VANCOUVER, B.C – The Whitecaps faced the MLS western conference basement tenants Chivas USA on Wednesday night at BC Place Stadium. Newly appointed coach Jose Luis Real was looking for his first win as the Chivas gaffer but it was not to be as the Whitecaps scored 3-unanswered goals with the help of a brace from Camilo Sanvezzo to defeat Chivas 3-1 in front of 16, 130 spectators.
Chivas USA had not won an MLS match since defeating the Whitecaps 2-1 on March 30 in Carson, California. However they got off to a fantastic start with an early goal on 7 minutes.
Carlos Alvarez found Tristan Bowen inside the box and the attacking midfielder fired a bullet past the outstretched hand of Brad Knighton to the top left corner of the net. Jordan Harvey gave Bowen too much time and space and the 22 year-old native of California made Vancouver pay.
The centre half deprived Whitecaps had a scare when Johnny Leveron took an elbow to the head from Carlos Alvarez on 40′ and was down on the pitch for a few minutes. The Whitecaps medical team attended to him and Leveron, to everyone’s relief, was able to continue on for the rest of the match. Chivas USA midfielder Carlos Alvarez was awarded a yellow card from referee Ismail Elfath as the Honduran international had to receive 3 stitches above his eye at half-time to close a gash.
The Whitecaps had a lacklustre start to the match and looked to be playing in quick sand up but changed Martin Rennie’s half time team talk in first half extra time.
First Jordan Harvey scored when his shot went off a Chivas defender and past keeper Dan Kennedy. For Harvey that was his 3rd goal in his last 4 MLS matches. Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie was quite pleased with Harvey’s ability to get forward and help out on offense.
“I think he is continuing to get into good positions and I think he was also involved in the third goal. He has a great work ethic, fantastically fit, he can go up and down that line all day and we encourage him to get forward.”
Camilo scored his first goal of the evening on a spectacular individual effort, after taking a pass from Russell Teibert and waltzing into the Chivas box. The Brazilian absolutely schooled Chivas defender Mario de Luna to get past him and then fired a low shot inside the far right side of the net past Kennedy. Camilo has been the most dangerous attacking player for the Whitecaps all season, and Chivas did an absolutely shambolic job of stopping him once Teibert fed him the ball.
Vancouver did a great job of keeping pressure on Chivas USA in the 2nd half and did not sit back to protect their slim one goal advantage. Kenny Miller had a terrific opportunity to put the Whitecaps up 3-1 in the 72′ when Camilo sent a lovely pass across the Chivas box towards him. Miller was a late to the ball and was unable to convert.
Chivas was unable to get anything that looked threatening on keeper Brad Knighton in the 2nd forty-five and despite using all three of his substitutions before the 75 minute mark Jose Luis Real’s team made it far to easy on the Whitecaps back line throughout the last 60′ of the match. Chivas coach Jose Luis Real did not his displeasure following the match.
“I’m not at all happy because we lost the game in the last five minutes in the first half. We were in good form in the first half but we lost the game in that last five minutes.”
The Whitecaps finally added an insurance goal in the 82′ when sniper Camilo Sanvezzo scored off a scramble and poor clearance in front of the Chivas USA net. The ball came his way and his shot found its way into the back of the net off a Chivas USA defender.
Camilo was the best Whitecaps player on the pitch tonight and could have easily have had a hat-trick. His back heal attempt on goal late in the match was saved by a sliding Chivas defender at the last possible moment.
The creative forward also had an assist on the night and moved into 4th place in MLS goal scoring with 8 MLS goals. The Caps leading scorer had this to say about the possibility of leading MLS in goals this season.
“No…I think it’s too late into the season.”
Vancouver was sleeping walking for much of the 1st half but when the Caps woke they came to play and easily dispatched Chivas USA. A slow start for Martin Rennie’s boys is concerning but their ability to flip the switch and score goals at home is a big reason why they are now 5-0-3 at BC Place Stadium.
Notes: The Whitecaps next match is on Saturday, June 29, against DC United at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Chivas USA is next in action on Sunday, June 23 when they host the LA Galaxy.