Philadelphia has a very short history against this weekend’s opponent in Vancouver (7 p.m., The Comcast Network), but the Union could send the Whitecaps a thank you card for the events that transpired during their first ever meeting.
In the 2011 home opener at PPL Park, the Union defeated Vancouver, 1-0 courtesy of a goal in the 77th minute from then forward Carlos Ruiz. It was a game in which the Union made a point to get under the skin of forward Eric Hassli, which worked to perfection. A plethora of mistimed tackles and cheap shots found Hassli receiving an early dismissal by the officials in the 57th minute after a harsh foul on defender Carlos Valdes. It was Hassli’s second yellow after he was caught tripping up defender Danny Califf in the box early in the first half.
It would be the Union that would earn redemption however after Ruiz finished off a build-up fueled by Sheanon Williams. Pushing up from the flank, Williams used a nifty move down the right flank to create space for a cross into the box. His cross was cleared out by a Vancouver defender…but right to the feet of Union midfielder Stefani Migloranzi.
Miglioranzi mishit the shot, but it bounced right to Le Toux who slipped the ball to Ruiz for the game winner.
Poignant too, given the win came in front of a sellout crowd of 18,591.
But here’s the best part…
That victory sparked a stellar run for the Union as the team proceeded to go unbeaten in four of their next five including a pair of 1-0 wins over San Jose and bitter rival New York.
Looking back, one could partly feel sympathy for Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon who stood on his head in this match, making three monster saves, and proved he was truly worthy of being a two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year winner.
But hey, we can’t all win.
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org