Whitecaps blank Earthquakes for first win of season

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Sunday, March 10, 2024

Reserves Alessandro Schopf and Ali Ahmed scored late in the second half as the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the host San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 on Saturday night.

Whitecaps assistant coach Michael D'Agostino earned his first victory with head coach Vanni Sartini serving a six-game MLS suspension for his actions near the end of a Western Conference playoff match against Los Angeles FC last season.

Schopf opened the scoring for the Whitecaps (1-0-1, 4 points) in the 74th minute, just three minutes after coming off the bench. A corner kick from Ryan Gauld was headed away but Schopf ran onto the ball and sent a low blast from 20 yards that Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel got a hand on but was unable to keep out of the net.

Ahmed, who entered in the 62nd minute, made it 2-0 in the 86th minute. Defender Ranko Veselinovic sent a long ball down the left wing for Ahmed, who lobbed the ball over a defender with his first touch and broke toward the net. His 15-yard shot found the far side netting, leaving Daniel no chance.

The first half was scoreless, though San Jose (0-3-0, 0 points) controlled 64 percent of the possession and outshot the Whitecaps 3-1.

The best scoring chance of the half came in the 12th minute, when the Earthquakes were awarded a free kick about 5 yards outside the top right of the 18-yard box. Cristian Espinoza's shot forced Yohei Takaoka to make a diving save at the near post.

Daniel made a routine leaping save on Javain Brown's header off a corner kick on Vancouver's lone shot of the half.

San Jose's Amahl Pellegrino, the reigning Norwegian league MVP, had two chances for his first MLS goal in the 53rd minute. His first attempt, a sidewinding 15-yarder from the right side of the penalty area, was pushed aside by Yohei Takaoka. After the ensuing corner kick, Pellegrino put a header from 5 yards out just over the top right corner of the net.

The Whitecaps nearly capitalized on a three-on-three counterattack in the 60th minute. Gauld dribbled the ball from his own side of midfield until passing to Brian White at the top of the penalty area. White's shot appeared headed for the lower left corner of the net, but Daniel made a diving attempt and pushed the ball just wide of the post.

--Field Level Media