Photo courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
VANCOUVER – With a combined eight goals in the first two meetings of the season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and the Portland Timbers 2 could not muster a goal for much of Sunday’s match at UBC Thunderbird Stadium. WFC2 finally cashed in during the closing minutes as Daniel Haber tallied in the 87th minute to give his side a 1-0 victory. Western Conference-leading Vancouver improves to 8-2-4 (28 points) and is now fourth points ahead of second-place Sacramento Republic FC (7-3-3, 24 points). WFC2 is now 4-1-2 at home. Portland is 5-8-2 (17 points) overall and 1-4-1 on the road. Vancouver officially wins the season series, moving to 3-0-0 with one more match to play in mid-September. WFC2 has outscored T2 7-2 in the series this season.
87’ – VAN – Daniel Haber (Fatawu Safiu)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. The lone goal on Sunday eventually panned out for a Vancouver side that did create the brunt of chances for much of the match. In the 87th minute, WFC2 broke through the T2 defense down the right side, with Fatawu Safiu crossing to the middle of the box and Daniel Haber slotting into the left of the frame for the 1-0 lead. It was Haber’s fourth goal of the season.
2. For a Cascadia matchup, the start lacked the juice and intensity that most previous outings have had. Chances were few and far between throughout the first 45 minutes. Vancouver tended to gain the closer opportunities near the frame. Ben McKendry’s 17th-minute rocket just missed the upper left corner and Daniel Haber’s 39th-minute attempt from the left was turned away by Portland goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. McIntosh does deserve some credit for his alertness throughout the opening half. He rushed off of his line in several instances to break up some potential WFC2 scoring opportunities. McIntosh’s save against Haber also came at a crucial point as Portland was playing with 10 men – Nick Besler suffered an injury a few minutes before and eventual sub Seth Casiple did not enter until the 40th minute.
3. The absence of scoring punch certainly stemmed from the absence of several players heading in. The most obvious missing in action was Vancouver captain Kyle Greig, who was serving a one-game suspension because of yellow card accumulation. Greig is enjoying a career year with 10 goals in 13 games played, and he had tallied in each of Vancouver’s previous 3-1 wins against Portland earlier this season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Daniel Haber, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – Haber tallied the lone goal as Vancouver found just enough offense to make do with the absence of leading goal-scorer Kyle Greig.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at OKC Energy FC – June 25, 8 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium
Portland Timbers 2 at Saint Louis FC – June 25, 8:30 p.m. ET, World Wide Technology Soccer Park