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  1. REPORT: Well that's it all over for another season. Vancouver Whitecaps playoff dreams and MLS Cup hopes came crashing to a halt at BC Place on Sunday evening after an electrifying atmosphere and start fizzled out. What started out as a night to remember, ended as a night to forget, as goals from Fanendo Adi and Diego Chara gave Portland Timbers a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over a Whitecaps side that seemed short of ideas and any real attacking threat after Kekuta Manneh limped off with an ankle injury after just 26 minutes. Manneh had looked to be the game changer for Vancouver in a fast-paced start. As it turns out, he was, but it was due to his injury. The Whitecaps failure to get an away goal down in Portland also proved costly, as did their continued inability to turn their numerous chances into goals. Whitecaps' talismanic captain Pedro Morales returned to the starting line-up, in the only Vancouver change from the first leg, with Diego Chara returning to Portland's starting eleven. Only one of them was to have a huge influence in the game. Sadly for the 'Caps, it was Chara. With the first goal crucial, Vancouver attacked from the off and it was an electrifying start to the match from both teams. Kekuta Manneh was amped up for this one and causing the Timbers a lot of early problems. The Gambian fired a low shot narrowly wide right in the 6th minute, then followed it up moments later by running at the Portland defence and crashing another low shot off the left post, bouncing off the back of Timbers' keeper Adam Kwarasey and past for a corner. Diego Valeri had Portland's best chance in the 14th minute, with a long range curler that went wide. Vancouver's early pressure and efforts had come to nothing. It's something we've seen all season, with mixed results by the end of it. The 'Caps were then dealt a blow midway through the half when Manneh slipped and went over on his ankle and had to be replaced by Mauro Rosales. With two attacking midfielders now on the pitch that may struggle to see the end of the match, Vancouver's depth was going to be tested. Then things took an ever worse turn for the 'Caps in the 31st minute when the Timbers took the lead. Diego Valeri received the ball out left, hit the byeline and cut the ball back to an open Adi, who made no mistake in firing high into the Vancouver net. It was now looking to be a massive uphill battle for the Whitecaps. The away goal initially stunned Vancouver and BC Place, but the Whitecaps regrouped and finished the half strongly, with Kwarasey forced to tip an Octavio Rivero header over from under his bar, a minute before the break. Vancouver tried to take the game to Portland at the start of the second and had a couple of penalty shouts that were given no time by referee Elfath. The Timbers were looking comfortable and the 'Caps seemed to have nothing left to throw at them. David Ousted had to act quickly to keep out a Portland free kick that came through a mass of players untouched with ten minutes remaining. Vancouver weren't looking like getting one goal, never mind the two they needed, but as they pushed for any kind of consolation, Portland hit a second four minutes into stoppage time, when Chara buried an Adi layoff. 2-0 Portland and a trip to Dallas for their second Western Conference Championship game in two years now awaits the Timbers. Vancouver now have time to rest, reflect on what was a fairly successful year, regroup and fill that massive need that still remains in the goalscoring department. It's been a great year taken as a whole, but a horrible ending. Focus on the former will certainly come, but right now, it's hard to shake the latter. With the right additions and changes though, 2016 could be even better. But the bar is now set very high. Hopefully the 'Caps can still reach and get over it. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 0 Portland Timbers ATT: 27,837 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour (Robert Earnshaw 82), Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie (Darren Mattocks 63), Cristian Techera, Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Mauro Rosales 26); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Smith, Christian Dean, Russell Teibert] PORTLAND: Adam Kwarasey; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, Jorge Villafana (Norberto Paparatto 67); Diego Valeri (Jack Jewsbury 84), Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe; Dairon Asprilla, Fanendo Adi, Rodney Wallace (Lucas Melano 80) [subs Not Used: Jake Gleeson, Will Johnson, Taylor Peay, Maximiliano Urruti] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match changing when Kekuta Manneh came off: “Well, first of all I want to congratulate Portland, a credit to them for winning the game today, winning the two leg series. So, congratulations to them. It changed, dramatically. I think the kid started like a house on fire and put us in the ascendency with playing front football, and hit the two and have one or two half