The Whitecaps almost got off to a quick start in the fourth minute when Sebastian Fernandez set up Mattocks around the six yard area. He spun around and tried to get a quick shot off but Aurelien Collin was a bit quicker and he got his foot in to deflect the shot for a corner.
Sporting responded with their own early chance in the 10th minute when Benny Feilhaber curled a shot from outside the box wide of the far post.
Just before the 20 minute mark a quick counterattack by the Whitecaps resulted in them taking the lead when Igor Juliao scored an own goal. Pedro Morales sent a ball from his own side of the halfway line into the final third which the defender attempted to head back to his keeper but sent it over the on-rushing Andy Gruenebaum and into the empty net.
At the half hour mark Morales almost caught the keeper with a free kick sent to the near post but Gruenebaum was able to get down and gather the ball.
It was all Vancouver and another quick counter with six minutes to go in the opening half led to the Caps doubling their lead when Mattocks scored his sixth of the season, and fourth in five games.
Matias Laba sent Morales with Mattocks on a 2v1 on Collin and after a couple of touches the Chilean set up the Jamaican striker alone to beat the keeper.
The home side almost scored another before the half as Fernandez sent the ball to an open net but a diving Collin recovered to deflect the ball over the end line.
Despite being down by two goals and holding the advantage of possession, Sporting KC were unable to generate enough chances in the second half. Their best one came just after the ball was kicked off when Jacob Peterson was sent in a hard shot from the right side of the box that was straight at Ousted.
It was the Whitecaps who came closest to scoring in the half when Omar Salgado was fouled in the box by Collin, earning a penalty. Unfortunately for Vancouver they weren’t able to put an exclamation point on the victory as Mattocks’ attempt from the spot was deflected off the bar by keeper and second half sub Jon Kempin, with a fine instinctive save.
The victory over the Eastern Conference leaders club was their first in six games and first since their 1-0 win over Seattle, who are also atop the Western Conference, on July 5th.
With the win and the three points the Caps leap over Colorado and Portland into fifth spot in the West with a game in hand on the two teams below them.
With only one game left against the East (at home to DC United in a few weeks time), the Caps now have 11 of their remaining 12 against Western teams and it starts next week against Chivas USA where they will look to avenge their loss at BC Place a month ago.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
David Ousted; Jordan Harvey, Johnny Leveron, Andy O’Brien, Steven Beitashour; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez (Omar Salgado 82), Pedro Morales (Russell Teibert 77), Erik Hurtado (Mehdi Ballouchy 66); Darren Mattocks [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Carlyle Mitchell, Nicholas Mezquida, Kekuta Manneh]
Sporting Kansas City
Andy Gruenebaum (Jon Kempin 46); Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Igor Juliao (C.J. Sapong 64); Mikey Lopez, Jorge Claros, Benny Feilhaber; Graham Zusi, Dominic Dwyer, Jacob Peterson (Soony Saad 78) [subs Not Used:Martin Steuble, Sal Zizzo, Antonio Dovale, Lawrence Olum]
17' - VAN - Igor Juliao (own goal)
39' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Pedro Morales)
Shots: Vancouver 13 - Kansas City 13
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 - Kansas City 2
Saves: Vancouver 2 - Kansas City 6
Fouls: Vancouver 9 - Kansas City 25
Offsides: Vancouver 6 - Kansas City 2
Corners: Vancouver 6 - Kansas City 5
25' - SKC - Dom Dwyer
62' - SKC - Benny Feilhaber
63' - VAN - Erik Hurtado
83' - VAN - Jordan Harvey
Thoughts on the early lead:
“It would’ve been more relaxing if we’d gotten the third goal, to tell you the truth. It’s a nice win. It’s a good win for us against a very good team. There’s a lot of good teams out there, and Kansas City is certainly a very good team, very well organized with a top coach in charge. It was a good test for us, a test that we managed to overcome. I believed we could win the game if we did things right, because of the personnel that we’ve got .We can cause any teams problems, and we showed that today. It could’ve been four or five for us on another day, but we’ll take the victory.”
On the first goal:
“It was a fantastic pass, we talked about getting angled balls, and getting guys in the system we play. We play with two wide guys, and try to get them in when Pedro drops deep. It was a fantastic pass, and just a miscommunication between the fullback and goalkeeper, but we’ll take it, we did get lucky on the first goal. Take that out of it though, and I think we fully deserved the victory. It was a good performance against a top team. It would’ve been nice to get that third goal, because at two-nil, you’re never really comfortable. I said to the guys at halftime though, we’ve been in this position before. We were comfortable leading against Chivas one-nil, we went off and we switched off, so let’s just try to learn something today, and let’s just try to overcome that little bit of a hurtle. I think the first 20 minutes of the second half we didn’t maintain the ball as much as I would’ve liked, but again, we’re a work in progress in relation to that against a good team. We bent a little, but we didn’t break, and that was a pleasing thing for the guys.”
How the play of Leveron and O’Brian will affect Waston breaking into the lineup:
“He’s got to do well in training, he really has. Those two were excellent. I left Carlyle out, and he’s been very good. Kendall must be sitting here watching the game today, excited to be part of it. So if I feel it’s right I’ll put him in, but the two guys were excellent today, and when I look at the game tonight, I’ll see what we do when we have a day off tomorrow.”
On why he thinks Kansas City is as good as they are:
“I think it’s vitally important when you’re building football clubs that you have a foundation, and I think it’s vital that you have a core group of players, and Kansas City is a perfect example, so are Salt Lake. You don’t have to spend over the odds to do it, but it takes time. I was at Toronto from 2007-2010, and I saw an influx of maybe 80 odd players, teammates come and go. I don’t want to talk about Toronto too much, but that wasn’t a base for success. I think you’ve got to build somewhere, you’ve got to start somewhere, and sometimes you need to go backwards before you can go forwards. The good organizations understand that, we’ve certainly got a good organization here, and one that wants to progress, one that wants to win, but one that wants to produce young players as well. Me being a young coach, working with this young group of players, it really is a privilege, and an honour day in and day out because they give me a role, and I’ll never question anything from them.”
