lead lasted through halftime, but the Crew returned from their dressing room fired up to find an equalizer. Their search would take less than a minute. Winger Ben Speas, starting in place of the injured Eddie Gaven, found Jairo Arrieta unmarked on the right side of the box. As Arrieta fired a low right-footed shot, Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon guessed wrong as the equalizer found its way into the corner of the net.
Eleven minutes later, Kenny Miller — wearing the captain’s armband in place of the injured Jay DeMerit — put the Whitecaps back on top for good. Crew defender Glauber, holding on to a pass from Gruenebaum, was dispossessed by the Scottish forward. Barreling in free on goal, Miller wrong-footed Gruenebaum and tucked the game-winner into the goal.
Columbus would come close several times to equalizing, including Dominic Oduro’s off-target chance in stoppage time, but the home side held on for the 2-1 victory. With the win, Vancouver now sits atop the Western Conference standings after two weekends, while the Crew are lumped with six other Eastern Conference sides at three points.
COLUMBUS CREW @ VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
March 9, 2013
- 6′ — VAN/Daigo Kobayashi (Darren Mattocks)
- 46′ — CLB/Jairo Arrieta (Ben Speas)
- 57′ — VAN/Kenny Miller (unassisted)
- VAN (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon; Alain Rochat, Brad Rusin, Andy O’Brien, Lee Young-Pyo; Jun Marques Davidson, Nigel Reo-Coker; Gershon Koffie, Kenny Miller, Daigo Kobayashi (Erik Hurtado/77′); Darren Mattocks (Camilo Sanvezzo/67′)
- CLB (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum; Tyson Wahl, Glauber (Ryan Finley/89′), Chad Marshall, Josh Williams; Ben Speas, Agustin Viana (Tony Tchani/70′), Danny O’Rourke (Matias Sanchez/70′), Dominic Oduro; Federico Higuain; Jairo Arrieta