Kei Kamara scored two goals, including a crucial second-half tally, as the Vancouver Whitecaps edged the visiting Chicago Fire 3-2 on Saturday night.
The Whitecaps (7-7-5, 26 points) posted their first win in three games while the Fire (6-8-5, 23 points) saw their unbeaten streak end at five games.
Jordon Mutch, with his first MLS marker, also scored for the Whitecaps.
Nemanja Nikolic and Tony Tchani, a former Whitecap playing against his former team for the first time, replied for Chicago. Kevin Ellis assisted on both Fire goals.
Kamara put the Whitecaps ahead 3-1 in the 72nd minute with his second goal, converting an Alphonso Davies pass from the left flank.
Vancouver was bolstered by the return of forward Yordy Reyna and defender Jose Aja after they completed one-game suspensions for taking red cards in Philadelphia two games earlier.
The Whitecaps have long been known for sending crosses from the flanks into the box. However, the hosts took a more direct approach against the Fire, deploying through balls and long lead passes and charges up the middle featuring Kamara, Reyna and 17-year-old Canadian sensation Davies.
The trio’s speed caught Chicago defenders flat-footed and vulnerable to breakaways on which the Whitecaps occasionally capitalized. Yet the Fire still managed to keep the game close by netting some timely goals.
Kamara opened the scoring in the 29th minute as he put in Reyna’s rebound. Reyna triggered the play with a through ball to Kamara. Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sanchez got his hand on the ball as Kamara tried to go around him and it came loose, but Davies pounced on it and sent a pass back to Reyna.
Two minutes later, Davies hit the left post on a breakaway after taking a lead ball from Reyna.
Nikolic drew the Fire even in the 43rd minute as he tapped in an Ellis pass from the end line following some sloppy Vancouver defensive efforts.
The Whitecaps regained the lead early in the second half as Mutch, a highly touted midfielder on loan from Crystal Palace of the English Premier League, took a lead pass from Efrain Juarez and scored on a breakaway.
Tchani, traded to Chicago from Vancouver in February for $150,000 in allocation money, brought the Fire back within a goal in the 81st minute as he ripped in an Ellis tap-back. But the visitors could not get the equalizer despite pressing moments before the final whistle.
—Field Level Media