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Match Report: TFC Spoils the Whitecaps Season Opener

Toronto FC came into BC Place and spoiled the Whitecaps 2015 season opener with a brace from TFC’s Designated Player Jozy Altidore

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

It was a joyous occasion on a sunny Saturday afternoon at BC Place that turned sour after the Vancouver Whitecaps lost their first season opening game since 2002 at the hands of their bitter Canadian rivals, Toronto FC, by a score of 3-1.

Carl Robinson made no changes to the starting XI that he presented last weekend in his last pre-season game against the Chicago Fire. There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air and the game started with a very high tempo that saw the Whitecaps create some early chances to open the scoring including a glorious opportunity before the ten minute mark when newcomer and Designated Player Octavio Rivero inexplicably missed an open net tap-in after a nice link up play between Russell Teibert and Kekuta Manneh.

Toronto started to balance the game and they too had a very good opportunity when Italian playmaker Sebastian Giovinco placed a left footed shot that shaved the post of the David Ousted's net at the 18th minute. Only a minute later, Octavio Rivero redeemed himself and opened the scoring with a thunderous counterattack that saw the ball squeak in between Joe Bendik's legs after a wonderful, over the top ball all the way from Pa Modou Kah.

The Reds would tie the game against the run of play at the 31st minute after Sebastian Giovinco got away from Matias Laba (perhaps the only time he did) and placed a perfectly weighted ball to Jozy Altidore who positioned himself in the pocket in between Jordan Harvey and Kendall Waston and dribbled away from David Ousted to put the ball in the back of the net.

The Whitecaps had a good first half. They exploited the speed of Kekuta Manneh on the left flank and they created a few good opportunities through link up play allowing both Teibert and Laba to join the attack more than last year.

The second half was a different story. Toronto FC adjusted their defending and they started to transition into defense more effectively thus restricting the space that the Whitecaps enjoyed on the flanks. The Blue and White also became sloppy in the final third losing many balls to bad touches and giveaways with inaccurate passing.

This opened the door for TFC to go on the lead at the 59th minute when Robbie Findley put away a ball inside the six yard box after he once again found space between Jordan Harvey and Pa Modou Kah. Robbo substituted Russell Teibert for Gershon Koffie and Mauro Rosales for Darren Mattocks in an attempt to bolster Vancouver's attacking and tie the game. Alas, it was all for nothing as Vancouver not only failed to tie the game but Pau Modou Kah conceded a penalty at the 88th minute after bringing Altidore down inside the box.

It was Altidore himself who sealed the 3-1 result after scoring the penalty kick "Panenka" style followed by a rain of hate (and diverse liquids) from the Southsiders.

It was a game of two tales at BC Place with an encouraging first half by the Blue and White followed by a second half that planted some seeds of doubt.

At the end of the day Toronto FC's designated players performed up to par and lifted Toronto FC to a comeback victory over Vancouver. It is still early days in the MLS season so it is difficult to make hard judgments on this team but if the Whitecaps are able to play more like they did in the first half and less like the second, we could be in for an exciting ride.

Player of the Match: With two goals scored, it is hard to overlook Jozy Altidore

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey, 15.Matías Laba (19.Erik Hurtado 83'), 31.Russell Teibert (28.Gershon Koffie 64'), 7.Mauro Rosales (11.Darren Mattocks 65'), 77.Pedro Morales, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 29.Octavio Rivero

Substitutes not used

70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 18.Diego Rodríguez, 9.Nicolás Mezquida

Toronto FC

12.Joseph Bendik; 13.Steven Caldwell, 24.Damien Perquis, 3.Warren Creavalle, 2.Justin Morrow, 8.Benoit Cheyrou, 4.Michael Bradley, 55.Robbie Findley (26. Collen Warner 77'), 10.Sebastian Giovinco (27.Luke Moore 80'), 21.Jonathan Osorio, 17.Jozy Altidore

Subsitutes not used

1.Chris Konopka, 5.Astone Morgan, 6.Nick Hagglund, 14.Jay Chapman, 15.Eriq Zavaleta

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