Octavio Rivero

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

MLS Snapshot: Vancouver 1-1 Houston — Beasley, Rivero trade beauties (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Vancouver is a long way from Houston. That could’ve been a problem for a Dynamo team that had yet to see a road point through six games. DaMarcus Beasley made sure to put the Dynamo on the front foot with a goal that turned back the hands of time and, after a shoving match between Alex and Pedro Morales left both sides down a man, Octavio Rivero scored an outside of the foot goal to level things up. Russell Teibert was an artistic passing machine for the ‘Caps, and both Tyler Deric and David Ousted made terrific stops as it ended 1-1.

Three moments that mattered

20′ — Beasley scores a beauty — This run, dribble and finish is something this man has done many-a-time in his long and storied career.

42′ — Alex and Morales trade shoves, see red — No reason for this, fellas.

52′ — Rivero scores an attractive equalizer — A measured, bending shot from a man capable of authoring beauty with his feet.

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Man of the match: Russell Teibert

Goal scorers: Beasley (20′), Rivero (52′)

MLS Snapshot: Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 Real Salt Lake (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Players Real Salt Lake were without Saturday night in Vancouver: Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Joao Plata, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Jordan Allen and Luke Mulholland. With both eyes firmly placed on their US Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday night — and in the midst of a 15-day, five-game jaunt across North and Central America — Jeff Cassar, who was sent off himself in this one, opted to rotate his squad a great deal. So, it’s really little surprise they were beaten and battered, to the tune of 4-0, by the Whitecaps at BC Place. It was shocking, however, at just how easy RSL made life for the Whitecaps and how quickly things got out of hand. With their 13th victory of the season in hand, the ‘Caps remain very much in the thick of the Supporters’ Shield race, where they trail D.C. United by just two points with a game in hand. Meanwhile, RSL sink to eighth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Seattle Sounders for the sixth and final playoff place.

[ MORE: MLS transfer deadline day roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

7′ — Rivero taken down in the box, PK awarded — Elias Vasquez was (woefully) adjudged to have taken down Octavio Rivero inside the RSL penalty area despite minimal contact, and certainly nothing outside your run-of-the-mill jostling on a set piece. Rivero converted to give the ‘Caps and early lead.

40′ — Kah scores his third in two games for the ‘Caps — Pa-Modou Kah, center forward, am I right? Nope, still wrong. This is one of the more hilarious — and Kah-esque— goals you’re bound to see in MLS this season. With roughly 85 percent of the net wide open through which to tap home his easy goal, Kah somehow hit the 15 percent occupied by Jeff Attinella, and scored anyway.

50′ — Techera taps home from close range — “Close range” doesn’t really do justice just how far Cristian Techera actually had to hit Jordan Harvey’s cross to put it over the line. Though, to be fair to Techera, the tight angle was quite difficult and he did well to not hit the post followed by his face.

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Man of the match: Cristian Techera

Goalscorers: Rivero (PK – 7′), Kah (40′), Techera (50′, 68′)

Mid-season MLS awards: Best XI of 2015 (so far)


Throughout the 2015 Major League Soccer season, every week we’ve taken a look back at the previous round of league games and pieced together our very own Team of the Week. Today, given that we’re near the halfway point of the season (depending on which team you use as a barometer), we’ll compile all of those previous Teams of the Week to form an MLS Best XI squad, so far.

[ RELATED: 2015 MLS MVP (so far)All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Columbus Crew SC’s Kei Kamara leads the league in scoring (12 goals) at the halfway point, while teammate Ethan Finlay leads the league in assists (10). Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco is tied for second in goals and assists combined (15).

The full mid-season MLS Best XI is as follows:

Goalkeeper: David Ousted (Vancouver Whitecaps)


Defenders: Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Alvas Powell (Portland Timber), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls)


Midfielders: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City)


Forwards: Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC), Octavio Rivero (Vancouver Whitecaps)


MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps

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The game in 100 words (or less): Sometimes a game is all wrapped up before it reaches the half-hour mark. Particularly when one side has conceded a pair of goals and had a man sent off before the two-thirds points of the first half. When the Vancouver Whitecaps took a 2-0 lead and a man advantage in the 30th minute, their victory over the New England Revolution was a foregone conclusion. Without Jermaine Jones in the lineup (sports hernia operation), the Revolution looked direction-less and uninspired once again. They’re still second in the Eastern Conference (because who is going to catch them?), but there’s a distinct “Jermaine or nothing” vibe to this team. Meanwhile, the Whitecaps are very much alive in the Supporters’ Shield race, three points behind D.C. United with two games in hand.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 17 ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Techera pounces on a mistake in the box — Mauro Rosales sent the right-sided cross into the Revs’ penalty area, where London Woodberry attempted a cushioned header to teammate Scott Caldwell, but missed his target badly. Cristian Techera was lurking close by and pounced on the loose ball and put the ‘Caps on the board.

