Taking Their Chances: Whitecaps finally click in front of goal in 3-1 victory

Source: The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward
Source: The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER – The floodgates finally opened for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Mauro Rosales, Kendall Waston and Octavio Rivero scored Sunday as the Whitecaps took advantage of their chances in cruising past the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1.

The three-goal outburst was the first for Vancouver since a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on May 9 and a welcome sight for head coach Carl Robinson, who has had to answer a lot of questions about his team’s lack of finish.

“It’s fine lines, this game,” he said. “We took our chances today. Still probably didn’t take enough chances. We could have put the game to bed a lot earlier, but we’ll take the three points and move on.”

The Whitecaps (11-8-3) improved to 5-4-1 at home and now sit second in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference after the clubs around them in the crowded standings dropped points this weekend.

“We were the better team and it showed,” said Vancouver defender Christian Dean, who started in place of the suspended Jordan Harvey. “We needed the win, especially at home.”

Quincy Amarikwa scored a late consolation goal for San Jose (7-9-4), which has lost four straight in the league.

“There’s a lot of aspects to be pleased with in the game today — scoring goals is one,” said Robinson, whose team also snapped an 0-2-1 slide. “But there’s a lot of aspects we need to improve on as well. It really, really annoyed me, the last-minute goal.”

Rosales’ first goal in a Vancouver uniform came in the fifth minute after some great work from Kekuta Manneh split open San Jose’s defence. The speedy winger raced through midfield before the ball found its way to Rosales, who calmly stroked a shot past goalkeeper David Bingham.

The Whitecaps doubled their lead in the 32nd minute, with Rosales turning provider on a corner kick that Waston headed in for his first goal of the season and Vancouver’s first off a corner in 2015.

“We know that the set pieces are very important for us,” said Waston. “Now the door is open so I hope more goals can come.”

Rivero — who started the season with five goals in his first six MLS games, but had just two since — finally got his eighth of the campaign on a penalty in the 56th minute after being brought down in the San Jose box.

“We’ve been very close to getting three, four goals (in a match), but we just haven’t had the composure to finish off chances,” said Vancouver defender Pa-Modou Kah. “This game was really important for us to get the belief that we don’t always need to win games by 1-0.”

Whitecaps captain Pedro Morales subbed on in the 68th minute to roaring cheers at B.C. Place Stadium after missing the last five games with a calf injury and showed some of his usual flair in midfield.

The Earthquakes didn’t have a shot on target until the 76th minute, but came on late and finally got one past David Ousted when Amarikwa blasted a shot home in 90th minute, his third goal in as many games since being acquired from the Chicago Fire.

“That’s something we’ve got to work on because if we want to go to the top … there’s some certain areas where we have to improve and be more professional,” Kah said of losing the shutout. “When you’re winning 3-0 there’s no chance you should allow a team to go score.”

Notes: Kah sat out the last two matches with a calf injury of his own, while Waston was also back in his familiar defensive spot following a one-game absence while with Costa Rica at the Gold Cup. … Earthquakes captain Chris Wondolowski suited up after playing 60 minutes for the United States in Saturday’s third-place game at the Gold Cup in Philadelphia. … The Whitecaps’ next game is Saturday in Seattle against the Sounders, the first of eight matches in August.

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