PORTLAND, OREGON – Four second-half goals propelled Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a dominant 5-1 win over Portmore United in the first match of the Rose City Invitational Sunday at Providence Park.
Defender Jordan Harvey bagged a second-half brace, while Nicolas Mezquida, Darren Mattocks, and Russell Teibert each scored their first goals of the preseason in a match that saw Whitecaps FC outshoot the 10-men Jamaican outfit by a 21-9 margin.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson fielded a squad composed almost entirely of MLS players on Sunday, including the team's four most experienced defenders in Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Harvey, and recently acquired right back Steven Beitashour.
The only non-MLS player in the starting lineup was Residency goalkeeper Marco Carducci, who at 17 years old is the youngest player at camp.
After a fairly uneventful start to the match, the action picked up around the 15-minute mark when Portmore goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside the box.
The 6-foot-4 keeper was forced to come off his line after Sebastian Fernandez found an unmarked Mezquida with a great ball over the top down the middle of the park.
On the ensuing free kick, a six-man Portmore wall blocked Fernandez's low strike from the edge of the box to keep the score level.
The 'Caps had another great chance just a few minutes later, when Mattocks broke into the area only to see his attempt stymied by substitute Portmore keeper Gariece McPherson.
Despite going down to 10-men early, Portmore opened the scoring in the 26th minute on what was their only real chance of the match.
Against the run of play, Leaughn Williams broke in down the right flank and found a streaking Ricardo Morris inside the area. The midfielder then curled it first time just beyond the outstretched arms of Carducci to give Portmore a 1-0 lead.
From that point forward, the 'Caps took over. They controlled possession, looked dangerous in the final third, and didn't give their Jamaican opponents another sniff at goal.
Two players instrumental in Whitecaps FC's dominance were Teibert, who again looked confident in a holding position, and Beitashour, who was active on the right flank.
Eventually, a deflected Beitashour cross led to Vancouver's first goal in the 31st minute. The ball landed at Mezquida's feet just outside the six-yard box and the Uruguayan smashed it on a half-volley into the top left corner of the goal.
Vancouver picked up where they left off in the second half, as Harvey banged in the eventual winner in the 49th minute after Erik Hurtado found him unmarked at the far post.
The early second-half marker seemed to take the wind out of Portmore's sails, as fatigue began to take its toll.
After a handful of earlier chances, Mattocks finally found the back of the net in the 65th minute, finishing from in tight to give Whitecaps FC a 3-1 lead. Teibert set up the play with a header from midfield, just minutes after he moved up to the right wing to replace Hurtado.
Then, after Harvey scored his second goal of the match with a cross that sailed into the top right corner of the goal, Mattocks returned the favour in the 87th minute.
The Portmore native slipped an inviting pass into box before Teibert coolly finished to cap off a dominant 5-1 performance at Providence Park.
Also of note, Kekuta Manneh and Kenny Miller made their first appearances of the preseason as second-half substitutes on Sunday. Both players made an immediate impact, as Manneh set up Harvey's second goal and nearly had one of his own in the 76th minute.