The Vancouver Whitecaps traveled to Boston to face New England Revolution for the only time this season. Going into the match, we knew that Carl Robinson would field a slightly different lineup as Jordan Harvey and Christian Bolanos did not travel with the club. However, when the lineups were announced, we saw a few other changes. Potentially the most surprising involved Stefan Marinovic making his Major League Soccer debut in place of David Ousted. Less surprising was the re-entry of Jake Nerwinski at right back; a sort of home coming match for him.
The first half started out slowly for both teams as it seemed that neither wanted to play on the front foot. The Whitecaps were put into a bit of a jam in the 29th minute when Matias Laba had to be replaced by Andrew Jacobson. The Whitecaps best opportunity game in the 37th minute from a streaking Nicolas Mezquida who centered the ball to Brek Shea, who headed it over the crossbar. The first half continued without much fanfare, as the teams went into the break even at 0-0.
The match finally had a bit of action at around the 50th minute, when Marinovic went out to collected a ball and was kicked in the head. It was an awful couple of minutes for Marinovic as, upon the restart, the Revolution were able to strike with a fabulous pass from Kelyn Rowe into Teal Bunbury, behind Tim Parker. Marinovic had no chance as the ball was perfectly placed into Bunbury’s path, but with the knock to his head just a few minutes earlier, his vision may have still been spinning.
That goal seemed to pick up the pace of the match as there was some end-to-end action to follow. In the first of two video replays, the Whitecaps narrowly missed giving up a penalty kick in the 67th minute, after a pointless two-handed shove from Parker. While it would have really sucked to have a penalty called in such a silly way, it would have been valid.
As we have become accustom with Cristian Techera on a free kick, he narrowly missed tying up the match in the 70th minute, hitting the ball off the crossbar.
In the 82nd minute the match saw video replay used for a second time for a tackle on Yordy Reyna. There was really not much to it, certainly not a red, and the match was quickly back on. Despite the insertion of Reyna in the 64th minute and Alphonso Davies in the 79th, and a few scrambling chances in stoppage time, the Caps were unable to find the winner and left Boston with a 1-0 defeat.
The Whitecaps will return to Vancouver, with their next match Saturday against Houston Dynamo at BC Place. The big question this week will be the seriousness of Laba’s injury and whether it means he gets the next match off. Luckily, Tony Tchani did not pick up a yellow card, which would have meant he would be sitting out the next match. While newcomer Aly Ghazal is now in Vancouver, he might need a bit of time to get acclimated as he wasn’t play in China. Nevertheless, he could see a few minutes late in next weekend’s match. As for individual performances, such as Marinovic’s first as a Whitecaps, I will leave that to Caleb to discuss tomorrow.