The Vancouver Whitecaps sought to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in style, with a positive performance in Chicago, against the Fire. It didn’t happen.
This match came on the heels of a heartbreaking shoot out loss in the US Open Cup. With many of Chicago Fire’s top players going 120 minutes on Wednesday, there was hope that tired legs and an emotional loss could fuel an upset. If the Caps were to come away from Chicago with points, it certainly would be an upset, as Chicago had 8 wins and 1 draw at home, with a +18 goal differential at home.
The match started with several surprises for the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Starting XI saw Christian Bolanos making his return to the lineup, after his injury last month while away with Costa Rica. We also saw Bernie Ibini make his first start for the Caps, in place of Fredy Montero, who started on the bench. Speaking of the bench, Yordy Reyna made his debut, while previously-thought-injured Nicolas Mezquida, Erik Hurtado, and Christian Dean were also present.
With all the returning faces, coupled with it being Canada Day, there were smiles heading into this one. Those smiles were rapidly extinguished. Although Vancouver looked good for the first 5 minutes of the match, Chicago quickly imposed their will on the Caps. Nemanja Nikolic added to his league leading goal total in the 14th minute, and then again in the 18th minute, while Arturo Alvarez connected on a beautiful volley in the 25th minute to effectively end the match. The first half onslaught ceased though and the two teams played the next 20 minutes without another goal.
Carl Robinson made some quick changes after the half, inserting Montero and Mezquida into the lineup for the invisible (although not his fault) Ibini and Tony Tchani in the 51st minute. Meanwhile, Reyna made his debut in the 62nd minute, coming on for Brek Shea.
It may have been a combination of the substitutions made by Robinson with the Fire turning to a 5-4-1 (yes you read that correct), but the Caps were more effective from the 50th to 75th minute, with Reyna and Montero having shots on net.
However, it seems that on Canada’s birthday we cannot have nice things, as Matias Laba was gifted a red card in the 78th minute for a reckless tackle.
Chicago would add one more in the 84th minute, which was probably the happiest goal of the match for the team as Michael de Leeuw scored his first, and the who stadium was ecstatic. Even we had to get in on the fun.
Chicago Broadcaster: "Everyone in the stadium is happy for this guy"— Eighty Six Forever (@86forever) July 2, 2017
Not just the stadium. Even the opposing fan blog! https://t.co/n4LAPUs3EI
While the match ended in a very disappointing 4-0 defeat, there were some positives from this match.
- As per usual, David Ousted made several fantastic saves. Yes, it could have been much worse, but how often have we said that about games.
- Jordy Reyna made his debut for the Caps and while it is a small sample size -remember how positive everyone was on Tchani on his debut- Reyna’s performance was positive.
- Finally, while it may be a bit of schadenfreude, TFC lost 3-1 and with it, first place in the Supporters Shield standings. I guess there is that.
The Vancouver Whitecaps organization finish Canada Day 0-2, with a goal differential of -6. No time to dwell on this one though, as the Caps will be back in action Wednesday evening, as they take on New York City FC.
What were your thoughts on the match?