After a strong showing from the Vancouver Whitecaps Starting XI on Saturday against Portland Timbers, Carl Robinson did what many expected, starting the same 11 players for their Wednesday night contest against Chicago Fire. That initial game plan did not last long as in the 11th minute forward Masato Kudo was on the receiving end of a hit that many cornerbacks in the NFL would be envious of.
It was reported that Kudo suffered a concussion (surprise!) and the blood was the result of him biting his tongue and lip. Despite the scary scene, Kudo was able to stand up, seven minutes later, and was wheeled off the field, followed by a trip to the hospital. Kudo was substituted out of the match for Blas Perez (more on him later).
With the long pause and the scary scene, it was anyone’s guess how the restart would go. Potentially surprising, the Whitecaps carried most of the rest of the play in the first half. That pressure was rewarded in the 36th minute when substitute Perez tapped home the goal after a fantastic diagonal ball from Pedro Morales, followed by an equally impressive ball from Christian Bolanos. This is the type of goal that you would expect from those three veterans and the Whitecaps need more of that if they are going to be successful this season.
Although it was not as pretty as Saturday night, the Whitecaps dominated most of the first half and were in full control. However, as has been a disappointing pattern for the last season and a half, the Whitecaps came out in the second half very flat and were a completely different team. Chicago Fire were pressing and it was no surprise that in the 62nd minute Kennedy Igboananike leveled the match with a near-post goal against David Ousted. It was a save that many of us would expect Ousted to make, and he will probably say the same thing, as he was cheating/leaning to his right and Igboananike exploited that.
With only two minutes left, it was looking like the Whitecaps were going to be disappointed on the night, leaving with a 1-1 draw. However, within a minute, Blas Perez changed everything! In typical Perez fashion, he attempted to flop in the box to draw a penalty. In the 89th minute Perez is the focus of attention again with an AMAZING bicycle-kick game-winning goal; even he appeared to be surprised by the goal. Expect that to be a contender for goal of the year in MLS and in the discussion for best goal by a Whitecap, with Camilo and Hassli’s stunners.
The Whitecaps now travel to Toronto to face their Canadian rival, and will do so without Kendall Waston who picked up the ONLY yellow card of the match and will miss Saturday’s contest due to accumulation.
Despite the win, there are certainly some questions going forward……or maybe there are not? Winning fixes problems. What were your thoughts? Has everyone’s hate of Perez disappeared now?