chances, then it changes. But when it’s not your day, it’s not your day and today, it wasn’t our day. We didn’t score a goal over two legs. When you don’t score a goal over two legs, unless you’re lucky and go to penalties and win, you’re not going to win a game of football, and that’s what happened.” On what the team needs to get that early decisive goal in games: “That’s a million dollar question. I think the reason strikers are paid so much money in this game is because they are able to put the ball into the back of the net and we haven’t been able to do that. Not just tonight, but for a number of games this year. That’s something I’ll have to go back to the drawing board with my staff in the offseason, and try and bring some more goals, because it’s ultimately cost us a little bit, especially tonight, and that’s something you have to take on the chin.” On whether he thinks he waited too long to make an offensive substitution: “No, because I made it at 58 minutes or so. I wanted to get a reaction out of the boys. I think they played very well in the first half. The game’s fine lines. Adi scores a good goal, probably we’re not set up properly off a throw in and pull back, he scores. You know, we had a chance last Sunday with Rivero on his left foot, but we don’t hit the target, he scores. In hindsight, you can say that a minute after he scored, maybe I should have changed it. But no, we give it a little bit. We changed the formation twice to try and get back into it. I think we could have been there another 90 minutes and not scored, it’s one of them.” On if not getting the away goal in Portland was key to the match: “I’ll never know, I suppose. As I said, they are disappointed today, disappointed for the guys in there, but really proud of them. They should come away from this season, we’ve achieved a lot of things at this football club and they should be proud of themselves. Disappointed, yes, we’ve missed an opportunity, a missed opportunity for us this year. But, we’re a young group of players and we’ll learn from it. As I said to you when I first walked in here, credit to Portland. They’re a good team.” On what the positives were this season: “I’m proud of them because they’ve achieved a number of firsts this year. The game is about proving people wrong and I’ve said that to you all along. If you don’t score a goal, you’ve got to continue to work hard to create chances to score goals. If you concede three goals, you’ve got to get back to basic defending probably. There’s a lot of positives, as I’ve said, they’re disappointed today because the fans out there were fantastic. What an atmosphere. I’m disappointed we couldn’t win the game for them. But that gives us a little taste and a sample of what we can do if we continue to build and continue to get positive results, because they supported us right until the 95th minute, which was great and I thank them for that.” KENDALL WASTON On a tough way to end the season: “We were expecting here at home [to] win the game. We’re disappointed because we worked very hard during all the season to get to the final, looking to make a lot of history here at the club. But I’m very proud of my teammates because even when we were down we were trying to look how we could have scored, but it’s hard because Portland is a very good team and they deserved to win.” On starting with energy before Kekuta Manneh went out injured: “This is about scoring. We couldn’t score, Portland got their opportunity and everything shut off there. But it’s very hard not to talk because you feel a little disappointed and sad, so I’m sorry.” On not scoring a goal: “Very hard because we were looking corner kicks, free kicks, all over the place how to score and we didn’t get the opportunity clearly to score. But the other team played very good and they tried to defend very well.” On disappointment of team not playing their best match: “Yes, a lot. Everybody tried their 100 per cent. But now we just have to congratulate Portland for the win, and now we’re just looking forward for the next year trying to reach this place and trying to get to the finals.” DAVID OUSTED Thoughts on the match: “Right now I’m very disappointed. Over 180 minutes we weren’t good enough. I’m proud of where we are and where we came to with this group, the growth we’ve shown throughout the year, but it’s a step short of where I wanted to go.” On having an early chance to get the go-ahead goal: “Obviously, we hit the post and Adam got it outside with, I think it was his neck. And obviously if that goes in it’s a different game. But like I say, all-in-all we don’t want to stand here and make excuses. Over 180 minutes I think Portland were the better team.” On the atmosphere: “We’ve had fantastic fans the whole year, and this is what we want as an organization, we want 27,000 here every time. We want at one point being able to open up this whole stadium. This is a step in the right direction, but like I say it’s a step short of where we wanted to go.” MAURO ROSALES On the performance v Portland: "We didn't perform as good as we played the last