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  • Report and Reaction: Whitecaps draw a blank in San Jose but get the vital point they needed

    Carl Robinson went with just the one change from the team that beat Seattle last Friday, an enforced one with Johnny Leveron coming back in for the suspended Kendall Waston.

    The Caps went for it from the off and won an early corner in the opening 70 seconds, when an Erik Hurtado shot was deflected for a corner. The kept the pressure on for the next spell and their best opportunity came from another corner, in the 12th minute, which Jon Busch spilled but there were no takes.

    Khari Stephenson showed some nice control for San Jose before firing a shot off from the edge of the box in the 16th minute, but Ousted comfortably held on.

    But then the action died. There was some huff, but very little puff from either side.

    San Jose set the visitor’s pulses racing though in the final minute of the half when David Ousted was forced to produce a point blank save to keep out Chris Wondolowski from ten yards and with that the teams went in level at the half.

    There wasn’t a lot to write home about to start the second half either, so just past the hour mark the Whitecaps decided the freshen things up with the introduction of first Gershon Koffie and then Darren Mattocks.

    Sandwiched inbetween the two substitutions, Yannick Djalo curled one over for the Earthquakes from the edge of the box.

    The Whitecaps had their best chance of the game in the 75th minute when Kekuta Manneh twisted and turned in the box, shook of Pablo Pintos but Busch was out quick for a huge point blank block of his fierce shot.

    San Jose responded with a ball across goal that had no Quake takers but ex-Earthquake Steven Beitashour came dangerously close to turning it into his own net.

    Both sides had half chances to close out the match but ultimately, the last ever MLS game at Buck Shaw Stadium ended a goalless and pretty lifeless affair.

    The end result though is another crucial point for the Whitecaps and one that might seal their playoff place. They’ll take that over playing exciting football right now I’m sure.

    FINAL SCORE: San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps

    ATT:10,525 (sell out)

    SAN JOSE: Jon Busch; Jordan Stewart, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Pablo Pintos (Shaun Francis 78); Atiba Harris, Shea Salinas (Matias Perez Garcia 71), Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson; Chris Wondolowski, Yannick Djalo [subs Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Tommy Thompson, Ty Harden, J.J. Koval, Cordell Cato]

    VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Andy O’Brien, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Gershon Koffie 61), Russell Teibert, Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales (Sebastian Fernandez 71), Kekuta Manneh; Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 64) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Mehdi Ballouchy, Nicolas Mezquida]




    Happy with the point?

    “Yeah I am, because we’re in control now of what we do. I said all along, if we can concentrate on our business and take care of our business then we’ll get to where we want to get to. So we go into the last game of the season knowing that we need to get a result to take us to where we want to get to, so pleased.”

    Thoughts on the overall performance:

    “The connection of the passes, we were a little bit off. We started the game very well in the first 15 minutes and I thought, here we go. As I said all week, it was a trap game for us. They’ve got nothing to lose, they’ve replaced their manager, players are fighting for contracts. We had everything to lose because of the 32 games we’ve had prior to this. For me, this is as important a result as it was last Friday in Seattle, because it’s a crucial point for us, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

    Was there a lack of intensity in their play?

    “I thought we started the game very well. As I said, it’s a difficult game. It’s never easy to play at San Jose. They’ll be the first to admit that they probably haven’t performed to the levels they should have, but they’ve got good players. Wondo’s scored 14 odd goals or whatever and he’s a danger. Maybe I wish we had someone who scored 14 odd goals then we might not be talking about this position that we’re in.”

    How important was it getting Gershon Koffie minutes?

    “Very important. I had always planned to do it. The reason I did it for Mati Laba was that he started to get tired. He’s on four yellow cards and when he gets tired, all players make wrong decisions. He was sliding in a little bit, he missed two tackles when he usually makes them, so I made the decision because I need him next week.

    “It was great to get Gershon. It’s a win-win really. We get a valuable point and we get Gershon some valuable minutes.”

    On the play of Pedro Morales and subbing him out:

    “I thought Pedro started brightly. The start of the second half I thought he was okay, and I’m being kind there. Again, he’s on four yellow cards and I don’t want him to get booked. So I bring off my two Designated Players to protect them for next week as well. The guys that came in did fantastically well obviously to get a result.”

