Vancouver Whitecaps FC secured a 1-0 victory over Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium behind Lucas Cavallini’s commanding header in the 49th minute.
In a methodical first half of action for the ‘Caps, Vancouver opened the 2021 campaign with their foot on the pedal as Cristián Dájome and the rest of the attacking corps pressured the Timbers early, including an on-target shot from distance courtesy of newcomer Deiber Caicedo in the 11th minute.<
As the first half progressed, the Timbers took their time in possession and forced the ‘Caps back to defend their half. An early chance for the Timbers nearly found the back of the net as Diego Valeri’s cross – deflected by Andy Rose – dinked off the crossbar in the 35th minute of play. Maxime Crépeau stood tall in the box to end the first half as he pushed aside a powerful, distanced shot three minutes later, and swatted away a chipped effort in added time.
Returning to the pitch after the break, it was the ‘Caps who displayed their urgency and commitment to find the opening goal of the match as Rose slid and nearly tapped a ball into the net in the 49th minute, resulting in a corner. As Cristián Gutiérrez sent in the corner, it was an unmarked Cavallini who leaped up and headed in a goal from the far post to give Vancouver the lead early in the second half.
While Portland spent the remainder of the match responding with persistence, it was the Vancouver defensive backline and clean sheet performance from Crépeau that sealed the ‘Caps opening-night victory.
Up next is a trip to Orlando, FL for a road match against Canadian rivals Toronto FC at Exploria Stadium. Catch the game live on CTV, TSN, and AM730, with kickoff set for 12 p.m. PT.
49’ – VAN – Lucas Cavallini (Cristián Gutiérrez)
Possession: VAN 51.2% – POR 48.8%
Shots: VAN 6 – POR 8
Shots on Goal: VAN 2 – POR 2
Saves: VAN 2 – POR 1
Fouls: VAN 14 – POR 14
Corners: VAN 5 – POR 2
21’ – VAN – Ranko Veselinović
64’ – VAN – Michael Baldisimo
68’ – POR – Dario Zuparic
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 4.Ranko Veselinović, 15.Andy Rose, 3.Cristián Gutiérrez; 7.Déiber Caicedo (27.Ryan Raposo 90’+2’), 19.Janio Bikel, 55.Michael Baldisimo, 31.Russell Teibert ©; 11.Cristian Dájome (32.Patrick Metcalfe 90’+3’), 9.Lucas Cavallini
Substitutes not used
1.Thomas Hasal, 14.Theo Bair, 18.David Egbo, 34.Gianfranco Facchineri, 62.Damiano Pecile
12.Steve Clark (1.Jeff Attinella 78’); 2.Josecarlos Van Rankin, 33.Larrys Mabiala, 13.Dario Zuparic, 5.Claudio Bravo (15.Ismaila Jome 85’); 19.Eryk Williamson (22.Cristhian Paredes 71‘), 21.Diego Chara; 23.Yimmi Chara, 8.Diego Valeri © (25.Bill Tuiloma 85’), 27.Dairon Asprilla (44.Marvin Loria 71‘); 9.Felipe Mora
Substitutes not used
28.Pablo Bonilla, 40.Renzo Zambrano, 85.Zachery McGraw, 98.Blake Bodily