couple of games. It was a crucial game for us. This kind of game you have to step up with a different mentality, with a different approach to the games. Do your 110 percent every time. We had a good run during the season. When we should perform at higher levels, we didn't. Disappointed but proud of the team for how hard they've worked during the year." On the Whitecaps season: "I'm proud of the team. A lot of positive things, a lot of positive players coming up, doing a very good job. High levels all season for many of our players. We just wait for next year now." PORTLAND TIMBERS CALEB PORTER Thoughts on the win: “I think we managed both legs really well. We didn’t give up the away goal which led into this game. We knew they would want to come out, and yet we wanted to be aggressive as well. We went for the first goal, and we got it. It was something we worked on, in terms of getting in that left channel. It was a great goal. Then that meant now that we could manage the game with the ball, which we did second half. You saw the possession that we had and we were able to keep them from attacking by doing that, and keep them from playing the transition they like to play by slowing the tempo down with the ball. We were very patient and organized and they had a hard time breaking us down and then we found the counterattack, which I knew would be on as they tried to push because they needed two goals after we found the first one. So I thought it was very well managed overall.” On Norberto Paparatto having to sub in for injured Jorge Villafana: “They needed two goals, so they started just throwing numbers forward and putting guys in up top so it made sense to put Paparatto in and push Liam over to left back, he can sit in and we can play almost with three central defenders. So it made sense at that stage in the game. And then when they made their last move putting Earnshaw in, then we went to two holding mids, just to kind of give us an extra number defensively. But listen, it’s the players, it’s nothing to do with my moves or things I do. It’s them playing inside the lines. This team, they play for each other, they’re very hungry, and the last six games we’re unbeaten. The last six games we’ve been in playoff mode, we’ve been in massive pressure. For this group to play the football they’re playing, under massive pressure, is a really good sign. Four teams left, and three games to go, and we have two teams in our way.” On two weeks before the next match: “We need to recharge and recover from this game, we have time to do that. And then we need to get back to training, and keep getting better. I think we’re still scratching the surface of the level this team can play at. Today we did some things we haven’t done all year. So that’s exciting, because I think we can still, in the next couple of weeks, go to another level. " On facing FC Dallas: “Very good team, but we’ve been playing good teams late in the year. Like I said, we’ve been in playoff mode. I think that’s helped us. I think our experience in the playoffs helped us in this series. We’ve already won a playoff series versus Seattle [in] 2013. I think this is now our fourth win in the playoffs. The maturity we showed today, the professionalism we showed in managing this leg, and both legs, I thought was visible. Obviously Dallas is a good team, but we’ve been beating good teams. I know these guys will be up for it.” FANENDO ADI On his match-winning goal: “That was just something we practice at training. When I saw Diego [Valeri] on the ball, I knew he was going to cut it back. We talked about getting [Kendall] Waston out of the box and he followed the ball. I knew he was going to cut it back and I just stayed in position. The ball came and I hit it well.” On the Timbers attack clicking tonight: “It’s massive. It’s just understanding. We’ve trained and played a lot with these guys. You understand their movement and your movement as well. It’s just an understanding and it worked very well for us today.” On Diego Chara’s late goal: “That was a massive goal. It’s almost the same goal he got against, I think, FC Dallas. He won the ball and I was in position so he gave it to me. I just let [Kendall] Waston get to my side again and give the ball back to him and he did a great job finishing well.” On playing against Kendall Waston: “It’s always a good battle going up against such a good player. He’s big and he challenges you to be very focused to challenge balls against him. It was a great battle. I’m glad we came out victorious.” DIEGO CHARA On tonight’s win: “Our mentality tonight was to win. We tried to keep the ball and manage the tempo. We were effective with our chances. These were the real key for us.” On his late goal: “My role is to defend but sometimes I find space to attack, and tonight I did.” On facing FC Dallas: “FC Dallas are a good team. They have good players. The first leg will be at home and we need to win that.” On Fanendo Adi’s goal: “We’re confident in him because he can score. It was a great moment for him.” LIAM RIDGEWELL On tonight’s win: “Last time we