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Kobayashi stunner and Miller steal give 'Caps the win

March 9, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Vancouver Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, BC - A first half strike from Daigo Kobayashi and a second half tally from Kenny Miller gave Vancouver Whitecaps FC a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew in a highly entertaining match at BC Place on Saturday.

With the roof open on a beautiful day, an energetic crowd of 18,078 fans were treated to a gripping match that included endless action at both ends of the pitch.

Post-match interviews with Martin Rennie, Kenny Miller, and Nigel Reo-Coker: https://mlssoccer.box.com

Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit prematch: https://www.box.com/DeMerit

Martin Rennie kept with the same lineup that played the second half of the opening match against Toronto FC. In a 4-3-3 formation, newcomers Brad Rusin and Nigel Reo-Coker both made their first starts for the Blue and White, stepping in for Jay DeMerit and Kekuta Manneh respectively.

Right from the beginning of the match, the energy appeared to be in Vancouver's favour, as they controlled the play from the get-go.

On six minutes, Budweiser Man of the Match Kobayashi hit a beautiful shot from 30 yards out that will no doubt be a nominee for Major League Soccer (MLS) Goal of the Week, finding the back of the net for his first MLS goal as a member of Whitecaps FC.

The next 20 minutes of the match saw both sides produce several chances. At the 10-minute mark, Dominic Oduro had an opportunity to equalize for the Crew, but his effort from 10 yards out went well high. On 19 minutes, Reo-Coker set up Miller but the Scottish international was held back by Columbus Crew defender Gláuber, who received a yellow card for the play.

The "˜Caps almost went up 2-0 on 38 minutes when Darren Mattocks won a race to the ball and sent a low cross into the box, with Miller being the intended target. Unfortunately, Miller was unable to get his foot on the ball to convert the opportunity.

A minute later, Alain Rochat broke down the left on a beautiful pass from Kobayashi and laid the ball off for Miller whose first-time shot was well saved by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum before the rebound fell to the feet of Reo-Coker. Unfortunately for the home side, the Englishman sailed his shot over the crossbar.

Vancouver continued to attack at a furious pace. On 43 minutes, a cross from Young-Pyo Lee landed at the feet of Miller, but his close-range shot was blocked. Less than a minute after that, Brad Rusin headed a Kobayashi header towards goal only to see it rebound off the post as the "˜Caps went into halftime leading 1-0.

It took only moments after the break for Columbus to turn the tables. Just a minute into the second half, Crew striker Jairo Arrieta stunned the home fans when he put the ball into the net after receiving the ball from midfielder Ben Speas to equalize the match 1-1.

The teams didn't stay on level terms for long. On 57 minutes, Miller brought the crowd back to life. After Gruenebaum passed the ball to Gláuber, the Scotsman quickly stole the ball and put it home to give the Blue and White a 2-1 advantage. The goal injected the "˜Caps and their fans with the energy they had in the first half and set the foundation for the remainder of the match.

The "˜Caps continued their attacking momentum on 76 minutes when rookie Erik Hurtado replaced Kobayashi and made an immediate impact on the match. Four minutes after the substitution, Miller was sprung in alone against Gruenebaum. Miller then played an unselfish ball to Hurtado who tapped the ball into the back of the net, but the goal was quickly called off by the assistant referee, as the rookie was deemed to be offside.

With the match in stoppage time, Crew substitute Ryan Finley made a run into the box and fell to the ground, however referee Drew Fischer promptly refuted any calls for a penalty.

The visitors' remaining attempts were held off as the final whistle blew to signal a second straight victory for Whitecaps FC to start the 2013 MLS season.

Vancouver now head into a bye week, returning to MLS regular season play with their first road match of the season on Saturday, March 23 against Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.

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