VANCOUVER - Sleepwalking through Saturday's first half against the Philadelphia Union, the Vancouver Whitecaps needed a spark.
That's exactly what they got from David Ousted.
The veteran goalkeeper's stunning save on Andrew Wenger to keep the game scoreless in the 26th minute shook the Whitecaps to life in what would eventually turn into a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
"I think it was a little bit of a scare," said Ousted, whose acrobatic effort brought raucous approval from the crowd at B.C. Place Stadium. "We knew that they could hurt us. That was a little bit of a wake up call and we got going after that."
Head coach Carl Robinson described the Whitecaps' play as "OK at best" before the big stop and marvelled at his goalkeeper's ability.
"He keeps getting better and better," said Robinson. "I did think it was in ... great reaction save."
Ousted had an interested observer watching Saturday in Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack, and the two met for the first time afterwards.
"It's the goalkeeper union," Ousted said with a smile after his sixth shutout of the season. "You guys know that we always keep together, never mind the sport. He's a great guy. I think it's exciting to see what he goes through in a game and the kind of mental preparation that he does.
"He has days where he makes 30 saves and I just had to make two so I guess I had an easy day."
Pedro Morales, Octavio Rivero and Darren Mattocks scored for the Whitecaps (6-3-2), who won at home for the first time since early April.
After the tentative start and Philadelphia's great opportunity, Vancouver grabbed the lead in the 32nd minute when Cristian Techera sent a ball over the top to Morales, who moved in alone on Brian Sylvestre and calmly chipped home his second goal of the season.
Playing his first game in Major League Soccer after arriving on loan to Vancouver last month, the pint-sized Techera was only on the pitch because fellow midfielder Mauro Rosales limped off with a quad injury in the 12th minute.
"When you least expect it your chance comes," said Robinson. "I thought (Techera) was excellent. I really did. I thought he caused them a problem."
The Whitecaps, who had scored just twice in their four previous outings, doubled the lead in the 44th minute when Rivero muscled a defender off a sloppy back pass before beating Sylvestre for his sixth of the season and first in four games.
Sylvestre got the start for Philadelphia (1-7-3), which has now lost four in a row, after fellow goalkeepers John McCarthy and Andre Blake both went down with injuries in practice this week. A former member of the Whitecaps' youth system, Sylvestre was signed on a short-term loan from the second-tier Carolina RailHawks on Friday.
The Union entered play last in MLS with 18 goals conceded, including 12 on the road, and the Whitecaps made it 3-0 in the 81st minute when Mattocks, who came on for Rivero, iced things with a superb individual effort for his third of the year.
"We were expected to win and there was no expectation for Philly to come out ahead, and that's no disrespect to them," said Robinson. "They're struggling at the moment to get confidence and get wins. It was a trap game and the boys handled it fantastically well."
Notes: Philadelphia's Richie Marquez was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Techera in the 78th minute. ... The Whitecaps host the first leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal against FC Edmonton on Wednesday. The match was supposed to go this past week in the Alberta capital, but was postponed due to snow. ... Whitecaps defender Tim Parker, the club's 2015 first-round pick, made his first start for Vancouver.
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