Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all enjoyed a return to BC Place and some spring-like weather this weekend.
It was far from a perfect performance in the home debut but there was much more intent and energy from the team, perhaps helped on by the fans, who were in full voice (as Maxime Chanot, who got a good amount of stick, can attest to).
But a 0-0 draw against the defending champions isn’t a bad result at all, though I would have liked to see the team push a little harder for a winning goal. NYCFC’s reasons for stepping off the gas were clear — save bodies for a midweek CONCACAF Champions League match that will see them fly back across the country.
And while a point gets Vancouver off the mark, they certainly were the better side for the first part of second half and just didn’t build on it and instead gave NYCFC a couple gilded chances to win.
Thomas Hasal will likely have assuaged any doubts that he is ill-prepared to replace Maxime Crepeau full time; indeed, his performance was likely what ensured the Caps nabbed a point. His save on Thiago in the 87th minute was excellent and exactly the kind of stop that was Crepeau’s hallmark. His distribution was also nice; at times it sprung or nearly created a promising attack moving forward.
A credit also should be given to Tristan Blackmon, who was a bit off kilter in his week one debut but looked excellent alongside Ranko Veselinovic and Florian Jungwirth on the backline. His ball playing abilities were as promised, as he was the most accurate passer of the ball among all defenders and he completed the most successful through balls of any outfield player.
But his 10 clearances were what sung and his blocked shot to cut out a promising NYCFC attack was massive midway through the second half. He was one of the major reasons why Hasal didn’t have much to do in the middle part of the match and while Ranko and Jungwirth also played a role in the backline looking much more assured, Blackmon was the real standout.
There are certainly issues to figure out. The team still is without a goal and while Lucas Cavallini looked much better yesterday, this is a team crying out for the full return of Brian White, which I imagine we will get next week against Houston. Deiber Caicedo had some nice moments but couldn’t quite put together a complete performance. And the midfield leaves much to be desired on both sides of the ball.
Still, the first match against Western Conference opposition will give us a bit of a read on things. Houston has shown little to change most people’s belief that they will be bottom of the conference, meaning three points will be the clear objective, road match or no.
For now? Enjoy being above Seattle in the table, folks.
Shameless Self Promotion
Sam has the blow by blow on the improvement in Saturday’s match, while I dole out the report card grades.
Best of the Rest
Our thoughts are with those affected by the senseless fan violence at the Queretaro/Atlas match in Liga MX on Saturday. No one should ever not come home from watching a sporting event.
Tos Ricketts is back for another year in Vancouver, helping to beef up the striker depth chart a bit
Charlotte FC broke the MLS attendance record during their home opener Saturday, though they wound up losing 1-0 to LA Galaxy
Mark your calendars for the Voyageurs Cup, as we now know a bit more on the timing and format