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CCL Match Report: Whitecaps 1-0 CD Olimpia

Kianz Froese scores the lone goal of the match as the Whitecaps win their first ever CCL match; Vancouver tied for top spot in CCL Group F with a game in hand on both the Seattle Sounders and CD Olimpia.

Kianz Froese (facing camera) celebrates scoring against CD Olimpia with teammate Robert Earnshaw.  The Whitecaps' victory moves them into a tie for first place in Group F with the Seattle Sounders.
Kianz Froese (facing camera) celebrates scoring against CD Olimpia with teammate Robert Earnshaw. The Whitecaps' victory moves them into a tie for first place in Group F with the Seattle Sounders.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

VANCOUVER, BC - The Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated Honduran club CD Olimpia by a score of one-nil to win their first CONCACAF Champion's League (CCL) match in club history in front of 15,491 fans at BC Place on Wednesday evening.

Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson opted for a youthful and inexperienced lineup that was without several first team regulars, including Octavio Rivero and Pedro Morales.  Despite some frantic last-ditch defending in the final ten minutes the changes the Welshman made to his side paid off.  With Rivero watching the match from the stands striker Robert Earnshaw was finally given an opportunity to get his first start of the 2015 season.  Earnshaw's inclusion in the lineup was one of several shrewd decisions made by Robinson to balance the youth and inexperience of the side with talented veterans like Earnshaw.

Coming into this match Olimpia was somewhat of an unknown quantity, and the Whitecaps needed time in the opening phase of the match to settle down against their Central American opponents.  Vancouver had an opportunity to open the scoring within the first ten minutes when the confident Earnshaw attempted a bicycle kick after Nicolas Mezquida delivered a quality cross into the box from the right flank.  Earnshaw was unable to connect cleanly with the ball, and the danger was swiftly cleared away by the Olimpia defenders.

Olimpia themselves then had an opportunity to open the scoring two minutes later when Sam Adekugbe was called for a foul just outside the Whitecaps' area, and the visitors were awarded the free kick.  Oscar Salas stepped up to put the ball into the area, where it was flicked on by one of his Olimpia teammates.  Vancouver goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi attempted to keep the ball out of the net, but could only watch helplessly as the ball sailed over his outstretched fingers.  Although the ball beat Tornaghi it could not beat the crossbar, and Whitecaps fans breathed a sigh of relief as it skimmed the bar and went out of play.

After both teams had settled into the match it was the Whitecaps who looked the better of the two sides.  Defender Diego Rodriguez, who was making a rare appearance for the team, put a header over Noel Valladares' goal in the twentieth minute, and then the Caps were denied a penalty shortly thereafter when Kendall Waston was unceremoniously dumped in front of the Olimpia goal.

Vancouver continued to press and were regularly able to penetrate the Olimpia eighteen with ease, but were not rewarded for their efforts until three minutes before the break when rookie Kianz Froese broke the deadlock to score the only goal of the game.

Forward Darren Mattocks, who was playing on the left flank in place of the incumbent Kekuta Manneh for this match, raced into the Olimpia area, but bobbled the ball ten yards in front of goal.  As Valladares raced off his line Froese pounced on the loose ball and popped it over the goalkeeper to open the scoring for the Whitecaps.

Olimpia came out to start the second half pressing for an equalizer, but were largely held to long distance or sharp angle shots on the Vancouver goal.  The Vancouver defenders, however, did their part to help Olimpia draw level with several instances of sloppy defending that either forced Tornaghi to prevent an own goal, or forced the Italian keeper to make a save after the ball was neatly laid out on a platter for the Olimpia attackers in dangerous scoring positions.

As the match went on the level of physical, and sometimes downright chippy, play increased.  First Romell Quioto left the match on a stretcher after a multi-player collision inside the Vancouver area.  Shortly thereafter it was Vancouver's Deybi Flores who left the match on a stretcher after being blatantly kneed in the small of the back by Olimpia's Bryan Johnson.  Vancouver were also eventually forced to substitute Mattocks and Mezquida after the pair picked up minor knocks, and finished the match with five rookies on the pitch.

The Whitecaps victory over CD Olimpia puts them in a tie with the Seattle Sounders for first place in Group F with a game in hand on both Olimpia and Seattle.  The Whitecaps now head into a doubleheader against the Sounders starting this Saturday when the two clubs will face each other in MLS league match that will decide the 2015 winner of the Cascadia Cup.  The two teams will then face each other once again on Wednesday, September 23rd when they play again in CCL action at CenturyLink field in Seattle.

With the CCL now well and truly in full swing and silverware on the line what more could fans want?  The hardcore Whitecaps fans have been treated to an exciting season thus far, but judging by the amount of empty seats in BC Place on Wednesday evening it seems that the average fickle Vancouver sports fan has yet to to buy into the hottest and most exciting pro sports team that the city has to offer.  One has to wonder if the Whitecaps can continue to provide entertainment and deliver wins how long it will be before this team finally can break through and capture the larger imagination of the city and province.


Referee: Jeffrey Solis
Attendance: 15,491
Man of the Match: Kianz Froese

Scoring Summary
42' - VAN - Kianz Froese (Darren Mattocks, Nicolas Mezquida)

Shots: Vancouver 9 - Olimpia 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 2 - Olimpia 3
Fouls: Vancouver 11 - Olimpia 19
Offsides: Vancouver 4 - Olimpia 0
Corners: Vancouver 5 - Olimpia 6

48' - VAN - Matias Laba
51' - OLI - Johnny Palacios
90' + 1' - OLI - Bryan Johnson

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 6.Jordan Smith, 4.Kendall Waston ©, 18.Diego Rodríguez, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 20.Deybi Flores (22.Christian Dean 78'), 15.Matías Laba; 38.Kianz Froese, 9.Nicolás Mezquida (26.Tim Parker, 85'), 11.Darren Mattocks (32.Marco Bustos 68'); 88.Robert Earnshaw

Substitutes not used
1.David Ousted, 13.Cristian Techera, 31.Russell Teibert, 34.Caleb Clarke

C.D. Olimpia

27.Noel Valladeres; 2.Kevin Alvarez (21.Roger Rojas 77'), 30.Johnny Palacios, 4.Favio de Souza, 5.Ever Alvarado; 7.Carlos Mejia (33.Michael Chirinos 56'), 29.German Mejia, 12.Bryan Johnson, 26.Oscar Salas; 17.Alberth Elis, 31.Romell Quioto (18.Javier Estupinan 62')

Substitutes not used

28.Donis Escober, 3.Elmer Guity, 6.David Meza, 14.Jose Israel Fonseca