    On the performance of the returning Johnny Leveron:

    “It’s hard for certain players to come in at certain times. Johnny’s been out of the team for four games, obviously with Kendall coming in. He took time to settle in, but we kept a clean sheet. We’ll analyse it individually, we’ll go through the video with them but I can’t be too critical because we kept a clean sheet.

    On the lack of goalscoring chances created:

    I’m disappointed because we didn’t create enough chances higher up Darren had a half chance, Scooter maybe should have scored as well, but that’s credit to Jon Busch as well who made a fantastic save. I’m sure they’re disappointed, we’re disappointed, but I’m sure we’ll move on.”

    Did he watch the Portland-RSL game and will he be sending Nick Rimando a gift?

    “I did [watch it]. He’s a very good goalkeeper isn’t he?! It was a very intense game. Two excellent teams. You’re talking about Salt Lake, who have been in the playoffs seven consecutive years I believe, and Portland who won the Western Conference last year with the same group of players. So two fantastic teams. I watched it because I love watching football. I can’t control what goes on there. I can control what goes on with this group.”

    Was he more nervous watch that game on Friday or the Caps on Saturday?

    “Last night probably because it does have a bearing on it, but I’ve said all along, if we control out destiny going into the last game of the season, I’ll be happy and at the moment, we do. We’ll get back to work on Tuesday because it’s a big week for the football club. There’ll be a lot of work done this week in preparation for this game.”

    How important is it to get attack scoring against Colorado next week?

    “It would be nice to win 1-0 [as well]. It’s a very difficult game again where they’ve got nothing to lose and we’ve got everything to lose. They’ve beaten us twice this year and that’s why I’m not taking it lightly. It’s a very difficult game for us. I’ll make sure the guys know it. We’ll be organised, we’ll be disciplined, and we’ll go out to try and win the game because I think we’ll need to as I think Portland will go out and get a result in Dallas. Then it’s down to us to win the game. There will be a lot of work done this week in preparation for Saturday’s game.”

    On clinching the Champions League spot:

    “[it’s] very important to the club. We’ve never done it, so it was important that we tried to do that and we have done that. More games. Scheduling will be a nightmare for us no doubt. Four Champions League games minimum, then we’re talking about the Canadian Championship games as well. So there’s definitely going to be six, maybe eight games.

    “It’s great for my young players. I want to develop more young players. I’ve got a talented young group and it’ll give them opportunities. It’s great for the club and the organisation to be in the Champions League because only three of four teams get involved in that each year and we’re delighted for next year.”


    On the performance against San Jose:

    “Definitely wasn’t pretty, but sometimes you won’t play pretty and you’ll get the point and that was important today. We needed that point. We can go home and win and control our own destiny. Not a pretty game, not that great to watch I imagine, but so important that we got the point.

    On next week’s game against Colorado:

    “Win it and we’re in it. As simple as that. It’s nice to control our own fate that way. We’re looking forward to that game.”

    On attack not producing:

    “Definitely we want to produce more and we want to produce chances and goals, but when we’re not doing that I’m happy to see defensively that we’re really sound and doing good work. I know the guys up front will produce, they have done. I think you’ll see more chances, and hopefully more goals on Saturday.”

    Any concerns over his first half injury?

    “The last 15 minutes of the second half my hip locked up on me. He hit me pretty hard. I told the bench to keep Paolo ready. Luckily they worked on me at half time and I felt better and I could continue, but there was a little bit where I wasn’t sure if I should be in there. I want to be 100%, I want to help the team when I’m in there and if I don’t feel 100% I won’t go in there.

    “They worked on me and I told Marius to keep Paolo ready. He did tremendously. He warmed up the entire half to keep ready, which is testament to the pro he is. I felt better coming out for the half and after ten minutes I felt that I could finish the game.”

    After 12th clean sheet, how important was it for him to put up those numbers?

    “It’s always important to keep clean sheets, it’s always important to put up good numbers, and I’m happy with where I am. I said at the start of the season I felt really ready for it. I was in good shape, I worked really hard in the offseason coming in and I wanted to prove myself and I think I did. I’m not done yet and we’re not done yet as a team, so hopefully we can continue.”


