Following a decisive victory against Canadian opposition midweek, the Whitecaps looked to continue their good vibes by going up against fellow western conference bottom feeders San Jose Earthquakes. It (Once again) served as a proving ground that maybe the Whitecaps had enough in them to potentially turn this season around as they near the first third of the 2022 season.
Coming into the game, the usual lone striker was replaced by a partnership of Cavallini and White. It was an interesting move on Sartini’s part as Ricketts, the club’s remaining striker, was unavailable for selection for the match so no one would be able to be a like for like substitution up top. It was a gamble that paid off though, as the Whitecaps were able to find an attacking force not seen in many games before. Whether this be due to the strength of the team or the weakness of San Jose’s defense remains to be said but it was the most goals scored by the team in a match across the entire season.
It was a game of two halves and approaches. At the beginning, the Whitecaps applied the same strategy which helped them find victory against Valour on Wednesday, which was to sit and let San Jose hold most of the possession. While this led to futile attempts from Valour to break down VWFC’s defense, when it came to an MLS caliber team, San Jose did pose more of a credible threat. Within the first half though, Cody Cropper showed his veteran skills with some incredible saves and helped show that the Whitecaps team was resilient. The attack on the other hand was showing some of the same glaring errors which have plagued the team, most notably that of the lack of accurate crossers to players in the box, with a lot of crosses going way past the group of players within the eighteen. Driven on by his performance in the Voyageur’s Cup, Raposo also began to take more attacking chances and shots, with the most notable being a curled effort that almost went in near the death of the first half.
The second half completely changed the pace of the game, from the point where it looked like it would be a one goal decider to a point where goals could continue to come. Credit where credit is due, Cavallini, while he squanders a lot of chances, when things go right for him, they do go right. Cavallini was the greatest attacking threat this game, with many shots on target and him breaking the proverbial dam of both team’s defense. The defending on the other hand was directly to blame for the two San Jose goals that came in retribution. There was a lot of disorganization in the marking which needs to get ironed out for when they face teams that have more effective attackers. Back on the Whitecaps’ attack though, the other two goals were scored by Godoy, and most importantly Raposo. The 2020 draft pick looks to have changed the course of his fortunes after scoring his first goals for Vancouver. This is most likely down to his confidence building and the goal today is a good testament to the effort he’s been putting in. Right now, the scales are balanced for him, and hopefully it stays that way in the future. The Whitecaps had an opportunity to steal three points at the death but a Cavallini header grazed the post to go out and made sure the match stayed at a draw.
It wasn’t a terrible outing for the ‘Caps but hopefully they can improve with these results finally going their way.