Vancouver – Eric Hassli’s last goal in Major League Soccer came nearly nine months ago. The French striker then stumbled into a terrible slump, which deepened as the Vancouver Whitecaps’ disastrous expansion season concluded and extended even as the second-year team performed well early in 2012.
On Saturday, Hassli started the afternoon on the bench, and his side fell behind 1-0 at home to the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes. After Gershon Koffie tied the game at 1-1, Hassli came on a substitute late on, and in stoppage time he had two big chances. The first blast went wide, but he made no mistake on his second opportunity, putting the ball in off the inside of the post with seconds remaining.
The Whitecaps are 5-2-2 (compared with 1-4-4 a year ago), and music blasted at full volume as the locker-room doors opened to reporters.
“I would like to say thanks to Vancouver fans,” said Hassli, who talked of the constant support despite his long drought. “They’ve got my back.”