were here, it was disappointing. They scored in the very last minute. It was very satisfying tonight. The boys played fantastic. I thought we deserved to win. I’m looking forward to the next game.” On Robert Earnshaw’s performance: “He tried his luck. Rob has always done that back home and since coming over here. I think we did well tonight as a team defensively. They couldn’t break us down. As soon as we got the first goal, we knew they had to get two. [Diego] Chara put the icing on the cake. It was fantastic.” On the team’s celebration after Diego Chara’s goal: “It was fantastic. The goal at the end certainly put the nail in the coffin. Everyone celebrating together was fantastic. That’s what we’ve been about over the last two and half months. Riding the wave, everyone together. We’re looking to do that next game.”
  2. REPORT: Delicately poised. That's perhaps the best phrase to sum up the current standing of the all-Cascadian Western Conference semi-final between Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. There were no goals at Providence Park on Sunday but both teams had their chances. The 'Caps could have been two up at half-time. The Timbers could have had it all square at 2-2 by full time. Those away goals would have set Vancouver up nicely. Instead it's goalless and all to play for next Sunday at BC Place. Carl Robinson went with an unchanged Vancouver line-up from the team that secured their first round bye in last week's 3-0 win over Houston. Portland served up a shock, with Thursday's shoot-out hero, goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, missing out through a late injury. Diego Chara also sat out for Caleb Porter's side. It was a frenetic opening spell, with both teams piling forward in attacks. Portland had the best of the early chances when Tim Parker failed to deal with a low cross in from the left but Lucas Melano shot weakly at David Ousted in the 7th minute, when he should have done better. Vancouver's best chance came eight minutes before the half, when a quick break from Gershon Koffie ended with a Kekuta Manneh cross into the box but Octavio Rivero rushed at his shot, when he had time, and blasted wildly over. Inbetween those chances there hadn't really been any goalmouth action in what had been a fast paced half. The 'Caps had another excellent opportunity to open the scoring moments later but Koffie squandered the good build up play. It surprisingly took until the 44th minute for the first yellow card to come, but then with two in a minute, one for each side, the fear was that the floodgates were now open in that aspect. Whatever Caleb Porter said to Portland at the half, it worked and they came out all guns blazing and with their tails up to start the second half, launching wave after wave of attacks. The Whitecaps defence was certainly bending, but not breaking and Kendall Waston did well to scramble the ball away in the 54th minute, after Fanendo Adi had been played in but Ousted was out quick to knock the ball clear. Manneh forced an easy save at the near post in the 71st minute, after a build up that felt like it had 100 passes. Portland responded with Diego Valeri forcing a stunning one hand save from Ousted from a free kick, 25 yards out. With the Timbers continuing to push on a slick pitch, the 'Caps survived some scrambles in their box, as they struggled to get out from being penned in deep. The game became end to end and Ousted had to get down to a low Urruti shot late on, but it was a fairly easy save for the Dane. Urruti came within inches of grabbing a late winner for the Timbers in the last minute, when he was slipped in but could only look on in agony as he crashed his shot off the right hand post. A close call and a lucky escape for Vancouver. Referee Allen Chapman showed balls of steel to blow for full time after the Timbers had won a corner, but it kept the game all square. Probably a fair result and setting up what has the potential to be a truly epic battle in Vancouver next Sunday. FINAL SCORE: Portland Timbers 0 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 21,144 PORTLAND: Jake Gleeson; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, Jorge Villafana; Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri; Rodney Wallace, Lucas Melano (Dairon Asprilla 61), Fanendo Adi (Maxi Urruti 71) [subs Not Used: Andrew Weber, Taylor Peay, Norberto Paparatto, Will Johnson, George Fochive] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Russell Teibert, Cristian Techera, Gershon Koffie (Mauro Rosales 63), Kekuta Manneh (Pedro Morales 77); Octavio Rivero (Darren Mattocks 88) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Smith, Christian Dean, Deybi Flores] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On if he was nervous in the match and if he’s happy with the draw: “That’s not nervous compared to Thursday night where I sat in the stands watching Portland and [sporting] Kansas City. That was very calm. We came into the game with a game plan. We knew what we wanted to do. I think we executed it perfectly. In the first half I thought