Whitecaps down the Timbers

Late game push by the Timbers

Late game push by the Timbers

The Vancouver Whitecaps recorded their win of the still young 2009 United Soccer Leagues (USL) season last night with a one – nil win over the Portland Timbers.  The only goal of the game coming from a 63rd minute strike early in the second half from Whitecaps captain Martin Nash.

With the Whitecaps looking forward to the 2011 promotion to Major League Soccer (MLS) [mbv], they’re looking to build up the momentum of a few strong seasons in a row to help carry them up to the top North American league.  The chance of playing in the MLS if they can prove themselves now, is an extra motivating factor for the Whitecaps players.

Wes Knight is surrounded by Timbers players.

Wes Knight is surrounded by Timbers players.

Early on however it seemed more likely that the Timbers would be doing the scoring.  With one of the largest, and most vocal, traveling supporters groups I’ve ever seen at Swangard Stadium they had the best of the early going and after the first 45 resumed controlling the game.  Pinned back into their own zone the Whitecaps rode their luck a little until Nash’s goal eased the pressure off of them.

The Timbers kept pressing, with goalkeeper Steve Cronin joining the attack in the dying minutes as they searched for an equalizer.  However the Whitecaps defense managed to hold on for the victory.

Having missed the first game due to attending a wedding in Victoria, I was glad to be there for the Whitecaps first win.  With the team set to change both league and venue in 2011, it would be easy to start getting nostalgic for Swangard.  However it would be nice to see more turnout for the games.  With the Whitecaps setting a new MLS record for season ticket deposits for their major league debut season having sold 5,000 in 48 hours, seeing Swangard packed would ease any lingering concerns I have over the forthcoming change.

Having said that it was a great night, and a great game.

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