Whitecaps capture second title in three years

[USL-1] West African imports have played an increasingly important role in the USL First Division, no one more so than Charles Gbeke.

The 30-year-old Ivory Coast native has hopped around six USL-1 teams -- with two stints apiece at three clubs -- ending up a second time at Vancouver.

All he did was lead the Whitecaps to their second USL-1 title, scoring both goals in the club's 2-1 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders in the final.

Gbeke, who arrived from Montreal at the end of June, rose above his marker, USL-1 Defender of the Year Cristian Arrieta, to head in the first goal in the 55th minute and broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 74th minute when he rose above the Puerto Rico defense to head in Justin Moose's cross.

The Islanders, who are also competing in the Concacaf Champions League, had evened the score a minute after Gbeke's first goal when Sandi Gbandi scored on a header.

Reflecting the multinational scope of the USL-1, players from 13 countries played in the championship.

The youngest player was 17-year-old Ethan Gage, who started for Vancouver.

GAME SUMMARY:
Oct. 12 in Burnaby, B.C.
Vancouver 2 Puerto Rico 1. Goals: Gbeke 55, 74; Gbandi 68.
Vancouver -- Nolly, Charles, Clarke, Kindel, Martin, Moose, Nash, Gage, Valente, Gbeke, Sebrango.
Puerto Rico -- Gaudette, Arrieta, Yomby, Jones (Hansen, 83), Krause, Delgado, Gbandi, Miranda, Steele (Jagdeosingh, 89), Atieno, Villegas (Noel, 62).
Referee: Mark Kadlecik.
Att.: 5,822.
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