VANCOUVER -- Second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot's goal in the 85th minute gave the Philadelphia Union a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer action Saturday.
Philadelphia (9-6-7) remained unbeaten in three games, while the Whitecaps (9-7-5) suffered their second straight loss, and their first of the season at home.
Hoppenot scored off a Philadelphia counter-attack moments after Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath had robbed Whitecaps striker Camilo at the other end of the pitch. The loss spoiled a valiant effort from the Whitecaps, who played a man short most of the game.
The setback also deprived Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton of a chance to beat his former squad after being released by Philadelphia following the 2010 season and forced to play a campaign in a lower-tier circuit. Knighton made some timely saves, but now, after his second consecutive loss, risks losing his starter spot to former Danish Superliga star David Ousted, who was signed in June.
The Whitecaps were forced to play with 10 men after midfielder Jun Marques Davidson received a red card for head-butting Keon Daniel in the back. The incident resulted after Keon kicked the ball while Davidson was on top of it after a whistle.
The Union player earned a yellow card for the infraction and had turned and started to walk away following a face-to-face confrontation with Davidson when the Whitecap decided to seek some revenge.
Davidson, Whitecaps players and coach Martin Rennie protested the ejection to no avail. Following the incident, Daniel was booed every time he touched the ball before subbing out in the second half.
Despite being shorthanded, the Whitecaps enjoyed several scoring chances, while Philadelphia offered the occasional threat.
Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert had a great chance in the 15th minute as he lobbed a Kenny Miller pass over Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath, but the ball also went over the net, resting on top of it.
One Union chance came around the 20-minute mark, as Daniel blocked Vancouver goalkeeper Knighton's kick, forcing the 'keeper to check the rebound away from former Whitecap Sebastien Le Toux.
The Whitecaps were fortunate not to lose Knighton after he and Philadelphia captain Jack McInernerey knocked heads in the 24th minute. Knighton lay face-down on the ground for a few moments, kicking the grass in pain and was tended by trainers, but stayed in the game.
McInerney received a yellow card for his involvement.
In the 27th minute, Vancouver's Young-Pyo Lee shot over the net after taking a pass from Russell Teibert. Seven minutes later, Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller sent a header wide of the net.
Teibert had another chance 10 minutes later, but he fired Camilo's free-kick-turned-pass from the left flank wide. After eluding two defenders, Miller shot wide from just inside the top of the Union box in the 40th minute.
The Whitecaps lost Miller to an injury just two minutes into the second half.
But Vancouver's scoring chances kept coming. MacMath blocked Camilo's shot from just inside the left corner of the box in the 49th minute after the Whitecap striker had eluded defenders and raced in on goal alone.
In the 49th minute, Miller's replacement, 18-year-old Kekuta Manneh hit the post after MacMath barely managed to get his foot on the shot from the right side of the box.
Manneh had another excellent opportunity in the 68th minute, but MacMath jumped to catch his shot from the top of the box. Moments later, Knighton blocked Hoppenot's shot from close range with his head.
The Whitecaps lost central defender Brad Rusin in the 81st minute after he was hurt blocking a shot. He was replaced by Carlyle Mitchell.
Camilo had another chance in the 84th minute as he took a through ball from Gershon Koffie and fired a shot from close range at MacMath. But the Philly goalkeeper covered the angle well and knocked the ball away.
Vancouver's luck ran out a minute later as Mitchell gave the ball away, fell and then could not get up in time to prevent it from going to Hoppenot.
Notes: Davidson received an automatic one-game suspension and will have to sit out Aug. 3 at Portland. He could face further discipline from the league. ... Whitecaps defender Johnny Leveron was cautioned for a foul ion a sliding tackle in the 59th minute. ... Hoppenot entered the game in the 67th minute, replacing Danny Cruz after he was cautioned in the 65th. ... Vancouver midfielder Koffie will be suspended from the next game in Portland after taking his fifth yellow card of the season in the 73rd minute as he fell near the goal-line, attempting to draw a foul.