Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Win over Earthquakes shows off the Whitecaps’ depth

Win over Earthquakes shows off the Whitecaps’ depth

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Big Eric is back.

He left it late, but Eric Hassli’s 94th minute stoppage-time winner gave the Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night at BC Place, sending the 19,271 fans home happy.

First-half goals from Chris Wondolowski and Gershon Koffie appeared to set the match up for a draw before the substitute had other ideas, getting on the end of a pass from Davide Chiumiento before beating goalkeeper Jon Busch with a low shot into the right corner.

The goal breaks the Frenchman’s 17-game Major League Soccer goalless streak, and gives the previously hapless striker two goals in two games in all competitions following his match-winner against FC Edmonton in the Canadian Championship semifinal, first leg on Wednesday.

“It’s like almost six months I didn’t score [in MLS],” Hassli told The 11 following the match. “So, I’m happy tonight, but the most important [thing] is that we won 2-1 and we continue our way.”

The decisive goal came just seconds after Hassli missed another good opportunity after a sprayed cross-field pass from Gershon Koffie. The 31-year-old controlled the Ghanaian’s pass well before blasting a shot into the side netting.

“I think it’s probably the biggest win of the franchise so far since I’ve been here,” goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. “I don’t think we’ve had a sendoff like that. It’s great to see Eric get it, because everyone knows his trials and tribulations. Davide [Chiumiento], great ball – you can’t write a better script.”

The match was Chiumiento’s first involvement in three MLS matches, and he didn’t have much time to make a difference, coming on with eight minutes to play. But the Swiss-Italian made the most of it, and hopes plays like that will earn him more playing time.

“I was disappointed for sure to not start today, and the other games I was on the bench,” Chiumiento, who started against FC Edmonton Wednesday, said. “But it’s the decision of the coach, and it works. We are winning, so I am happy for that – for the teammates, for the staff. But, as a player you want always to play.

“It was good. In eight minutes it’s not so easy sometimes, but I’m happy for Eric and for the win today.”
Chiumiento, like Hassli, started on the bench, but head coach Martin Rennie explained everyone within the squad needs to make the best of their opportunities.

“As you could see tonight, we really played a different lineup to the lineup that played on Wednesday against Edmonton,” Rennie said. “It just shows it’s a squad game and everybody’s got to be ready to play whatever role they’re given in a given game. When you decide to be part of a team you give up your right to what you want as an individual. You give that up to be part of a team.

“The guys understand that and Davide would probably feel the same. He came on and set up the goal for Eric. These guys have to contribute and they definitely did today.”

Still, it could have been a very different game. League-leading goalscorer Wondolowski found the back of the net in the 15th minute with a header after getting on the end of a cross from Marvin Chavez.

Koffie’s headed goal in the 41st minute, which the 20-year-old said was his first with his head in three years, got the comeback going. It’s a sign of a changing team, according to the coach.

“To get the win the way we did, it shows what we’re starting to become,” Rennie said. “It’s a club, a team that believes they can win, even if it’s the last minute, even if it’s in stoppage time. They keep going and they have that belief.”


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