VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Whitecaps keep their dreams alive after the season, but they know that the battle for a playoff spot is likely to become even heavier in the coming weeks.
The & # 39; Caps & # 39; (11-9-7) recorded a 2-1 home win on the San Jose Earthquakes (4-15-8) on Saturday-evening, despite a late game attack that set visitors a goal and a flurry of opportunities in injury time.
Vancouver is now unbeaten in six league games and is firmly in the race for one of the last three playoffs of the Western Conference.
But that also applies to the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers and L.A. Galaxy. They are all three points apart in the MLS ranking.
Locking a berth after the season requires more executions such as those from the Caps held Saturday night & # 39 ;, said defender Brett Levis.
"That is determination, graininess and blocking of potential goals when needed," he said. "We must continue to hone victories, especially at home."
Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies opened the score in the 22nd minute, moved a pass from teammate Yordy Reyna into Quakes' box and tapped it in the bottom left corner of the net.
It was the sixth goal of the 17-year-old of the year.
Reyna placed another assist in the second half, a passing teammate Nicolas Mezquida. The midfielder took a moment to arrange the ball and then threw a rocket to the top left corner of the net, just out of the reach of Quakes keeper Andrew Tarbell.
Reyna now has two goals and six assists in his last four league starts.
Vancouver coach Carl Robinson said the 24-year-old was once again the best player on the field Saturday night.
"He has created so many opportunities," Robinson said.
Reyna also picked up a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct in the 67th minute – Reyna's fifth of the year – meaning he will be suspended for the next game. "Caps & # 39 ;.
Robinson called the incident a "do nothing."
He added that he likes the Peruvian playing with "a bit of a snarl" lately.
"I think he's playing with an elegance, a smile, a bit of an attitude at the moment, sometimes he bounces the ball, he gets booked – I know that," Robinson said. "But I do not want to take the devil out of him, because if I do, we will not get such performances."
Robinson said that the team's overall game on Saturday was "great". He noted, however, that his players were "a bit lazy" in the last third.
San Jose's only run came in the 91st minute, when midfielder Vako Qazaishvili showed a rebound in the past Caps caps Stefan Marinovic, ruined Vancouver's ongoing search for a clean slate.
Marinovic called the late goal "pretty disappointing".
"We dominated that game for 90 minutes and to give in right away there was simply unnecessary," he said.
The Whitecaps have not posted shutout since April 27, when they made a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.
Robinson said he was not disappointed with the marker, only happy that his team took three points at a crucial point in the season.
"That's the way it's going this year, the boys work hard, but sometimes it's not your day, but it was not our last day," he said.
Many of the Whitecaps now have a few days off for the FIFA international break of the competition. Eight players are eliminated for national tasks, including four players who play in a CONCACAF Nations League qualifier for the Canadian men's team on 9 September.
When they return, Vancouver is confronted with two of the most popular Western Conference teams.
Seattle, which is in the middle of a historic eight-game victory, visits B.C. Place on September 15, followed by the top seed of the conference, Dallas FC, on September 23.
Marinovic said he was looking forward to taking a break during the break and then shifting his focus back to the playoff push.
"First reset, come back full of energy and we will attack those games one by one," he said.
OBSERVATIONS: The Whitecaps outperformed the Quakes 22 to 7 … San Jose midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili now has three goals in two games … Vancouver striker Kei Kamara turned 34 on Saturday and a supporter group made it possible to dress in his national Sierra Leone and sing happy birthday as he walked to the field.