Both teams fielded relatively strong lineups in growing anticipation of the upcoming MLS season, which is now less than two weeks away.
The lineups were as follows:
these guys today vs @LAFC— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) February 18, 2018
Brian Rowe, Jake Nerwinski, Aaron Maund, Doneil Henry, Justin Fiddes, Tony Tchani, Aly Ghazal, David Norman Jr., Bernie Ibini, Anthony Blondell, Yordy Reyna
Perhaps one of the most interesting selections for the Starting XI was Coquitlam, BC native David Norman Jr. The 19-year-old Oregon State product, and son of former Canadian international David Norman, started 25 of his 26 appearances in his first season as a professional and was named the WFC2 Player of the Year in 2017. It’s encouraging to see former Homegrown and Residency players (not named Alphonso Davies) such as Norman, begin to find their way higher and higher up the team sheet, even if it’s only for a preseason friendly.
A largely undiscussed issue coming into the match was that for its first two preseason games, LAFC had adopted a “Closed Door Friendly” Policy.
This meant that there was likely to be no live streaming option for the fixture; although both Whitecaps and LAFC social media remained silent on whether or not there would be a way to view the match.
That is until this tweet four minutes after the supposed match start time:
It didn’t take very long after I’d rushed to my computer and set up the stream for LAFC to open the scoring.
The Whitecaps conceded a foul on the break and LAFC’s Carlos Vela delivered a quality set piece into the top corner beyond the outstretched arms of Brian Rowe.
Shortly after conceding, the Whitecaps grew more comfortable in possession, mounting several dangerous attacks down the left wing. The first of these lead to a corner. The second lead to a goal.
Following a terrific through ball from the backline, Yordy Reyna whipped a cross in from the left wing and Anthony Blondell was clinical with a side-footed half-volley finish.
10' goal!— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) February 18, 2018
Anthony Blondell gets on the end of a cross, opens his 'Caps account.
It was a little less than 10 minutes after this goal, that the Whitecaps Facebook stream, which even when running looked like it was being filmed with a first generation IPad, crashed indefinitely (never to be seen again).
From here on out there is evidently less proper game analysis that can be done, but we shall press on nonetheless.
In the 29th minute, Blondell slotted home his second of the game. Then in the 38th, Yordy Reyna added to the lead, assisted by none other than Blondell. If this game was any indication of the chemistry building between Blondell and Reyna, this is certainly something for Whitecaps fans to be excited about.
The Whitecaps proceeded to have some fun at their own expense:
So the Whitecaps found themselves going into the half-time break with the score 3-1. This advantage would not last long. Less than a minute into the second half, former Sporting KC youngster Latif Blessing drew LAFC within one.
As was pointed out so aptly on Twitter, the Whitecaps have struggled in this preseason, and historically, to compose themselves in the opening minutes following a restart.
So, uh, conceding goals off restarts is apparently a thing that needs to be addressed. #VWFC— Rituro (@ThatRituroGuy) February 19, 2018
Only seven minutes later however, Yordy Reyna would add his second goal of the night on the counter attack to restore the two goal advantage.
In the 63rd minute, LAFC brought on longtime Whitecaps fullback Jordan Harvey, in what would be his first minutes against his former team.
The southern California native played in 179 matches for the Caps over the course of seven seasons. Jordan was the last surviving member of the Whitecaps inaugural MLS team from 2011 and was a consistent performer as well as a vocal leader both on and off the field. You will be missed Jordan!
Midway through the second half manager Carl Robinson injected some youth into the lineup:
we've made some subs, here's who we currently have on:— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) February 19, 2018
Rowe, Ruby#, Nerwinski, Maund, Stauffer^, Carter#, Norman Jr., Tchani, Hurtado, Blondell, Reyna
* Training camp invitee
^ Unsigned SuperDraft selection
# Whitecaps FC Residency
This inexperienced backline would wind up being exposed in the later stages as the Caps conceded a penalty to Vela in the 78th and then wound up banking in an own goal in the 84th.
When the dust had settled, the match would end with the score level at 4-4.
While obviously it’ll be a disappointing result for Carl Robinson’s squad to have conceded two goals within the last 15 minutes, the experience that the likes of Ruby, Stauffer, Carter and Norman Jr gained in those minutes is undoubtably more valuable than the end result.
The Whitecaps preseason continues on February 21st at 11am when they face the LA Galaxy, hopefully with a more reliable stream available!