29′ — PK, red card after Farrell takes down Techera — Andrew Farrell, somehow, caught up to Techera inside the Revs’ penalty area, but upon doing so wrapped his arm around the diminutive Uruguayan who went down to draw the penalty. Farrell was sent off for denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

31′ — Rivero converts the PK, gives ‘Caps 2-0 lead — Octavio Rivero stepped up to the penalty spot, where he bagged his seventh goal of the season and his first since May 9.

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Man of the match: Cristian Techera — Not only did he score the game’s opening goal, but Techera was quite the nightmare for the entire Revs backline all night long, as evidenced in winning the penalty and getting Farrell sent off.


New England Revolution: Shuttleworth, Woodberry (Alston 46′), Farrell, Goncalves, Tierney, Kobayashi (Rowe 62′), Caldwell, Bunbury, Nguyen (Agudelo 77′), Fagundez, Davies

Goals: Bunbury (84′)

Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted, Beitashour, Parker, Kah, Harvey, Laba, Flores, Techera, Rosales, Manneh (Mattocks 74′), Rivero (Hurtado 79′)

Goals: Techera (18′), Rivero (31′)

Vancouver Whitecaps showing their true capabilities with great MLS start

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have begun the 2015 MLS season with a bang, climbing to the top of the Western Conference rankings and holding the highest point total in the league after five games.

We once saw the Caps as a legitimate threat in the West when they seized a playoff spot by finishing in fifth place in 2012, when both Camilo Sanvezzo and former Wolverhampton Wanderer Kenny Miller were present as forwards.

However, it’s the team as a whole that wins games, and Vancouver just couldn’t mesh the piece together to successfully compete for the postseason in 2013, while their inaugural campaign in 2011 went poorly due to a last-place conclusion.

Could the end of 2015 mark the first time the Caps seize a top-three position in their conference? It very well could, as long as they remain consistent and potent enough on the offensive end to cancel out any major difficulties in defense.

[RELATED: Whitecaps 2-2 Crew–recap]

Manager Carl Robinson believes that performance maintenance will be necessary to stay unbeaten.

“I don’t want to be a good team one week and a very poor team the next two or three weeks. It’s about consistency,” he said to media following a spectacular 2-0 victory over the LA Galaxy. “With young players you have inconsistency sometimes. My job, and my staff’s job, is to make sure we get them more consistent than not. That’s part of our focus here. We’ll enjoy it. It’s one game.”

According to Squawka statistics, the Whitecaps have the best attacking “performance score” (649) in the league, and the next highest total comes from the Portland Timbers, who have netted a sum of goals tied for third in MLS.

Robinson’s side acquired the skills of the game-changing scoring forward Octavio Rivero in December, and since playing in Uruguay for the majority of his young career, the 23-year-old was not highly touted coming to America.

But so far, he’s demonstrated his worth magnificently to a squad that lacked a dangerous forward in their failed quest to hit the playoff mark a season ago. Rivero has five goals in six contests and is currently the top scorer in MLS.

Although his individual ability in recent weeks has drawn widespread attention, the Caps have enjoyed above average performances from several other players, most notably midfielder Pedro Morales, the ex-Malaga man rivaling Rivero’s substantial impact.

Without Morales, the Whitecaps’ midfield would not function as dynamically, and no doubt, he would serve as a major piece to any MLS team’s aspirations for the Cup.

In cohesion with the Chilean, the rest of the squad have done their parts; Kendall Watson and Matias Laba have put in great defensive work, Nicolas Mezquida has ramped up 1-on-1 pressure and Kekuta Manneh has provided a considerable attacking spark.

Even against the Columbus Crew, despite falling a goal behind twice, Vancouver managed to fight back after both sequences, and showcased a focused winning resolve that disappeared at times in 2014.

Given the severe fluctuations in America’s top-flight, we don’t know whether or not the Caps end up faltering this year. Right now, they’re on fire, but heading into San Jose having just played a match on Wednesday, failing to get points would not come as a huge surprise.

The Whitecaps’ responses to losing scenarios will ultimately determine the path their season takes.