Long Tan's 1st MLS goal gives Whitecaps win

Long Tan's first Major League Soccer goal gave the Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Wednesday.
Vancouver Whitecaps' John Thorrington, left, and D.C. United's Blake Brettschneider, right, fight for control of the ball as Whitecaps' Carlyle Mitchell looks on during the first half in Vancouver on Wednesday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Long Tan's first Major League Soccer goal gave the Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Wednesday.

The expansion Whitecaps, long since eliminated from the playoffs, posted their second straight victory. They improved to 6-16-10 with two games remaining in their first MLS season.

D.C. (9-11-11) suffered its third consecutive loss and saw its wild card playoff chances reduced with three games remaining.

Tan, the first and only Chinese-born player to play in MLS, put the Whitecaps ahead 2-0 in the 47th minute as he headed in Alain Rochat's cross.

Camilo scored in the first minute for the Whitecaps while Brandon McDonald replied in the 58th for United.

Vancouver coach Tommy Soehn elected to go with strikers Camilo and Tan again after they were effective in a 3-0 win over an undermanned Salt Lake squad a week earlier. Consequently, star striker Eric Hassli started the game on the bench before replacing Tan in the second half.

Hassli returned following a one-game suspension for receiving eight yellow cards on the season.

The Whitecaps played without usual starting Swiss midfielder Davide Chiumiento, who did not dress after falling out of favour with coach Soehn. Chiumiento, one of Vancouver's highest-paid, had watched the win over Real Salt Lake in uniform from the bench.

The tandem of Camilo and Tan paid off right away. After the Whitecaps brought the ball up the pitch following the opening kick-off, Tan fed Camilo in the box and the Brazilian striker beat D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid with a low shot just inside the post from about six yards out.

It was Camilo's 12th goal of the season and moved him into a share of second place in league scoring.

Hamid stopped a hard Camilo shot from about 25 yards out in the 36th minute and another from 18 yards in the 37th. A minute later, D.C.'s Mark Burch received a yellow card for a hard tackle on the little Brazilian.

McDonald brought United back within a goal at 2-1 in the 58th minute. Moving into the Vancouver box from his usual defender post, he headed in second-half substitute Santino Quaranta's free kick.

D.C. pressed late in the game, but could not produce the equalizer.

United closed out its road schedule with a 5-8-4 mark away from the U.S. capital. D.C. will finish off the season at home against Chicago, Portland and Columbus — the three teams it is battling for a playoff berth.

The Whitecaps will play their final road game at Dallas on Saturday and then wrap up their first season at home against Colorado on Oct. 22.

Meanwhile, Whitecaps co-owner Steve Nash spoke to reporters at half-time and called for the Whitecaps to show better results next season.

"I think we've got to improve our roster," said Nash.

He said the club could use more quality and depth after trying to build an expansion team "on the fly."

"We've had some injuries, we've had some bad luck, we've had some games that could have gone our way that didn't," he said. "We feel proud for our guys, but there's not a team in this league that you can say isn't trying to improve their roster."

Noting the Whitecaps have a strong nucleus, he declined to say where, specifically, the team needs to improve.

"I don't want to sit here and start being critical of players or the roster. … It's a matter of what's out there."

The NBA star said he wasn't consulted before the Whitecaps fired former coach Teitur Thordarson in late May, but he still supports the decision. Everyone in the front office, he added, is excited about the pending arrival of new coach Martin Rennie and looks forward to him putting his mark on the club.

"We've chosen a direction and we're excited to see him come in and create his own culture and a winning atmosphere," said Nash.

D.C. played without top scorer Dwayne De Rosario, who did not make the trip west after playing for Canada in a World Cup qualifying match Tuesday in Toronto against Puerto Rico.

De Rosario avoided a rare hat-trick which would have seen him play for three different teams in Vancouver this season. The 33-year-old from Toronto played the season opener for Toronto FC in March and then, following an April trade, dressed for the New York Red Bulls in May before another deal sent him to D.C. in June.