The Vancouver Whitecaps drew 2-2 with F.C Dallas in a matchup between the Western Conference’s two bottom teams. Vancouver could have won the game but they started and finished the match very poorly.
The Whitecaps began the first half looking awful. Dallas had all the shots, literally every single one, in the first 15 minutes of the match. If not for a double save by Maxime Crepeau Dallas could have easily been up 2-0. Dallas finally managed to put one away after poor marking by Rose and poor keeping by Crepeau allowed 18 year old Ricardo Pepi to open the scoring.
Crepeau was praised on the broadcast for being one of Vancouver’s best players this season but quietly he has been well below par in goals saved above expected over the past couple of weeks. It has gone unremarked upon because everybody likes him and he’s put in a lot of good performances for the club over the past couple of years but he has been struggling. Thomas Hasal (or Evan Newton) will now have a chance to stake a claim with Crepeau away for the Gold Cup and it might be worth watching how they do. That said, Crepeau did recover to play quite well the rest of the game.
This goal also saw Andy Rose lose his man in a manner reminiscent of how Derek Cornelius did against Minnesota. We haven’t seen Cornelius start a game for some time (even though he looked pretty good in that game up until the goal) so it will be interesting to see if Rose gets the same treatment.
After running Vancouver’s show for 15 minutes Dallas, also being a very bad team, decided to just gift Vancouver two goals of catastrophic individual errors. The first being a botched clearance by Bressan that allowed Lucas Cavallini to step around the onrushing Jimmy Maurer and slot in his 3rd goal of the season
The second was a shocking back pass by likely future Bayern Munich player Justin Che. This lead to a corner which was then headed home by Andy Rose (a dangerous chance off a set piece being a classic part of the Andy Rose experience).
The Whitecaps went into the half with a 2-1 lead despite only having 3 shots. But, as we can see from the xG timeline, Dallas basically had nothing after their goal.
When Dallas came out for the second half they decided it was time to start attacking again. A couple of good saves were forced out of Crepeau and Nkosi Burgess headed just wide, all from dead balls.
But after that, Dallas just never got much going. It looked like the rest of the game would just kind of elapse. But then the Whitecaps brought on two defenders. One of whom, Ranko Veslinovic, almost immediately headed the ball into his own goal off a Dallas cross.
It was a terrible moment for Veselinovic but questions have to be asked about the logic of bringing on an extra defender. The Whitecaps keep doing it this season and almost every single time it has lead to the other team being more free to get bodies forward and at least a couple times they have scored. Bringing on an extra centre back just allows the other team to throw everyone forward without fear of reprisal (especially when the lone striker is a slow striker like Brian White) and disrupts the chemistry of the defence. It would be much better, in my opinion, for the Whitecaps to sub on a player with a bit of pace in these situations to keep the opposition honest. I’m not sure the Whitecaps have a player who would fit neatly into this role but the closest they have are probably Theo Bair and Kam Habibullah are probably the closest and we haven’t seen them in weeks. Almost every single game the other team has found a second gear by bringing on some subs. Not even necessarily by bringing on great players, just some guys who are fresh and can run around a bit faster. For some reason Marc Dos Santos has refused to do this. I understand it is a lot easier for me to sit here and argue for young players to get more chances when my job doesn’t rely on the team winning. But it’s not like things have gone terribly well by not subbing them on for the last 10-20 minutes of games so, I don’t know, you could at least try it.
This result leaves the Whitecaps bottom of the Western Conference. It generally takes 50 points to make the playoffs. To Achieve that total the ‘Caps need to take 1.78 points per game the rest of the season. The Whitecaps have never managed to reach this pace over the course of the season in their MLS history. Even with the seemingly imminent arrival of DP #10 Ryan Gauld, it may already be too late.