we were very, very good up until the final third. We missed our chances. I think we should have been ahead in the first half. In the second half, as expected, they’re going to change slightly. They came out and were probably the more aggressive team. Obviously we rode our luck in the last minute, but I think we deserve it.” On if he’s disappointed in not getting a goal on the road: “Of course. Everyone wants [a goal]. I’m sure they want a home goal as well. The mindset now changes to next week’s game at BC Place and they are important away goals, we know that, but we had two great chances in the first half and we didn’t take them. Nothing you can do. You have to get back to work.” On if either team has an advantage heading into the next game: “I just think it’s just one game of football. It’s come down to final ends again. We talked about final ends today in the game whether we went ahead in the first half then they [get] it at the end. It’s which players perform on the day. [These are] two good teams. I said in that in the build up to the game. I’ll rely on my players turning out and Caleb will rely on his players turning up. It should be an exciting game.” On if his game plan will be affected if Portland scores first at BC Place: “No. We just have to win the game. If we win the game of football at home in our backyard then we are through. If they get an away goal then they know they have the slight advantage there but we will rest up and be ready for next week as well.” On goalkeeper David Ousted’s performance: “He’s been brilliant. He’s been brilliant all season for me. Obviously, he’s taken over the captaincy since Pedro [Morales] has been out the team. I remember him making a great save from Diego Valeri. Super free kick and obviously he gets a bit of luck at the end. Sometimes you need luck in this game as we all know.” On if Pedro Morales can be expected to play next Sunday: “Certainly hope so. You see the quality he has when he comes on. Mauro Rosales as well. We’ve missed these players. You want your good players in your team. The guys who have been playing have done fantastically well for us. It’ll set up nicely, give them a week of full training and I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.” On if midfielder Kekuta Manneh could have done better today: “No. I think he worked his socks off for the team. With all attacking players I’m sure they’re always judged by the journalists by goals and assists but as a coach you see the outside work that they do. He put a great shift in. He had one or two chances to do better in the final third which I’m sure he’ll admit but if it doesn’t come off for you in the attacking third you have to put a shift in or you don’t play.” On defender Kendall Waston’s performance: “Again, I think the word is monster again. Him and Tim Parker had their hands full, we know that. [Timbers forward] Maxi [urruti] comes on with his little movements and things like that. The back six of the team were fantastic today. As I said, you get your reward in this game if you put the work in and we certainly put a lot of work in today. We got our award in the first leg but we’re at halftime. There’s a lot to play for and it should set up nicely for next week.” On if midfielder Gershon Koffie is a number 10 player: “No he’s not but you change formations as managers and you try and get other players on the field because you want your players to perform. He has done a great job for me today in that role. Is it his ideal role? No and he’ll be the first to admit that but it’s not about individuals, it’s about the team and getting a result like this today.” On his decision to put midfielder Pedro Morales in the game: “It’s important he gets some football and gets some minutes in a competitive match under his belt. We’re thinking about playing him next week and bringing him off the bench was an option for me. Had to do it because I think Portland had the upper hand at that time and the game was starting to open up a little bit and I thought maybe we could execute our final passes. He brought calmness to our play which he does because he’s a top player.” On Portland’s shot that hit the post: “Sometimes it’s out of your hands. You just hope it’s not down to a mistake or a bad decision or things like that. We’ll take the post.” KENDALL WASTON On the overall match: “It was a hard match because this is a final and nobody wants to give anything. First half I think that we had some opportunities that we could have scored but this is soccer, just like them in the second half they made some good stops. I think now everything leads us to the second match that I think it’s going to be harder.” On if he was relieved when the shot went off the post in the 89th minute: “For sure. Nobody wants to let their team score. All those things count and I think today we had a good performance. We want to do things correctly and Portland was at home with their crowd and I think they had a great game as well.” On goalkeeper David Ousted’s performance: “Awesome. I think he’s the best goalkeeper in MLS. Every game he stands