The Vancouver Whitecaps hosted their second of three matches this week, on Wednesday evening, when they welcomed Minnesota United to BC Place. Everyone in Whitecaps land fully expected Carl Robinson to rotate his squad, as he has been doing it plenty of late. There were some questions as to who would stay and who would see the bench. One expected change was Stefan Marinovic taking over in net for David Ousted. However, the Great Dane was between the pipes for this one.
Other changes included Russell Teibert getting another start, over Andrew Jacobson, and Erik Hurtado coming in to give Fredy Montero a rest. Of course, some were not fans of the lineup decisions Carl made.
Oof, and Teibert too. Turn the Skytrain around!#VWFC— Shoe Thief (@StuckontheSofa) September 14, 2017
While others saw the importance of this rotation.
I like this line up. Some bright young stars out there. Glad Teibert is out there. Expecting big things tonight like a 4-1 for White Caps.— Mark Grath (@Cdn_nuisance) September 14, 2017
and even made bold statements (which turned out to be true).
I'm calling a @Etado19 goal in the first half. Celebration might leave something to be desired though........— Phillip T Fett (@PhillipFett) September 14, 2017
Minnesota came into the match with a 1-11-2 road record while allowing 2 or more goals in five of their last seven matches. Despite this, the Caps have had a tendency to play down to some of their opponents at home, losing to cellar dweller DC United and injury-plagued Portland Timbers. Nevertheless, there was a lot to look forward to heading into this match.
The Vancouver Whitecaps started out strong and showed that they were not going to play down to their opponent, taking an early lead in the 5th minute, thanks to Yordy Reyna. The goal came off a fantastic pass from under-rated Marcel de Jong (I feel he is wasted sitting on the bench so much), which nicely split the Minnesota defense. Reyna calmly slotted it home to give the Caps the early 1-0 lead.
The Whitecaps quickly doubled their lead in the 31st minute, thanks to who else, but E-Money himself, Erik Hurtado. The build-up and goal were fantastic. It started with a missed pass from Nerwinski to Davies. However, Teibert was right there to clean it up and outlet to Reyna. Brek Shea did some wonderful work off the ball to get some open space and then drove in a fantastic ball to Hurtado. As has been Hurtado’s M.O., he drove hard to the net and put in a complete effort to attack the ball and get his head on it. Great goal!
The Whitecaps headed to the halftime break with a 2-0 lead and I am sure other Caps fans were feeling some relief.
The second half was quite uneventful, with the Whitecaps playing defensively sound and never looking threatened. Tim Parker and Kendall Waston were able to control Danladi and completely take him out of the match.
Some Whitecaps fans may look towards the ‘bland’ second half as glass half full while others will look at it as glass half empty. While the Caps looked comfortable throughout, they were playing a poor squad and some may wonder whether they will be able to play that relaxed, with few threats, against a stronger opponent to round out the season and in the playoffs. What might silence some of those critics will be the lovely header into the back corner in the 88th minute from Shea to seal it.
The Caps are 2 for 2 halfway through their home stretch, with their most challenging match coming up this Saturday. They now have three straight wins, and have obtained 13 of a possible 15 in their last five. Reyna’s goal to open the match was his fourth, and with the clean sheet, was his fourth game winning goal.
Oh.....and the Caps are now first in the West.....just in case you didn’t hear ;). Most importantly, Vancouver have two games in hand on Portland, who they are tied with, and one game over Seattle, who is one point behind. The Caps move to 8-3-3 at home and will look to make that 9 this Saturday against Columbus.
What were your thoughts?