VANCOUVER, B.C. – It was a Decision Day of drama at BC Place, as the Vancouver Whitecaps bounced around the Western Conference standings before a strong second-half showing saw them see off the Houston Dynamo 3-0 to clinch second place in the West and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
A scoreless first half had Whitecaps fans on the edge of their seats, but goals from Kekuta Manneh, Kendall Waston and Robert Earnshaw sent the home crowd into raptures and gave Vancouver their highest ever points total in MLS.
Vancouver took the game to the visitors from the first whistle and nearly took the lead in the third minute, but Joe Willis came up with a huge save to deny Octavio Rivero after some quick thinking from Cristian Techera to set up the chance.
Willis was in action again moments later, getting down to a low Matias Laba drive as the 'Caps continued to press.
The Whitecaps came even closer in the 13th minute when Techera rattled a shot off the crossbar from the edge of the box that bounced down on the goal line before being cleared.
Houston weathered the storm and started to come into the game, winning a couple of free kicks but without really threatening to break the deadlock until Giles Barnes hit a rocket of a shot with eight minutes remaining in the first half. David Ousted did well to hold onto it, however.
The half ended scoreless and with results elsewhere leaving the 'Caps sitting in fifth place, Carl Robinson's men knew they would need to go for it in the second half to secure their much coveted home playoff game.
The Whitecaps upped the tempo and the breakthrough finally came via Manneh, who drilled a low 25 yarder into the bottom left corner past a diving Willis.
It was a goal that moved Vancouver up to second in the Western standings, but the Whitecaps got an insurance strke from last year's last-day hero when Waston rose above two Dynamo defenders to head home in the 72nd minute.
Vancouver added a late third with substitute Robert Earnshaw glancing home a Mauro Rosales cross within seconds of coming onto the pitch.