Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC (attendance: 6,685)
The Whitecaps got off to the worst possible start to their two-game total-goal series against the Hershey Wildcats, dropping a 4-0 decision at home. Hershey winger Kyle Swords did most of the damage, scoring a pair of first-half goals, with the Wildcats adding two late markers on the counter-attack to cement the win. Vancouver now faces the daunting task of winning by at least four goals on the road against a team that has conceded only four goals at home all season (in 14 games). This was Hershey's tenth consecutive victory.
The Wildcats, boasting the league's best defence, stifled Vancouver's attack, while playing quick intelligent soccer in possession, and scoring on their opportunities. Hershey's star goalkeeper Jon Busch got to show his stuff late in the game with two great saves in injury time, diving to push aside a header from Rick Titus, and parrying a blast from Jason Jordan. Busch hasn't conceded a goal in three playoff games. Vancouver keeper Didar Sandhu got the start in place of Lars Hirschfeld who was a late scratch with back spasms that started on Sunday. He is listed as day-to-day.
Game two of the series goes Saturday in Hershey, PA, in a 2:00 p.m. PDT start. The game can be heard live on The TEAM 1040 Vancouver radio. The winner of the total-goal series advances to the ALeague Final to be held Saturday, October 13, against either the Milwaukee Rampage or Rochester Raging Rhinos, at a location to be announced.
G: Didar Sandhu
D: Steve McCauley (Nico Berg 60'), Chris Franks, Jeff Skinner
M: John Sulentic (Alfredo Valente 75'), Kevin Holness, Rick Titus, Oliver Heald (Terry St. Louis 45'), Steve Kindel (Dave Morris 67')
F: Darren Tilley (Chris Craveiro 56'), Jason Jordan
21' Hers Kyle Swords
Swords was quick to react, racing in to first-time a loose ball in the Vancouver box from 15 yards with the Vancouver defence caught flat-footed.
39' Hers Kyle Swords (Doug Watson)
Watson at the top of the area pushed it ahead to the far post where Swords raced in and slotted it past Sandhu from 5 yards.
85' Hers Ze Roberto (Doug Miller)
On the counter-attack, Miller slipped it ahead to Ze Roberto who buried it.
90' Hers Doug Miller (Chad Evans)
Evans sent Miller in on a breakaway, and he rounded Sandhu and scored.
Team Shots Keepers Saves GA
Vancouver 14 Didar Sandhu 0 4
Hershey 8 Jon Busch 4 0
Alan Douglas, Soccer Information
Vancouver Whitecaps and Breakers Soccer Clubs