Thoughts on scoring four goals in five games:
“Yeah, it should have been five in five with the [penalty kick], but the most important thing is we got three points against a very good KC team with four All-Stars, and for us to get a clean sheet, I tap the guys on the back. To get three points on two goals, it was a very big thing for us.”
Did you think Pedro was going to pass to you there?
“Yeah. I mean, he’s a great player and I just put myself in the best position for my teammates and to give them a second option, and he chose it. I think I did well to put it in the back of the net.”
Thoughts on the pass to you for the goal:
“Yeah, I was trying my best to get in front of him and the pass was a bit behind me and I had to hook it in front of me and stretch a bit but as I said, it was a great finish nonetheless.”
Thoughts on closing out the game:
“I think we managed the game. There’s going to be games where we’re going to need to win one-zero, but I think we did great today managing the game, but we should have gotten a third goal, but as I said, three points, we’ll take it.”
Thoughts on battle with Aurelien Collin:
“Great battle. Physical guy. Week in and week out, I look forward to those challenges, and that’s going to get me better in the long run so I welcome the battle.”
Thoughts on the game:
“Great win. Nice to get on the scoreboard in that sense. Really great performance all over, good defensively, and some good goals.”
Importance of winning the game:
“It definitely is crunch time right now. Like you said, people are winning next to us, and we need to keep winning like we did today to keep up with people and keep going up the standings. This was a good start but the work doesn’t stop here. We’ve got an even more important game next week in Chivas, and this will be a little bit for nothing if we don’t go there and get something out of it.”
Thoughts on the defence:
“Yeah, I think we did really well defensively. They had some finishes but everything was almost locked-down and we got them in some good angles, so easy saves for me. That was a nice clean sheet.”
Thoughts on the team beating good teams:
“You know I think it’s both. I think that says something about this team, and the quality that’s in it, but it also says about, we need to mature a little bit. Getting into those tough games, like you said, Chivas away, Chicago away, those games where people are expecting wins, those are not easy games. We need to realize that, and work even harder in those games to get those wins out of it.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Thoughts on the match:
“They were the better team. They wanted the game more. Their guys were hungry, our guys were lackadaisical. We made two mistakes, and the mistakes are one thing, because that happens sometimes in games, and that kind of stuff you’ve got to be able to live with, but it’s our approach in the game. I always say that that’s my responsibility, so I’ll take responsibility, but at the same time, I’ll say that it won’t happen next week, I can tell you that.”
On whether the number of fouls were caused by his team’s physical style:
“That’s a misconception. We don’t play a physical game, what we do is play aggressive. What happens is, when you play aggressive, especially when you’re pressing the ball, things are going to happen. There are going to be fouls, but I don’t think, in any way, shape or form, did we foul more than them, or whatever. I don’t think that was the case. Again, I think we were late to a lot of stuff today because of our approach.”
On whether the All-Star game affected his four starters:
“From a physical perspective, no I don’t think so, but obviously, all four of the guys from the All-Star game for sure didn’t have their best games today, so that definitely has to have something to do with it, I would assume, because they didn’t have any training with us all week.”
On Pedro Morales:
“I think he’s a good player – I’ve seen him on video quite a bit. I think he’s a very good player, think he’s very good going forward, and good in the counter. He can not only find passes, but he’s a guy that can score as well. So, he definitely drives their offence from that part of the field.”
Thoughts on the match:
“I think that, in the first half, we didn’t come out with the correct mentality. We didn’t play who we are, we were on the back foot instead of the front foot. We finally got into the game in the second half and created some chances there, but at the end of the day, we were down two goals by that time, and it wasn’t good enough.”
On whether the abundance of fouls called was a product of Sporting Kansas City’s play:
“We played like we normally do. I think we’re a physical team. I think the ref, for whatever reason, was calling more fouls than we’re used to, but I don’t think we were fouling more than we usual, we were playing like we usually do.”
On whether the All-Star game had any effect on himself, Zusi, Dwyer, or Collin in terms of fatigue:
“No effect. Anyone that says it affects you – that’s just an excuse. Like I said, the mentality wasn’t good enough and we didn’t play the way we could today.”
On whether this was his first time entering a match at halftime:
“Throughout my career, yes, but obviously that was my debut, so not professionally. It’s always tough, because you don’t get much of a warm-up or notice, but I was definitely very happy to get in.”
On whether communicating with the centre backs is the most important part of coming into a game cold:
“Yeah, just getting on the same page. Coming in and getting a feel for how the game is going.”
On whether scouting and review of Mattocks helped him stop the second-half penalty kick:
“A little bit, but to be honest, I think the ref blew the whistle a little early, before I was quite ready and I had to make a quick decision, and that’s the way I went.”
General thoughts on the match
“First half is what killed us. We just came out with the wrong mentality and we didn’t play the way we play on a consistent basis. That’s what killed us today. They came out and took it to us that first half. Obviously, we were unfortunate on that first goal, but it’s as simple as not coming out and fighting. That’s what we do so well, and we didn’t do it today.”
On why they didn’t come out strong:
“It happens every now and again. Whether it’s preparation or we’re too comfortable, there’s a reason we didn’t bring it.”
On the second half:
“We woke up. We had some chances and if one of those goes in early on in the half, then we get ourselves a shot, but at that point, they were up two goals, and were pretty happy just to put 10 guys behind the ball.”