there and tries to get a clean sheet and today he helped us a lot.” On if he’s disappointed with not scoring on the road: “Disappointing is when you play and you don’t try your best. I think today we tried our best. Octavio [Rivero] and our other forwards were trying to score. Nobody wanted to kick the ball outside. The main thing is that we have team spirit, we have faith that the team is going to compete and hopefully next game we can win at home.” On having midfielder Pedro Morales return tonight: “[it was] great because we know that Pedro helps us a lot. He was working hard in his recovery and now everyone I think is available. It’s going to be a great battle during the week to see who is going to be the 11 starters.” PEDRO MORALES On making his return to the field: “I feel very happy. I have been waiting for this moment for maybe two months and not playing too much. Today I played 50 minutes and I feel OK. It’s a great result to come back home at BC Place. We have a big chance in the house now. [We] just [need to] keep the same work in the week and just prepare for the big game next week.” On if playing today sets him up to play at least a half next Sunday: “I don’t know. I’ll try yes. I need to train good this week and then it just depends on where you fit the team. I just need to work.” On if he felt any pain out there: “No. This is the reason I played. I don’t feel pain now. It’s the reason I’m very happy to come back and play. Now I’ve been working my way back for the team and just next week is a big game.” On the key to getting a goal next week: “Play hard. Take the ball. They have very good players and it’s a big, big game. [it] may be the last game for us or for Portland. You need to compete 100 percent. Now it’s a great opportunity to score and take a goal [at home]” On goalkeeper David Ousted’s performance: “[it was] very good. I think this year David’s had a good season for the team. For us, he’s a very good player. I think the best in the MLS. Just keep the same work now and wait for this game.” On if he thought his season was over after the last injury: “The last injury I thought maybe San Jose [would be] my last game this year but the team, the staff just gave me so much support. Now I feel OK, just keeping the same work every day and just wait for the last game now.” On who has the advantage going into the second game: “Maybe [us]. We need the support at BC Place. [There might be] maybe more than 25,000 people [at the stadium]. It’s very important for us. We’re very excited for this game and now we have a big chance for a win for the city, as a family for the club.” DAVID OUSTED On if one team has an advantage going into the next game: “Hopefully we have the advantage of being home at BC Place. Hopefully we go home now and make sure that we get that goal to lure them out a little bit.” On if there’s more pressure knowing they’ll need to score two goals if Portland gets one: “There’s pressure all the time. There’s pressure as well of keeping a clean sheet and keeping them off the scoreboard. I don’t think more than usual. We’ll assess that game and go in and try and win it.” On what he saw in Diego Valeri’s free kick: “I saw it pretty clear. I saw when it was going past the wall and I’ve seen him a few times. He likes that corner and is fantastic at putting it there so I needed a little bit extra to get there.” On how his team performed tonight: “I thought we did well. I thought it was a professional showing of what we needed to do, be defensively sound and make sure they didn’t get that goal so we needed to chase. I thought we did well. Obviously we would have loved to get that away goal but it wasn’t to be today. Now we go back to BC Place and try and win it.” On knowing that Portland wouldn’t show their exhaustion from a long match on Thursday: “We knew that coming in here was going to be tough. We knew that their crowd was going to give them that little bit of extra. [Did they have] tired legs? Yes, maybe a little bit but they were going on adrenaline and their crowd .We knew it was going to be tough and I’m delighted with the result we take away from here.” On defender Kendall Waston’s performance: “Kendall showed what he has been showing all year, that he’s so strong in the air. He does very well defensively. With the other three guys in the back four there, they’re very solid. Kendall has been showing it all year and we need him to keep showing it in this playoff run here.” PORTLAND TIMBERS CALEB PORTER On his team’s performance today: “I thought their effort was outstanding. We played a game on Thursday, 120 minutes, to go through what we went through physically and emotionally and to turn around and play like we played today, put ourselves in a position to win the game. We got a couple chances, those didn’t fall, but we were outstanding defensively. Obviously we were the team that was on the ball more. I'm real proud of the guys for that. In saying that, Vancouver they showed tonight why they were the best defensive team in the league. Their goalkeeper Ousted was outstanding, [Kendall] Waston’s