The Vancouver Whitecaps hosted San Jose Earthquakes Saturday evening, at BC Place, in the return leg from last Saturday night. Carl Robinson started a similar lineup to last week, with the only changes being Aly Ghazal starting in place of Felipe, and Brett Levis for Marcel de Jong; the two poorest performers from last weekend’s match.
Potentially surprising, the Whitecaps started the match like they finished the second half last week, with a bit of bite and anger to their play. After some strong build-up, the Caps scored what might be their most complete goal of the season in the 22nd minute, when Yordy Reyna either threaded a lovely ball through to Alphonso Davies, or just barely missed birthday boy Kei Kamara, to put Vancouver up 1-0.
The strong play continued throughout the rest of the first half, with the Caps winning most of the balls in the midfield and being direct with their attack. Most importantly, the Caps were hustling. Watch Reyna get back into this play, and have a good opportunity to score, after getting knocked down.
The Vancouver started the second half with a bit less energy than they had in the first half, but still had several opportunities. While the Whitecaps looks good in this match, it is important to remember just how bad San Jose is; unless they are playing against Minnesota United or FC Dallas for some reason.
In the 50th minute, Kamara was able to cross a ball in to an open Techera off a simple throw-in. If not for the ball bouncing, Techera would have probably had an easy goal, and run Vancouver’s record to 26 wins and 9 draws when he scores or has an assist.
Throughout the match, Reyna was slicing the Earthquakes midfield and defense up, putting balls on a platter for his teammates. After this match, Reyna now has two goals and SIX assists in his last four MLS matches.
Unfortunately, a yellow in the 67th minute, for persistent infringement, means that Reyna will sit out the Whitecaps next match, hosting Seattle Sounders, due to accumulation.
With energy lacking a bit, it was the perfect match to put in the always pesky Nicolas Mezquida.
Sure enough, after missing a header just a minute earlier, Mezquida connected from the top of the 18, in the 78th minute. The shot was nice, but it was certainly one that the Earthquakes keeper Tarbell should have had.
Kamara was substituted off in the 80th minute, unable to get a goal on his birthday. On the plus side, Brett Levis FINALLY finished a match! Congrats.
As the minutes ticked down, the only question remaining was whether the Whitecaps would get their first shutout since April 27th.
NOPE!— Eighty Six Forever (@86forever) September 2, 2018
Unfortunately, and somewhat unsurprising, the Whitecaps were unable to get that elusive shutout, letting in a 90’ +1 goal from Valeri Qazaishvili. Of course, that made the final two minutes a bit nerving. If not for a fantastic block by Kendall Waston in the dying moment, we might be writing a very different summary.
However, the Caps were able to hold on and achieve the much-deserved victory. They are now seventh in the West with 40 points, one point out of the playoffs, and 5th place. Win their next home match against Seattle Sounders, and they are in the playoffs.
I expect a very similar lineup for the September 15th Sounders match, with the exception of Reyna, who will be sitting out. That could prove to be a big absence for the club as he has been strong of late, and was especially surgical this evening.
Who was your Man of the Match? Will the Whitecaps get into the playoffs?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.