The Vancouver Whitecaps met the LA Galaxy in a match between two sides so inept that they couldn’t make the playoffs in a year where 66% of the teams made the playoffs. But who’s mode of ineptness would prove the most inept of them all? Would it be L.A’s glitzy and high spending ineptness or would it be Vancouver’s hipster and thrifty ineptness?
Vancouver started with their familiar 4-4-2. Leonard Owusu was away doing admin in his native Ghana and Michael Baldisimo was out due to yellow card accumulation.
'Caps capping off a crazy campaign ⚪— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) November 8, 2020
Your #VWFC Starting XI for #VANvLA, delivered with @DoorDash pic.twitter.com/bX9FZBvCML
The Whitecaps started somewhat brightly. Controlling possession and getting the first attempt of the game through Lucas Cavallini. But they lacked real penetration or dangerous play. TSN treated us to an out of town scoreboard update in the 8th minute (why they thought anyone watching this game would care is beyond me).
In the 19th minute Ali Adnan had a penalty shout after cutting inside from the left and appearing to get clipped but nothing was awarded.
Clear and obvious error.... that was a clear penalty for #VWFC— Manuel Veth (@ManuelVeth) November 9, 2020
Ali Adnan appealing for a penalty instead of pressing the ball when LA is stuck in the corner is such an Ali Adnan thing to do #VWFC— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) November 9, 2020
In the 21st minute the Whitecaps had a good chance following an L.A corner. Russel Teibert started the move by bursting forward and switching to Adnan. Adnan’s cross couldn’t find Cavallini or Montero but the ball came loose to Cristian Dájome who curled a 20 yard shot just wide of the post.
In the 24th minute the Whitecaps broke the deadlock. Teibert drove forward from midfield and Adnan made a run inside, drawing a defender with him. This created an open channel for Cristian Gutiérrez who received Teibert’s pass and crossed to Cavallini who, in turn, headed home.
In the 27th minute Cavallini came close again. Fredy Montero put in a teasing ball that the Whitecaps’ striker nodded just over the bar.
In the 33rd minute the Galaxy showed a bit of life. Cristian Pavon beat both Jake Nerwinski and Veselinovic before putting a teasing ball across the 6 yard box but the ball was cleared by Godoy. In the follow up Evan Bush made a save from a Yony Gonzalez header.
In the 38th minute Cristian Gutiérrez burst forward after making an interception and was caught in the knee by a studs up challenge from Julian Araujo. The referee initially gave a yellow but then reviewed the play through VAR and gave the Galaxy defender a straight red.
In the 42nd minute the Whitecaps doubled their lead. Montero began the move when he put the ball out to Adnan on the wing. Adnan swung in a cross which skipped off the turn and then in off the chest of Montero, who had continued his run into the penalty area, and into the goal to put the ‘Caps up 2-0 as the teams went into the half.
The Whitecaps came out for the second half looking eager to add to their lead. First Cavallini headed a Gutiérrez free kick over the bar and then David Bingham had to be alert to stop Russel Teibert who was through on goal after a lovely pass from Erik Godoy.
But over time the match began to lull. The Galaxy had more possession but very little time in Vancouver’s attacking 3rd and both teams looked like they would be just fine with the game ending as it stood.
In the 70th minute the game sprang back to life, Montero put Dájome through on goal but David Bingham was equal to the task, tipping the ensuing close range shot wide for a corner.
In the 75th minute it was L.A’s turn to threaten with Evan Bush making a spectacular save off a close range free kick from Chicharito to preserve the clean sheet. In the 79th minute Bush was called upon again, getting a slight touch to tip a long range effort on to the bar.
Around the 80th minute Theo Bair and Tosaint Ricketts humorously spent about 10 minutes standing on the sidelines waiting to be subbed on as the Whitecaps cycled the ball around the back.
In the first minute of stoppage time Dájome received a ball over the top from Gutiérrez and played in Montero who made no mistake, capping off a 3-0 route for Vancouver.
Montero then left the match allowing Daminao Pecile to make his MLS debut (the game then immediately ended without Pecile even touching the ball).
Vancouver finished the season as the first team to not draw a single match and proved once and for all that hipster thrifty ineptness is superior to glitzy high spending ineptness. Vancouver finished the season with a 39% win rate, up from 23% the previous season, but left Axel Schuster with a lot to think about as he tries to deliver playoff football for the first time in three years in the 2021 season.