Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7W-8L-5D) suffered a 3-1 road defeat as D.C. United (3W-7L-5D) opened brand-new Audi Field on Saturday evening.
Alphonso Davies scored the ‘Caps lone goal late, blasting in a long wonder-strike for his third tally of the season after outmuscling a number of D.C. United defenders.
It was D.C.’s night, however. Paul Arriola led the way with a pair of second-half goals, after Yamil Asad gave them the lead in the opening half-hour. Former Everton and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney made his highly-anticipated MLS debut as a second-half substitute, registering an assist on the third goal.
D.C. went ahead in the 26th minute on a broken play. Zoltán Stieber recovered a blocked cross at the top of the box, then picked out Asad for a long-distance shot from centre that floated into the top-right corner of the Vancouver net.
The ‘Caps had a number of chances to equalize.
First, it was Kei Kamara latching on to a Marcel de Jong free kick with one of his trademarked headers, but the attempt banged off the crossbar in the 32nd minute. Then just minutes before halftime, José Aja nodded one wide of the far post after drawing former ‘Caps goalkeeper David Ousted off his line. Doneil Henry had a header of his own early in the second frame, redirecting Felipe’s corner kick but the ball bounced outside of the right post.
The home side padded their lead in the 69th minute on a well-executed sequence of one-touch passing between Rooney, Asad, and Stieber, setting up a finish from Arriola. ‘Caps goalkeeper Brian Rowe got his leg on the attempt but the ball found the back of the net.
Arriola put the match away when he found space down the middle and launched a long strike in the 80th minute to make the score, 3-0.
Davies spoiled the D.C. United clean sheet when he got off a rocket despite being hounded by as many as four defenders for the final 3-1 score.
Whitecaps FC continue their road trip on Wednesday, July 18 when they kick off Canadian Championship play with the semifinal first leg against Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.