Match report from Vancouver Whitecaps' 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders at BC Place on Saturday afternoon and post game reaction from both locker rooms.
A contentious call near the end of the match proved to be the difference as the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders drew their first Cascadian Cup match of the season 2-2 at BC Place on Saturday afternoon.
Erik Hurtado continued his hot scoring streak and Gershon Koffie scored his first of the season for the Caps, while Chad Barrett and Gonzalo Pineda replied for the visitors.
There was very little rust on the Caps to start the match and they were a side that were attacking the Sounders for the first ten minutes of the match. They came close on a number of chances including Stefan Frei’s stop on Kekuta Manneh and Gershon Koffie’s strike that struck the crossbar and bounced off the line.
The Sounders were able to settle down the match and come up with a couple of opportunities on goal but for most of the first half both teams alternated in carrying play.
With less than ten minutes to go until the break the visitors opened the scoring as former TFC striker Chad Barrett put one past David Ousted. After a couple of failed attempts Kenny Cooper was able to send a ball from the right of the box and Barrett rose unchallenged to head home into the far corner.
The lead didn’t last long for the Sounders with Vancouver replying only three minutes later as Erik Hurtado scored his third goal in as many games. It was Pedro Morales who sent nice lob into the path of Hurtado and after turning out a couple of defenders, he fired a shot in a small space between Frei and the bar to send the game even into the half.
While the first fifteen minutes of the second half didn’t provide any chances for either team there was an incident along the sidelines when Gonzalo Pineda slapped the ball out of Carl Robinson’s hands. The two rivals came together around the half line mark in a tense scrum but fortunately for both teams no one was sent off, or even booked in the altercation.
A mistake by Frei in the 66th minute would give the Whitecaps the lead as Gershon Koffie scored his first of the season into an empty net. Trying to avoid giving up a corner the keeper came way out of his net and booted the ball towards the other half. Koffie was able to intercept the clearing attempt and found the vacated net from around 35-40 yards.
The home side was within ten minutes from claiming the full three points when Gonzalo Pineda converted a much disputed penalty call. While defending a cross into the box Jay DeMerit seemed to get his head on the ball but the referee deemed the captain had fouled Cam Weaver and awarded a penalty.
Just minutes later the Sounders almost took the lead when Obefami Martins broke in and sent his shot off the post. Then in added time Koffie had a chance to pick up his second as he found himself alone in the box but his attempt went over the bar which would ensure a sharing of points between the rivals.
Despite the feeling that they were robbed of points the Whitecaps will continue their attempt to defend the Cascadia Cup as they travel down the I-5 to face the Portland Timbers next Sunday.
David Ousted; Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie, Matías Laba, Sebastian Fernandez (Nicolás Mezquida 72nd min), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Russell Teibert 80th min); Erik Hurtado
Substitutes not used
Paolo Tornaghi, Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell, Darren Mattocks, Omar Salgado
Stefan Frei; Jalil Anibaba, Djimi Traore (Brad Evans 57th min), Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Marco Pappa, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Chad Barrett (Cam Weaver 80th min); Kenny Cooper (Michael Azira 72nd min), Obafemi Martins
Substitutes not used
Marcus Hahnemann, Andy Rose, Tristan Bowen, Dylan Remick
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
HEAD COACH CARL ROBINSON
Thoughts on the match:
"Yeah, very frustrating if I’m honest. The boys were fantastic from the first minute. I thought the first half we were absolutely phenomenal. We could have been ahead, weren’t ahead. They scored on their second chance, and then we fought back, but it was a very entertaining game."
Thoughts on the penalty:
"I saw my captain jump for the ball in his penalty box and head the ball away."
"I can only concentrate on what I can do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do nothing about what’s going on today. I think you could all see it today. 20 odd thousand see it, so as much as I’d like to say certain things, I’ll talk about my team and I’ll continue to do that."
Thoughts on the atmosphere and rivalry:
"Listen it’s great. I said to the guys before the game that you want to play in big games. I want to test myself against the best managers, and Sigi [schmid] is certainly one of them. These occasions don’t come around too often. It’s the same obviously when we play Portland and things like that. It’s a special occasion, so don’t let the game pass you by, and we didn’t. It’s important for the growth of football here in Vancouver, and North America that that continues because it’s all about rivalries and if you get intense rivalries, and players wanting to win, and managers wanting to win. I think you saw that from both sets of players today, and certainly both managers."
"I think the guys who haven’t played in a Seattle-Vancouver game before certainly got it today because both sets of supporters were excellent."
Thoughts on Koffie:
"It was probably his best performance. He’s been excellent the last three or four games for me. I keep saying to him that he needs to keep scoring goals. He’s a midfield player. Not just his goal, but I think he hit the bar in the first couple of minutes, and then could have nicked it in the end with two more chances. It was an all-around performance from him today, and he should be proud of himself."
Thoughts on not scoring on chances:
"It’d concern me more if we weren’t getting chances. Obviously we’re getting chances. We got to work at that, or do something about it. I’ve openly said we’re looking at trying to bring in players to help this group, and I’ll continue to do that, but the player has to be the right player or players, and if they are, then we’ll move forward with that. But the guys in there, I said I’m delighted with them today, and I’m proud of them. Erik Hurtado again, another fantastic goal and performance and we’re just moving in the right direction slowly."
Thought’s on Erik Hurtado’s performance, goal and growing confidence:
"People ask me about what’s the difference in Erik from last three weeks ago 'til now and he’s a different player. Well I say no, he’s not a different player, he’s the same player, but his confidence has obviously grown. I think the supporters are finally seeing what he can do. I’ve seen that in glimpses last year while I was here as an assistant, and I wanted to give him that chance. I think players want their managers to have faith in them, and I certainly have faith in Erik at the moment. He’s doing himself a lot of good.”
