The Vancouver Whitecaps returned to BC Place to play Sporting Kansas City after one month and four games on the road. Twenty-one thousand fans expectantly returned to see their team in action… the ‘Caps would make them wait forty minutes more. In a tale of two halves Cristian Techera scored a beauty of a goal off the volley to break up a forgettable opening half, and Tim Parker put the game away with a header off a set piece in a riveting second half for the 2-0 win.
The first half was a dreadful affair. There was no quality in the final third from either team as the ball pinged side to side between CB’s on the back line. Or maybe it was genius, as the game plan was surely to lull KC into thinking they were still on the plane. Only it was a flight where footballs were repeatedly kicked into their legs and disturbing any sleep they might have had. Until the 40’ mark, when Williams fought his way to the end line to send a blistering cross to the far post, where Christian Bolaños chested the ball back to Techera who managed to bring his body around enough to volley a powerful shot past Tim Melia. It was a stunning goal that we will surely see many more times.
There was finally life in the game, for a moment, and then everyone seemed to doze off back to sleep. The half ended with us all wondering, “How did we come out a goal ahead?” Luckily, KC in the third game in a week that started in Orlando and ended in the Pacific Northwest played not much better.
The second half was an entirely different story. Whatever strip was torn off them by the coach during the break included the led inserts in their shoes, because suddenly the Whitecaps attack was on. Playing off the counter the ‘Caps pressed forward pressuring the KC goal. Fredy Montero was shoved out of the way as he was positioned to receive a ball in the penalty box and earning himself a PK. This was the second PK Montero has lined up for as a Whitecap this season and he duplicated his earlier attempt by sending a ball low and close to the keeper. It was a shot Melia could get his hands on, the one difference was that in this game Montero could not convert the rebound. Fans moved into the 52’ minute wondering, “How is the score still only 1-0?”
David Ousted saved the situation moments later from escalating from disappointing to tragic with a sliding save off a charging Latif Blessing.
Tim Parker scored his first goal of the season and put the game out of doubt with a glancing header with just enough on it to redirect Bolaños’s free kick over the hands of the KC goalkeeper. The travel weary KC attack could not respond and Montero nearly scored a third with a header off the post. The ‘Caps returned from a successful road trip with the win.
Coach Robinson fielded the same starting 11 for the fifth consecutive game with: Ousted in goal, Williams, Waston, Parker and Harvey on the back line, Laba alone at DM, Techera, Tchani, Jacobson and Bolaños forward and Montero as the lone striker.
Alphonso Davies continued his impressive form off the bench by showing his superlative quality on the ball. He was on the receiving end of pure villainy when Roger Espinoza launched himself laterally into the side of Davies’ legs with no possible play on the ball. It was a reckless and cynical play that could just as easily have seriously injured the young man. Espinoza only received a yellow card on the play, but DISCO must surely hand out a further suspension for such a malicious attempt.
Thankfully Davies rebounded and the only real negative on the game was Matías Laba’s 5th yellow card, which makes him unavailable for next weeks match against DC United.