To Carl Robinson’s word, the Vancouver Whitecaps fielded a very Canadian lineup Tuesday evening, featuring Sam Adekugbe, Ben McKendry, Russel Teibert, Alphonso Davies, and the return of right back Fraser Aird; sure, he could have started Kianz Froese and/or Marco Bustos too, but too much. A potential surprise start saw Pa Modou Kah starting alongside the MLS suspended Kendall Waston instead of Tim Parker. Needless to say, I was nervous with that pairing!
Unlike the first leg of the semi-final match against Ottawa Fury, the Whitecaps came out strong in the first half with a blend of youth and veterans. Unfortunately, the results felt like a broken record: "The Whitecaps played strong in the first half with plenty of opportunities but were unable to convert their chances". We used to use the word ‘unlucky’ instead of ‘unable’ but I think we have learned the pattern is no longer about being unlucky.
Despite keeping Giovinco in check for most of the first half, the Atomic Ant needs only a moment to make a difference and he did that in the 44th minute as he hit a shot that deflected off the leg of Kendall Waston and found the back of the net.
While the Whitecaps were unfortunate to give up a late goal in the first half, they were fortunate to not give up any additional goals in the second half. Again, feeling like a broken record, the Whitecaps came out of the break very flat and TFC dominated the play, often looking like the only team that might score. Although Robbo made several offensive substitutions, putting on Perez (63rd), Manneh (67th), and Hurtado (78th), it was odd to have Pedro Morales be the first substitute given the lack of other creative options to facilitate a goal. It appeared that the Whitecaps were going to go with the good ole ‘dump and chase’ tactic.
In the end, the Whitecaps were unfortunate to be down 1-0 at half and fortunate to only lose 1-0. Take from that what you will. The Caps will remain in Toronto and travel to Philadelphia prior to their weekend match while Toronto FC travels to Orlando before heading to Vancouver for the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup final on Wednesday evening. We will see if the Caps can come back from a very acceptable 1-0 deficit to retain the Cup at home or whether they will watch Toronto celebrate at BC Place.