The Vancouver Whitecaps were able to shake off another bad start to defeat the L.A Galaxy 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Whitecaps began the match in a fashion that was pathetic but totally unsurprising.
After a ten day break, and therefore more time on the training pitch, the Vancouver Whitecaps will look... #VWFC— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) July 18, 2021
Everybody knew this was going to happen. You might as well have just started the game at the start of the second half with the Galaxy already up 1-0. Once again the Whitecaps looked totally disorganized in every aspect of the game. They did not move for passes, they did not close down opposing players, they did not look like they knew what they were supposed to be doing. This has been the case every single time the Whitecaps have had a long layoff for the past three years. What exactly are they doing with that time? The Galaxy finished an absolutely brutal first half up 1-0.
The second half began with an unexpected Whitecaps goal. Javain Brown did very well to drive the ball forwards, pick up the crumbs after Dájome’s cross was blocked, and then drive in a cross that was eventually converted by Deiber Caicedo.
There was then an extended period where not very much happened.
Late in the game, astonishingly for how poorly they started the match, the Whitecaps pulled ahead. Some fantastic interplay between Cristian Dájome and Brian White in the penalty area freed up Dájome for an easy finish.
Unlike in previous games, the ‘Caps didn’t look terrified to lose their lead. Vancouver didn’t really give anything up in the second half. They weren’t exactly running the show but the Galaxy also never really threatened them. If we look at the xG plot we can see that Vancouver had the lions share of the chances after half time.
It’s sort of hard to know what to make of the match overall. On the one hand, the team came out woefully unprepared, something that happens almost every game and seems to almost be worse when they have more time off to prepare. But on the other hand, in the second half they gave up almost nothing defensively and put up almost a full expected goal more than their opponents. If they did that every half of football they played, then they would easily be a playoff team.
The Marc Dos Santos era has mostly been a slog, but the few times it has looked something approaching good has been when he’s gotten them team playing this sort of game. That is where the game is mostly spent in a midfield stalemate but the Whitecaps are alert enough on the break to snatch a goal or two. It’s not exactly total football but if they were able to play that way consistently and win then you wouldn’t hear any complaints from me (well, ok, maybe a few). Unfortunately this style of play has not been displayed with any kind of consistency. It’s hard to see that consistency growing under Dos Santos at this point but if he is going to save his job it’s probably going to be through performances like that second half.