VANCOUVER, BC — The Vancouver Whitecaps beat D.C. United 1-0 in a game that Wayne Rooney and Felipe Martins were expected to headline.
Rooney will probably never return to BC Place in a D.C. United shirt since he’s heading back to England at the end of the season. Felipe spent nearly two seasons in Vancouver before being traded to D.C. Aug. 6.
However, the Whitecaps quickly stole the show in front of an announced crowd of 22,120. In the 18th minute, Yordy Reyna snuck a long-distance shot past Bill Hamid.
Vancouver’s keeper Maxime Crépeau, however, was quick to come to Hamid’s defence. “He is probably screened,” Vancouver Whitecaps’ Crépeau said after the game. “It is a good shot by Yordy, but he has like three bodies in front of him, and I know as a goalkeeper what it is like, he sees it late.”
D.C. United then pressed hard to get the equalizer but failed to make the most of its possession and final-third opportunities. The ‘Caps collapsed their defense just at the right time, which took away their opponent’s obvious goal-scoring chances.
“That’s how we’ve been working if you see in our model of play, we allow the opponent to get wide, but we protect a lot of the central area, it’s part of how we like to defend,” Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “But I didn’t like how we backed off, it bothers me, I want our club to grow,” Dos Santos added.
The Whitecaps tried to hit D.C. on the counter. Ali Adnan in the 34th minute and Reyna in the 41st minute had the biggest chances to double the lead on counterattacks.
D.C. United had 65% possession in the first half, but Vancouver still carried the lead into the second interval.
In the 58th minute, Hamid made up for his first-half mistake with a stop after a short-range Derek Cornelius header. Then just one minute later, Hamid was beaten by another Reyna shot, which hit the bar and stayed out of the net.
In the 75th minute, Rooney’s night in Vancouver ended. The Whitecaps had frustrated the former English national team player throughout the game and looked comfortable in their lead at that point.
“Very good, I thought we were by far the better team, created the better chances and very, very unlucky not to get anything out of the game,” DC United striker Wayne Rooney said after the game.
The forward was seemingly agitated, however, when he came off the pitch and was filmed yelling at the fourth official as he walked off. “Because I have my opinions on the referees and it’s not very good,” Rooney said. So, I feel they need to improve the game – that’s my opinion. I feel like I’m entitled to my opinion. I said a couple of weeks ago; I got kicked, the referees do nothing.”
Rooney was incensed as he felt Whitecaps players excessively fouled him. “All I’m asking for is a bit of protection, and it would be nice if Howard Webb could come to the training ground and let us speak to him over it because I feel it’s happening game after game,” Rooney said. “And to get some clarification, it would be nice if Mr Webb came down to the training game and speak to us.”
Without Rooney on the pitch, however, D.C. had its biggest chance of the second half. In the 85th minute, Luciano Acosta hit the woodwork with a short-range header.
Then going the other way, Reyna once again was just off-target and curled a ball past the far corner. The ‘Caps did not need the insurance marker to collect all three points.
“Any clean sheet feels amazing,” Crépeau said. “At that point, it’s three points. After that, it’s keeping a clean sheet. If it’s against Rooney, even better, it’s a great evening.”
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-3-3)
Crépeau – Adnan, Cornelius, Godoy, Nerwinski (Henry, 50′) – Teibert, In-beom, Rose – Montero, Reyna (Sutter, 90′), Bair
DC United (4-4-2)
Hamid – Mora, Birnbaum, Brillant, Jara (Boateng, 67′) – Segura (Acosta, 58′), Felipe, Moreno (Ricketts, 78′), Rodríguez – Arriola, Rooney (Kamara, 75′)