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Vancouver Whitecaps Eric Hassli reacts after missing a scoring chance during the second half of their MLS soccer match in Vancouver, British Columbia April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Ben Nelms/Reuters

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.

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"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."

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About the Author
National correspondent, Vancouver bureau

David Ebner is a national correspondent based in Vancouver. He joined The Globe and Mail in 2000 and worked in Toronto and Calgary before moving to Vancouver in 2008. He has reported on a wide range of stories – business, politics, arts, crime – and has covered sports since 2012. More

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