Thoughts on match up with Seattle:
"They’re a good team. I’ve said that before the game they’re a good team, but so are we. Slowly we’re becoming a very good team. Two different types of teams, they’re very physical. They like to counter-attack. We like to counter-attack, but we like to try and keep the ball on the deck. We don’t have a big center-forward, as everyone likes to keep telling me, but we’ve got players who like to get down the sides and little give and goes, and things like that. So it was a contrast of two teams’ styles I think today, but I’m proud they matched the physicality because you know they are always going to be there, Seattle, and we’ve got to make sure we start to get there this year, and continue to get there and become a seasoned team."
MIDFIELDER GERSHON KOFFIE
Thoughts on his performance:
"The manager told me I did well on my performance, and I could have got more than one goal. I guess we will take it to the next game and see what happens."
Playing after the yellow card:
"When you get booked early you have to be careful about what you do, and you can’t create any fouls, so the manager told me I had a yellow card, so I should be careful."
DEFENDER NIGEL REO-COKER
Thoughts on the game:
"It was unlucky today, but nonetheless I thought it was a great team performance, I thought the first 30 minutes were fantastic. It’s the best we’ve been all season, the tempo, the passing, the movement. Another day it could’ve been three or four nil for us and game done, but that’s football and I thought it was unlucky for us today."
On the physical play:
"It was a good physical challenge for us, a good physical test and I thought we rose to the occasion. We did very well, we showed we’ve grown in character we’re not a team of soft touch anymore."
STRIKER ERIK HURTADO
Thoughts on the match:
"Really proud of the boys, we went down came back, just unfortunate."
Thoughts on his own play:
"Just getting the opportunity, and making the best of it right now."
On using the game to prepare for Portland:
"It was a disappointing result, but nowhere near disappointing performance. We played great, the fans helped us out, and we’ve just got to take the performance, and push that forward through this week of training and take that into the Portland game. I feel confident that our team will be confident on the road."
On his goal:
"Just linked up with Pedro, and Seba, really well and I had the space, saw Alonso coming towards me, so I acted like I was going to cross it and made them bite, and then chopped it again and just roofed it."
On his growing confidence:
"I’m getting the opportunity to play, and I’m getting the opportunity to hold players off. Andy O’Brien has been telling me a lot how to hold defenders off, and how to position myself before I get the ball, so that has a lot to do with it. I’ve just got to keep taking on what he’s telling me, and add that into my game."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On his feelings regarding the end result:
"Obviously, we always want to get more, but we’re happy to walk away with at least a point. Especially when you look at the players we’re missing in total and losing Marshall right before the game with an illness and losing Djimi Traore as well made it a little difficult. We had to make some unusual changes and substitutions. I thought we did well, we were unlucky on Oba’s shot. There we could’ve maybe pulled off the win and I wasn’t happy with the goals we gave up, obviously."
On Stefan Frei’s performance:
"I mean, the goal’s on him and on our defenders for not stepping in on that one. He made a save at the time when it was 1-1 where he came up with a big save to his left, he made a big save later, but that’s something that obviously can’t happen."
On the Whitecaps' first goal:
"The guy gets into the box, with a chance maybe to stop him earlier, engage the player outside the box but then once he gets in the box and we have two players around him, so we’ve got a double, we’ve got to stay on our feet there. So we leave our feet, he cuts, and we tackle our own player. That’s something that I think, you stay on your feet, and you have a better chance of doing well there. Also, the timing of it, coming four or five minutes after our goal, that’s something that we’ve got to be a little more resolute at that, but it’s coming. We showed character, we showed our character to come back, and we showed our character to almost come away with three if Oba doesn’t hit the post there.”
On the penalty call:
"It was hard because I really didn’t watch the replay, cause I was busy trying to organize our team at that point, so I haven’t seen the replay. Some people said it was a penalty, some people said it was soft, I don’t know. But, you’ve got to be willing to put yourself in a position, which Cam Weaver did and he ended up calling the PK."
DEFENDER BRAD EVANS
On how it felt to be with Sounders FC again after USMNT camp:
"Great. You know, put things in the past, and fortunate to get a result on the road. I thought the guys battled hard, maybe if we eliminate one or two mistakes, but happy with the boys, with the 2-2."
On how he wanted to handle coming back after being cut:
"Initially, your feelings are 'I want to put this in the past, run around for 90 minutes and get after it.' Maybe sometimes that’s not the smartest thing, so I took the smart approach, told him [schmid] I felt good, I was mentally ready to go, I was into the game, I felt good out there. It was almost as though I just went away for conditioning camp for a week and then came back. I feel strong, I feel healthy, I feel fit. Overall, we spoke about it last night and this morning, there was never a worry about it."
MIDFIELDER CHAD BARRETT
Thoughts on the match:
"Felt good to get the goal. I’d be glad to get away with three points, but we’ll take the point right now. We made some mistakes to give them some goals and they capitalized on it. Good teams will do that. At least we got a point out of it, but it’s a little bittersweet."
On his goal following Vancouver’s early onslaught:
"Sometimes, you’ve got to be a firefighter and just douse the fire. They came out wanting it, you could tell they were really going. I don’t think I touched the ball for the first 10 minutes and that’s frustrating. You just want to make sure that you make some good saves, Stefan made some good saves, we had some good blocks. Luckily, they missed a couple shots. We came back, and we were able to score the goal, and then we gave it right back to them. It’s frustrating when we give up our goals and how we give up our goals. If we can change that and become a shutdown team, that’d be good."