In what was essentially a meaningless game for an injury riddled Vancouver Whitecaps squad, Carl Robinson's boys walked away with a 1-0 loss to CD Olimpia, sending them into the Sunday's regular season finale on a three match winless and scoreless skid.
Robinson only took 14 players to Honduras, with the Whitecaps desperately trying to get healthy in time for the post-season. It meant plenty of youth in the lineup, and some rest for a few veteran players. Paulo Tornaghi got the start in net, relieving David Ousted, while the backline was comprised of Jordan Smith, Christian Dean, Diego Rodriguez and Sam Adekgube.
Russell Teibert wore the Captain's armband in midfield, and he was joined by Debyi Flores, Marco Bustos, and Kianz Froese, while the veteran Robert Earnshaw earned a start up top, along with Darren Mattocks. How thin was the Whitecaps roster? Well, at the end of the match, once all substitutions were used, only backup goalkeeper Marco Carducci remained on the bench.
Considering the circumstances, it was unsurprising to see CD Olimpia control play for much of the match. In the 9th minute, it looked like the 'Caps would be in even more roster trouble when Darren Mattocks banged heads with an Olimpia player and went down. Thankfully, he wasn't seriously hurt, and would be able to finish out the half.
Mattocks down injured ...please soccer gods, have you no mercy.— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) October 23, 2015
Mattocks would actually be one of the better Whitecap players in the half, including a nice bit of footwork to set Robert Earnshaw up for a chance in the 23rd minute. Paulo Tornaghi was also busy in the half, being called up to make a few clearances as Olimpia pushed for the opening goal. However, the 'Caps were able to hold down the fort, and it remained scoreless after 45 minutes of play.
In the second half, Gershon Koffie came on for Mattocks, as Robinson was forced to go to his bench early. It was further compounded when Deybi Flores was banged up in the 61st minute and forced to come off. He was replaced by Tim Parker.
Olimpia would open the scoring just about seven minutes later, when Nestor Martinez unleashed a beautiful free kick that beat Tornaghi and found the back of the net.
The Whitecaps would try and equalize, but it was nothing doing as CD Olimpia was able to keep Vancouver at bay and off the scoresheet in a 1-0 victory. You can't be too hard on the 'Caps, who were facing an uphill battle with their thin roster and perhaps even battling a lack of motivation. A 3-0 loss to Seattle last month meant the Whitecaps were already eliminated from CONCACAF play, and therefore there wasn't a whole lot to play for, besides pride.
Still, the youthful squad were able to put forth a gritty, hard working performance, and were only undone by a highlight reel goal. It's not totally inspiring to see the Whitecaps continue to have trouble scoring goals, but I'm putting far much more stock in the regular season finale against Houston this weekend.