WASHINGTON D.C. – A windy and unseasonably cold day in the nation’s capital couldn’t slow down D.C. United from dominating the Vancouver Whitecaps. On April 9, the United squad (1-2-3) earned its first win of the season over the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-3-1). United held the Whitecaps scoreless the entire game, ultimately hosting a 4-0 blowout […]
WASHINGTON D.C. – A windy and unseasonably cold day in the nation’s capital couldn’t slow down D.C. United from dominating the Vancouver Whitecaps.
On April 9, the United squad (1-2-3) earned its first win of the season over the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-3-1). United held the Whitecaps scoreless the entire game, ultimately hosting a 4-0 blowout at RFK Stadium.
Early on, United’s offense and defense emphasized its role. However, the league’s top scorer Pedro Morales (four goals), captain of the Whitecaps, sat out due to a hip injury.
“We were the second best throughout the game,” Whitecaps Head Coach Carl Robinson said. “Credit to (D.C. United). They got what they deserved and we got what we deserved.
“You can use the weather conditions, you can use the travel of two flights it took to get here, you can use missing players, but no excuses.”
Whatever the case may have been for the Whitecaps, they were unable to stop the offensive play of D.C. United collectively. Forward Fabián Espíndola scored two goals, splitting the tallies with fellow forward Álvaro Saborío.
Following 59 minutes of a stagnant first half, Espíndola was able to get a clean look after goalie David Ousted deflected D.C. United forward Chris Rolfe’s attempted strike. Spreading the field wide led to the game’s first goal.
“Rolfe doesn’t get enough credit with that partnership,” United Head Coach Ben Olsen said. “(Espíndola) starts to fade out wide and create plus-ones. Very few players understand the right way to do that. So I thought both the pairing of (Rolfe and Espíndola) was very good tonight. Espíndola played what was there. He played simple when he needed to, and when he needed to pull some magic out, he did that as well.”
United’s possession percentage (54.8 percent) depleted the Whitecaps’ chances of locating the net.
The second half of play was an extension of the damage done in the first. Down two goals, the Whitecaps allowed two more goals before the final whistle. Saborío replaced Espíndola late in the game, earning himself a brace, and scoring two goals in the final two minutes of play. His second goal came in stoppage time.
The shutout victory moves United out of the winless column, leaving the Columbus Crew (0-3-2) in a category of their own. Since the Whitecaps joined MLS in 2011, the United have played them a total of six times with the record standing at 2-2-2. Last season, United won 2-1.
“I think satisfaction is a good word for tonight, and I’m glad we kind of hung in there with that group of guys and continue to grow and not panic,” Olsen said.
The intensity for the United against Vancouver was the same as in its 1-1 tie with the San Jose Earthquakes on April 2. The difference came down to a fast paced, spread-out offense, and by the ball exchanging from two prolific scorers into the back of the net.
“Everybody showed up and did what they needed to do,” Olsen said. “There were no poor performances. Selflessness across the field.”
The United will face off against another Canadian team, Toronto FC, on Apr. 4 at RFK.