Vancouver, British Columbia, April 26, 2015 – Chris Rolfe’s second-half goal was the difference as D.C. United won their first-ever game at B.C. Place over the Vancouver Whitecaps in their 2-1 win last night.
United (4-1-2, 14 points) extended their unbeaten run to five matches and also matched their best-ever start to a season through seven matches (2006) and maintain their top of the East standing with New England. Vancouver (5-3-1, 16 points) still remains atop the Western Conference in spite of the defeat.
The match couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the Black-and-Red when the home side scored in just the second minute of play. Midfielder Pedro Morales coolly finished off a cross from Steven Beitashour to stake the Whitecaps to the early lead. However, United responded just seven minutes later when Bobby Boswell finished off a nice cross from Michael Farfan to level the match at 1-1.
United nearly took the lead in the 39th minute when Fabian Espindola, making his season-debut from his six-match ban to start the season, slipped a pass to Farfan and his cheeky chip attempt floated over helpless Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted and just over the crossbar. Three minutes after that narrow miss, the match would change in United’s favor. Midfieler Matias Laba, already on a yellow card, hauled down Espindola just as he was crossing midfield and was given a second yellow card and subsequent red card that sent Vancouver down to ten men.
With the advantage United almost doubled the lead just minutes into the second half. Ousted made a pair of saves on Espindola and Rolfe in quick succession that should have given United the lead. Seconds after the save on Rolfe, the Whitecaps nearly took the lead themselves when Mario Rosales managed to carve out some space and sent his curling shot off the far post. In the scramble for the rebound, United defender Sean Franklin appeared to collide into goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra as the rebound was cleared away. Dykstra, starting for the second straight game in place of starter Bill Hamid, came up limping and had to be replaced by third-string goalkeeper Travis Worra.
After that amazing flurry of play it was United who would regain control of the match in the 64th minute when Chris Rolfe fired home a rebound shot in the 64th minute. Rolfe began the play with a long run through the heart of the Vancouver midfield and laid a ball off the Chris Pontius making a diagonal run just inside the penalty area. Whitecaps defender Steven Beitashour did well to tackle the ball off of Pontius but it fell right into the path of Rolfe who used the outside of his right foot to fire the ball past Ousted for his second goal of the season.
Even though the Whitecaps were down a man, you wouldn’t know it with the way they carried themselves and they nearly grabbed the equalizer on numerous occasions only to see poor finishing and poor execution of plays down the stretch, which included a lengthy six minutes of stoppage time. United dug in and came out with their second road win of the season and now will head home for a season-long three game home stand which begins on Saturday night when they welcome Columbus Crew SC into town.
- Taylor Kemp and Davy Arnaud were both left out of the squad for illness and a slight groin injury respectively. Chris Korb and Michael Farfan started in their place.
- With Espindola back in the lineup, it was Jairo Arrieta that went to the bench and Rolfe started up top with Pontius moving to the left flank.
- United midfielder Miguel Aguilar was left back in Washington, D.C. because of travel visa issues with Canada. Aguilar played 90 minutes midweek with the Richmond Kickers and helped them to a victory over Red Bulls II in USL action.