Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Knighton stars as Whitecaps get their first Cascadia win in MLS play

Knighton stars as Whitecaps get their first Cascadia win in MLS play

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The Vancouver Whitecaps lifted the Cascadia monkey off their back Saturday, defeating the Seattle Sounders 2-0 at BC Place in front of 22,500.

Kenny Miller and Darren Mattocks scored Vancouver’s goals, but goalkeeper Brad Knighton stole the show with several high-end saves, especially in a first half in which he made five of them.

Knighton’s first big save came in the 22nd minute, as he got out well to stop Eddie Johnson, who beat defender Jordan Harvey before firing from an acute angle.

The ball went out for a corner on that play, and from that the Sounders nearly opened the scoring through Zach Scott. The defender’s ball seemed to spin off a Whitecaps defender from close range though, meaning Knighton gathered again not far from his line.

In the 26th minute, the Richmond, Virginia, native stood tall in his goal once again, stopping Johnson on a breakaway and then throwing himself in front of the rebound effort from Obafemi Martins.

“It’s just a reaction,” Knighton said of his double save following the match. “I had a very good line to start to cut down Eddie’s angle. It’s just a reaction that you get back and you try to make the other [save].

“We do it in training every single day and it’s just a matter of it happening in a game situation and to be ready for it, and I was.”

The Whitecaps started strongly through Miller’s fourth minute opener, which he took expertly after beating Jhon Kennedy Hurtado one-on-one before placing what would turn out to be the game winning goal in the bottom right corner.

Corey Hertzog, who kept his place on the right side of attack after a fairly pedestrian performance on Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City, played Miller through with a ball over the Seattle backline. Later in the match Hertzog was forced to leave, however, after Lamar Neagle stepped on his foot.

“It’s a big, big goal,” Miller said of his quick opener. “It obviously gave us the start that we’ve not had for a while. We’ve had an early lead and I think you’ve seen in our play for the first 20, 25 minutes, it really settled us.

“We passed it about well, and it was an important goal in the sense that it did kind of relax us a bit. At the start of a derby game it can be hectic, so it did settle us down a little bit.”

Mattocks’s goal in the 79th minute helped seal the win. On the play, the Jamaican got on the end of a headed pass from Gershon Koffie, who redirected a long goal kick from Knighton.

Following his electric rookie season, Mattocks said before this season that he was capable of scoring 20 goals, but it’s been a classic sophomore slump for the forward.

Saturday’s goal marked just the 22 year old’s second of the campaign from his 11 appearances after scoring seven times in 21 appearances in 2012.

“It’s been a hard few months for him,” Miller said of Mattocks. “He’s obviously found himself out of the team and after the season he had last year, I’m sure he was expecting it to be a lot different this year…delighted for him to come on and get a goal.

“He could have had a few more at the end there. We’ve seen in flashes this season what Darren can bring…hopefully that will kick him on and we’ll start to see the best of him this year.”

With this result, the Whitecaps improve to 8-5-5, and return to action on July 14, as they host the Chicago Fire at BC Place.

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