VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Alain Rochat’s goal in the 12th minute gave the Vancouver Whitecaps a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
The win, the first since the Whitecaps’ season opener on March 19, ended the Vancouver expansion side’s MLS losing streak at a record 14 games.
Coach Tom Soehn picked up his first win since replacing the fired Teitur Thordarson at the end of May. The Whitecaps had gone 0-2-1 under Soehn in three road games.
After the game, the Empire Field crowd gave the Whitecaps a standing ovation in tribute to their second home win. The players repaid the gesture by running around the field and waving at their supporters.
Thordarson’s firing was based largely on the club’s inability to win at home.
The Whitecaps improved to 2-6-8 while the Union dropped to 6-4-4.
Philadelphia missed out on a chance to gain sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference ahead of the idle New York Red Bulls.
Rochat scored after taking a pass from Davide Chiumiento, who made a run into the middle and then passed it to the defender near the corner of the 18-yard box. The ball curled into the opposite corner of the net while striker Eric Hassli tried to get his head on it.
The goal was the second of the season for Rochat, a 28-year-old native of Quebec. It came two minutes after Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit blocked a Justin Mapp shot after he took a through ball from recently signed striker Veljko Paunovic and raced toward the Vancouver goal.
Vancouver survived a late scare in the 81st minute as Sebastien Le Toux’s flick-on during a scramble rolled just wide of the post.
Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon picked up his first shutout and win as a Whitecap. He was rarely tested, but made a nice save on Brian Carroll’s straight-on shot from about 25 yards in the 23rd minute.
In the 36th minute, Philadelphia defender Carlos Valdes received a yellow card for a hard tackle from behind on Hassli, who was on the ground in pain for a couple of minutes. He left the pitch briefly before returning.
Philly has generated one goal or none in 12 of 14 games.
Note: Real Salt Lake holds the record for a losing streak spanning more than one season. RSL set the mark of 18 between Aug.10, 2005, and May 6, 2006.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)