Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Soehn endures an unhappy return as DeRo and D.C. United crush the Whitecaps

Soehn endures an unhappy return as DeRo and D.C. United crush the Whitecaps

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Vancouver coach Tom Soehn’s return to D.C. certainly didn’t go as he would have liked.

Chris Pontius scored twice for D.C. United and rookie Joe Willis saved the day in goal, as the Whitecaps fell 4-0 at RFK Stadium.

After a strong performance at home last weekend, the Whitecaps sputtered away from Empire Field once again, remaining winless on the road.

“We spent a lot of time this week talking about the job we did against Chicago at home, and how we did the little things,” Vancouver coach Soehn said after the game. “We worked, we competed. All those things, [and] more are required on the road. And I thought today we let ourselves down in that category.”

On the plus side, the Whitecaps were able to send out captain Jay DeMerit in the starting lineup, along with John Thorrington, both finally healthy after lengthy bout of fitness woes.

It took the Canadian side a good 20 minutes to find their feet at RFK Stadium, and while D.C. had the majority of the possession, scoring chances were limited to long-range blasts from Scarborough Ont. native Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius.

After absorbing the D.C. pressure, Vancouver pulled themselves back into the game, looking more composed in the final third. The Whitecaps missed a glorious chance to take the lead in the 40th minute.

Camilo fired in a free kick that forced an excellent save from Willis, who got a hand on the goal-bound shot and directed it on to the bar. The ball kicked around in the box and, somehow, a Whitecaps’ player couldn’t direct it on frame.

Tom Soehn PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/PAUL GIAMOU
Tom Soehn PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/PAUL GIAMOU

“He made a good save, but ultimately good teams finish those chances off,” Soehn said. “And if you do, it puts them on their heels.”

The misfortune would continue in stoppage time, as D.C. punished Vancouver for the earlier miss, when De Rosario — who has been MLS Player of the Week for the last two weeks running — danced and created the first goal of the night. Swarmed by three Whitecap defenders, the Canadian international somehow made his way past DeMerit, sending in a cross that eluded keeper Jay Nolly and Pontius directed into the back of the net.

Two minutes after the break, Andy Najar doubled D.C.’s lead. A long diagonal ball from Santino Quaranta found the Honduran streaking on the right side, and he managed to beat Nolly between the legs from right along the end line.

Soehn cited that sequence – before and after the half – as the changing point, as it left the Whitecaps down two goals on the road.

“We let up a bad goal, in a spot where DeRo gets two defenders,” he said. “We talk about it and addressed it at half time, and I think we come out with some energy and we let up a poor goal up at the start of the half and the rest is history.”

However, there was still fight left in the visitors, and they nearly pulled a goal back in the 66th minute. Jonathan Leathers got forward from his left back spot down the flank, and he sent in a teasing cross to an open Eric Hassli. The Frenchman couldn’t beat Willis, how met Hassli’s shot with a sliding save.

From there, it continued to go downhill for Vancouver, and D.C.‘s attack was relentless. In the 70th minute, Pontius struck again as United hit on the counter. A shot from midfielder Stephen King was redirected back to Pontius, who roofed a shot in off the crossbar to give D.C. a 3-0 lead.

With Vancouver stretched, King added the game’s fourth, taking a feed from De Rosario at the top of the box, cutting into space, and beating Nolly to round out the scoring, and send Vancouver on a long plane ride back home.

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