VANCOUVER — Cristian Techera's goal in the 32nd minute gave the Vancouver Whitecaps a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas in MLS action Saturday night.
Techera stunned the sellout crowd of 21,000 at B.C. Place Stadium when he back-heeled in a pass from Kekuta Manneh while being sandwiched by Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez and defender Je-Vaughn Watson. It was the third goal in three games for Techera, an speedy Uruguayan midfielder.
The Whitecaps (14-9-3) regained first place in the Western Conference, moving two points ahead of idle Los Angeles. Vancouver posted its fourth win in five games while Dallas (11-8-5) suffered its third consecutive loss.
The game was the first of three regular season games between the two teams.
Whitecaps captain Pedro Morales, used as a substitute in recent weeks due to a nagging calf injury, made his first start since June, logging 68 minutes before subbing out for Mauro Rosales. Meanwhile, central defender Kendall Waston returned after sitting out a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Vancouver was ousted by Dallas in the playoffs last October. The Whitecaps also succeeded in their quest for a tighter defensive effort after squandering a pair of two-goal leads in a road loss to Sporting Kansas City last week.
Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted was tested early, diving to get a hand on a rolling shot by former Whitecap Atiba Harris in the 13th minute. Vancouver was forced to defend for most of the first 30 minutes as Dallas controlled play, but the visitors could not put another shot on goal in the first half and rarely threatened in the final 45 minutes.
Ousted prevented Dallas from getting even around the 60-minute mark, bending down to stop a rolling straight-on Michael Barrios shot.
The Whitecaps lost veteran defender Jordan Harvey to a leg injury in the 76th minute. He was replaced by Christian Dean. Techera left in the 82nd minute with an apparent calf muscle problem after dropping to the turf on his own.
Notes — Vancouver hosts the Montreal Impact on Wednesday in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Champion final. Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba is slated to make the trip with the Impact after making his Montreal debut in Saturday's game against Philadelphia. … Whitecaps rookie Tim Parker started in place of injured central defender Pa-Modou Kah (cheekbone). … Ex-Whitecap Harris played right back for Dallas. He was used primarily as a striker during two injury-riddled seasons with Vancouver in 2011 and 2012.
Monte Stewart, The Canadian Press