    On the next week’s massive game against Colorado:

    “We said that we had five cup finals to play in and we’ve won three and tied one. So we’ve doing okay in the cup finals so far. This is the last cup final that we’re going to have to play in before the playoffs and we’re going to approach it like we have the past four games. I think if we stick to our gameplan and everybody focuses on their tasks, individually and collectively, I know we can get a result.

    “The confidence and belief is there. We come out of here with a very professional performance, take a point and we set ourselves up nicely for next week’s match.”

    On finally making the Champions League after all the previous heartbreak he’s been a part of::

    “It’s massive for us, not only for myself, but for the club and the entire organisation. From top to bottom everybody is thrilled and they’re going to be excited for next season. Those Champions League games are new for us and it’s going to be very exciting to play against all those different teams. It’s going to be a challenge and we’ve been taking on challenges all year long and we’ll have to do that next year as well.”

    What does playing in those kinds of games, atmospheres and different countries do for a young player?

    “I think it helps you grow for sure. I don’t want to look too much into it right now because we’ve got job to do and I want to keep my mind focussed and on task and that’s making the playoffs this season and that’s taking care of business next weekend.”


    Was it a happy homecoming for the former Santa Clara Bronco?

    “Yeah. Love playing here, I played here for three and a half years. It was a happy homecoming.”

    On controlling own destiny:

    “That’s all we want is to be in control. It’s a massive point. I’m proud of the guys to hold it out and get that point. Obviously we were trying to get the win, but a point gets us above that red line. We are in control and we’re ready for that game on Saturday.”

    On the overall game and performance

    “It was difficult out there. We battled, we fought, we ran, we played soccer at times.”

    On playing one final game at Buck Shaw:

    “It means a lot. I was praying to god thank you for giving me one last chance to play here. It was great. I have so many memories on this field and I’m going to keep them with me forever.”

    On clinching Champions League spot and what it would mean to him to play in it:

    “It’s awesome. It’s a great opportunity and when the time comes we can talk about it, but right now we’ve got to focus on our game next week.”



    On how it felt being the club’s interim head coach:

    "It felt really nice. I was happy with the player’s energy tonight. I thought they brought it tonight. I was very happy with the effort.”

    On defensive effort:

    "The whole back four was fabulous. It started with the first line and the midfield five putting pressure on Vancouver. They made it easier for the back four and I think the defence really stood out tonight. They made it very, very difficult for Vancouver.”


    On Buck Shaw Finale draw:

    “I think over the last seven years we’ve played here, more often than not it’s been a tough place for opponents to win. Defensively, we’ve been solid, although we’ve let up a little this year. For our fans to come out to Buck Shaw [stadium] one last time and see us pitch another shut out make our unit proud. We’re going to miss this place. Our fans brought a ton of energy week-in and week-out, through our ups and downs. We have a lot of respect for these fans and we’re hoping they follow us into the new stadium, on to bigger and better things. We appreciate them very much.”

    On 2014 play:

    “I was third on the depth chart at the beginning of the season, but I always made sure I’d stay ready. I’ve played a lot of games for this club, I’ve seen a lot of things here and I knew I would be called to contribute. I was able to get over my injury and personal matters off the field to establish a role with this team. I gave all I could every game and personally it’s a disappointment the way our season has ended, but I am proud of the way I played and I hope the fans are too.”


    On match:

    “The boys played fantastic in front of me tonight. I really didn’t have much to see from a shot perspective, which is a testament to them. We all knew that after a disappointing season we wanted to end our run at Buck Shaw with a victory against a playoff calibre team. Although we didn’t get that goal, our work ethic was unbelievable tonight and it’s fitting we end our time here with another strong defensive showing.”

    On favourite Buck Shaw memories:

    “I’ve been here for five years now so this has become home. It’s going to be sad to leave here, but at the same time it’s going to be that much more exciting to be in our new stadium. We’ve gone through a lot on this field. From the Supporter’s Shield and Goonies magic, to me being stepped on and having part of my ear torn, there was no shortage of memories made here. My favourite moments from Buck Shaw are my first start here and Ramiro Corrales being carried off of the field last season. For all of Ramiro’s service to this community, he was deservedly honoured by the team and fans. That shows this club is more than a team, it’s a family and we can’t wait to make new memories at our new home.”

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