Vancouver Whitecaps FC Gershon Koffie, right, fights for control of the ball with San Jose Earthquakes Simon Dawkins during first half of MLS soccer action in Vancouver, Sunday, July 22, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VANCOUVER - Barry Robson scored on a penalty kick in the 63rd minute to give the Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-1 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
It was the Scottish midfielder's second Whitecaps goal in his sixth games with the squad.
In the 61st minute, Robson's initial shot deflected to Camilo but the Brazilian was tripped in the penalty area. Robson stepped up and put the ball in the top corner, bringing the 20,112 fans at B.C. Place to their feet.
Dane Richards scored in the 20th minute for the Whitecaps (9-6-7), who were coming off a 2-2 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Alan Gordon responded in the 38th minute for the first-place Earthquakes (13-5-4), who were coming off back-to-back wins at home.
Vancouver has won just once in their past eight games, but grab sole possession of third in the Western Conference with the win.
Joe Cannon stopped two shots in the win for Vancouver while Jon Busch made one save in the loss.
Richards got the opener when Young-Pyo Lee fed him a great ball up the right wing. The Jamaican beat his man and fired a right-footed blast past Busch.
It was Richards' first goal in Vancouver since coming over from New York Red Bulls in a July 13 trade that sent striker Sebastien Le Toux the other way.
The visiting Earthquakes tied the game against the flow of play in the 38th minute. Gordon won a physical battle in front of the Whitecaps goal and headed home a Marvin Chavez long ball for his ninth goal on the year.
Vancouver began to pour on the pressure after that. Richards had the best chance when his shot flew high and wide of the left post, just after Darren Mattocks narrowly missed a pass from Camilo that would have given him an open net to shoot at.
But when Vancouver was awarded the penalty kick, Robson made no mistake.
San Jose and Vancouver traded scoring chances for the remainder of the game. San Jose's Justin Morrow seemed to have Cannon beat in the 80th minute after the goalie came out to challenge but defender Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit bailed out Cannon with a timely slide tackle.
NOTES: It was the first game for Vancouver’s Kenny Miller, the club’s third designated player. Miller came into the game in the 78th minute for Mattocks. ... Vancouver visits Real Salt Lake Friday, while San Jose play host to the Chicago Fire Saturday.