Pa Modou Kah didn't wait long to strike against his former team, sending the Whitecaps to another pre-season victory with a 1-0 final against the Portland Timbers. Kah, who spent the last two years with the Timbers, scored in the 31st minute in what was a choppy, foul filled contest.
Carl Robinson fielded a lineup that could very well start the Regular Season opener against TFC on March 7th, busting out the 4-2-3-1 formation with newcomer Octavio Rivero in the lone striker postiion. Pedro Morales and Mauro Rosales settled into the attacking midfield with Kekuta Manneh, while Matias Laba and Russell Teibert patrolled the defensive midfield. The foursome of Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah and Jordan Harvey earned starts on the backline, while David Ousted took his familiar spot in goal.
First off, the pairing of Modou Kah and Waston definitely lived up to their volatile reputation, both being shown yellow cards during parts of the game. To be fair, all four Center Backs from both squads ended up receiving cards, definitely showing this was not a run of the mill pre-season match-up. In total, The Whitecaps lead the way with 21 fouls, while Portland racked up 19.
Speaking of Modou Kah, he definitely took center stage on the night, with his game winning header coming in the 31st minute.
As for the attack, the Whitecaps had moments but didn't look overly impressive in that regard. Striker Octavio Rivero, whom the Whitecaps have hedged their goal scoring bets on this year, didn't raise many eyebrows and probably should have had a goal. It's still early, but forgive me for being squeamish around the state of the Whitecaps attack; If Rivero doesn't score, who will?
In any case, the Whitecaps have opened up the Simple Invitational with a win, and continue tournament action against Norwegian side Stabaek on Wednesday. The Whitecaps went undefeated in the previous incarnation of the tourney, the Rose City Invitational, in 2014.
I'd also like to point out some terrific observations from some of our regular readers. If you missed the match, here's a nice cheat sheet from NorseLord.
- Was that pitch extra small? Maybe its an off-season of watching other leagues or playing too much FIFA15, but the pitch looked claustrophobic.
- Waston was fun to watch, especially that sprint up the right side of the pitch. Nice passes, and the guy is just a beast.
- Wanted to see more from Octavio, I don't know if he wasn't getting service or if he's rusty. But I hardly noticed him out there
- Loved the chippiness in the match. It did not look pre-season at all. There were hard tackles, tempers, and the match felt like it had urgency
- The team did really well making some amazing long passes upfield, I believe Morales was mostly responsible for those features. Also him moving the placement of the ball on a late free kick while the ref has his back turned was pretty balsy and could easily have earned him a yellow.
- The Great Dane has another shutout...
- Manneh looked good and was a few dribbles away from creating better opportunities, but otherwise good handling and speed
- Hurtado could be a really great purpose sub late in games, the speed and strength he showed last night would be magnified greatly against tired opponents
- I know Mattocks didn't get on until the 75th minute, but he didnt do much with that time. After the match, his body language and attitude looked poor.
- Kah = win, on both ends of the pitch. I am liking the centre backs a lot.
What do we think, Caps fans? A tough, gritty win, but did the offence leave you wanting more?