Vancouver Whitecaps 5, San Jose Earthquakes 0 | MLS Cup Playoffs Recap
From a Seattle Sounders (playoff) zero to Vancouver Whitecaps hero: Fredy Montero scored the first postseason goal of his bifurcated MLS career, and it put the 'Caps back on track at a crucial moment. Crucially, he opened the scoring in an eventual 5-0 Knockout Round victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
Vancouver entered the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs as the No. 3 seed after dropping points in four of five weeks to close (1-3-1). But they still stifled the Quakes, advancing to the Western Conference Semifinal against the Seattle Sounders.
Cristian Techera's 33rd-minute corner kick found Kendall Waston for a header at the top of the 6-yard box; the shot angled right, where it met Montero's dive head-on for the eventual game-winner. Techera added an upper-90 free kick in the 57th, Waston slammed home a rebound shortly after to ice the victory, and Nicolas Mezquida capped everything with a two-minute brace after subbing on in the 68th.
Vancouver advance to challenge Cascadia rival Seattle, who earned the bye with a 3-0 victory against Colorado on Decision Day.
- 33' – VAN – Fredy Montero WATCH
- 57' – VAN – Cristian Techera WATCH
- 64' – VAN – Kendall Waston WATCH
- 78' – VAN – Nicolas Mezquida WATCH
- 80' – VAN – Nicolas Mezquida WATCH
- HEADY PLAY: Prior to the season, Fredy Montero made waves by returning to MLS for a rival after establishing his up-and-comer bonafides for the Rave Green. The Colombian forward tried his best to keep things copacetic, going so far as to avoid celebrating when he scored (multiple times) against Seattle, and repeatedly praising the organization and its supporters. And though his four-appearance scoreless skid helped allow the Sounders to snag the No. 2 seed, Montero came up clutch for the 'Caps … and will face his former mates on Sunday. Expect it to get a little dusty, even as it gets down and dirty.
- WASTON LAYS WASTE: From winning his wrestling match (or was it MMA?) against Victor Bernardez, to assisting the opener and capping the initial flurry with a right-place, right-time rebound, it was quite a day for Kendall Waston. He continued a run of form that included Costa Rica's No. 2 finish in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, a pair of US men's national team beatdowns among the results.
- MARINOVIC MARINATES: With Stefan Marinovic earning a late-season look as lead 'keeper, Carl Robinson's faith was rewarded with a stunning save in the 5th minute, robbing Anibal Godoy of an upper-90 rocket:
Without Marinovic's steady play between the pipes, there's no way the 'Caps weather the Quakes' early attempts to shake an upset out of the action, as an initial half-hour of harassment evaporated after the opening goal.
They Said It
"Listen, we're the underdog. Write us off at your peril, boys ... We know they're a top team; they're the champs. I like knocking champs off perches."
—Carl Robinson, Vancouver Whitecaps head coach
- VAN: Sunday, October 29 vs. Seattle - Western Conference Semifinals (8:30pm ET | ESPN; TSN1/4, TVAS2)
- SJ: End of season