a beast and they are a good team. So I thought even though there wasn’t a goal, if you know the game, it was a really good game to watch. It puts us in a good spot. Obviously not as good as if we would have won 1-0, but they didn’t get the away goal. So if we score one goal, they have to score two. If we score two goals, they have to score three. It will make for a very interesting second leg. We’ve won seven games on the road and we’ve been very hot on the road recently and we’ve scored goals on the road. It puts us in a good position to go and play for the win.” On Jake Gleeson’s performance: “I thought he was great today. We want that out of our young players when they get the opportunity to be able to step in. We’ve had several in that position this year and they’ve all done a really good job. He didn’t have a ton to do, but what he did have to manage I think he looked very comfy.” On if the pressure is back on Vancouver: “It was a defensive battle. We knew it would be. Usually the first legs are tight because they always set up the next game, but you saw they went for attacking subs at the end. I think the reason is they wanted that away goal. They didn’t get it. Unfortunately we didn’t find the goal either, but now that we go on the road knowing that we are a good road team and knowing we just have to win the game. We can even draw as long as we score a goal.” On moving Darlington Nagbe deeper in the second half: “Second half we wanted to get more possession and I think we did that. I think it helped us control the game better. The reason was getting him on the ball, bringing him deep to help build attacks. I haven’t seen his numbers today but I bet they are pretty high in terms of his pass completions. Overall we didn’t find the goal but we certainly were the team that controlled the majority of the play. They were dangerous on the counter a couple of times, but other than set pieces and counters they didn’t have much. I thought again it was two very good defensive teams and that showed today. So I’m not surprised that I was 0-0. I actually thought it would be 1-0, either way. I thought there was a goal in there and I thought it was going to be us. You saw at the end of the game we were pushing. I looked like we would find it Maxi had the chance. A bit unfortunate, but maybe it evened things out from Thursday with the post hurting us instead of helping us this game.” On the importance of depth and performance from players off the bench: “Really important. Hopefully we are in the playoffs all the way to the end because we had to play the extra game yellow card suspensions could play in. So we need those guys. Rodney’s [Wallace] on one, [Diego] Valeri’s on one, Ridgy’s [Liam Ridgewell] is on one and [George] Fochive, if you get one more than you’ll miss a game. So because of that, obviously, we need guys to be ready, but also you never know with injuries. As you go on in the playoffs you need to go to your bench at times. It’s big that we can put those guys in and they perform. They’ve performed really well now two straight games. We had planned to put those guys in in the second half. I thought they did give us a spark.” On keeping the team in a rhythm even though Chara remains out: “With Jack [Jewsbury] staying in and being in a rhythm I really liked the fact even though the fatigue factor was played up. I liked the fact that we were in a rhythm of playing. In the playoffs, sometimes even though you don’t have a ton of rest it’s better psychologically just to keep playing. I thought our guys looked comfortable. This is our second year in the playoffs and we’ve got three wins and this is Vancouver’s third year and they are still looking for that first win in the playoffs. So I think that experience will hopefully help us.” On how to keep the momentum and mindset going with a bit longer break between games: “I think we need to recharge. It couldn’t come at a better time. We knew obviously that it’s a two-leg series and we need to put ourselves in a position where we can have a week off – a week to prep, a week to recharge and go into the game fresh. I was surprised how fresh we looked, to be honest with you. I didn’t think it would be a big factor but it really didn’t look like it was a factor at all in the game. I was really pleased, I can’t ask for anything more out of the guys. Like I said, we put ourselves in position now where we have a week to really look at Vancouver, look at this game, prepare and come out flying. We are going to try to score goals. We are not going to sit back. Obviously we will be smart like we were today. But we play to win and we play to score goals. We are capable of scoring goals and if we score goals, now they have to get one more than us.” On decision to have Alvas Powell play a little bit more reined in: “There were little things that we felt playing 120 minutes Thursday there were some things that we needed to do to kind of manage the game. One of those things was to play a little bit more conservatively with our outside backs. Part of that is Vancouver as well with [Cristian] Techera and [Kekuta] Manneh, we knew they would look to hit us on counters and we didn’t want to get into a track meet in the game. This is one of the few times where that wouldn’t benefit us because obviously we had a lot of miles on the legs. So we played with Alvas [Powell] and Jorge [Villafaña] a little bit more conservatively to help manage the counter attack with their two wingers, but also to manage their legs. The other thing we did is stayed a little bit more compact, didn’t press as much. We wanted to keep our shape and we also talked about having possession just to control the tempo and in some ways, slow the game down a little bit." JAKE GLEESEON On when he knew he was going to start: “I got a text this morning from Adin [brown} just saying Adam [Kwarasey] isn’t feeling the best, so just be ready. As a backup, you always have to be ready, you don’t know when you’re going to go in. Just look at [Jon] Kempin the other night. So when I was walking in, Adam gave me a call and said ‘I’m heading home. I’m not feeling well.’ He was really sick. That’s when I really, officially found out I was playing, so it was a pretty exciting morning.” On comparing playing in the postseason with his start in Portland’s first MLS home game in 2011: “Obviously the first home game was a few years ago now, so it’s been a few years since I’ve been back out there. Once you’ve played at that level and go back, it’s like picking up where you left off. The chanting, the sounds, the stadium and all, are very familiar to me. I’ve been here so long. So it’s just like in any other game. You just go out there, keep your head down, but obviously a great experience to be back out there.” On hearing the reaction of the Timbers Army when he came out to warm up: “They give you a boost for sure. It’s like playing with an extra man or 21,000 extra men. They definitely give you that extra boost you need to get out there and do what you need to do. I’m a very calm person out there, so I don’t let it get to me too much. I like to stay focused, but it’s good. I like playing in front of them.” JACK JEWSBURY General thoughts on the match: “Kind of like we thought it would be, to be honest. We knew it was going to be tight. We knew they’re a great defensive team. We knew we weren’t going to get a ton of looks, but we got enough to get a goal. I thought the one of Maxi’s was in and I already started running down the left side to celebrate with him. So unfortunate that that one didn’t go in. We set ourselves up with a good opportunity now to move on. We’ve been a team that, on the road, has been very good. So we’re confident about next weekend.” On Jake Gleeson’s performance: “Jake’s a guy that got a ton of games with T2 and that’s what that’s all about. Getting reps for goalkeepers and backups that keeps them fresh. We’ve seen in training the last couple months that he’s been with us that he’s an exceptional young goalkeeper. We weren’t nervous at all about him stepping in. He did a great job tonight.” On if he was tired following the extra time and penalties against Sporting Kansas City: “For me to say not at all would probably be a lie. There were definitely moments where you have to catch that second wind, but the reality is at this time of year, it’s the playoffs. So everything gets thrown out the window in terms of being tired. We had two days off almost where we could regroup and get our bodies back to normal. It wasn’t that much different from a midweek hard training that we’d have on Wednesday. Obviously not 120 minutes long and the emotions that were in the Kansas City game, but overall I thought we looked very fresh. Sometimes that can be at your benefit when you’re on a good run like we are with four wins. We’re just looking forward to a few days off here. Relax a little bit and then get back to work for next Sunday.” On the importance of keeping a clean sheet with the away goals rule in play: “Obviously it’s important when road goals come into play. We thought late in the game that we could continue to push. They were going to be OK with a tie, but I think, even with some of their substitutions, you could tell that they were still trying to push for that road goal.” DIEGO VALERI General thoughts on the match: “We are happy with the performance but obviously not happy with the result. We deserved more, but it is what it is. We had some chances in the second half to score and we didn’t. But we’re in a good position. I think we were the better team on the field today, even if we played 120 minutes on Thursday. I’m happy with the performance. I think the team played really well.” On keeping a clean sheet and the away goal advantage heading to Vancouver: “It’s always very important because in this style of tournament, the clean sheet is very important. It’s good. Now we’re in a good position to score a goal there and force them to score two goals.” On the benefit of a full week of rest ahead of the second leg: “It’s good. It’s good because we have couple guys with some knocks, some problems. We need to rest. Tomorrow is a day off, so we will rest. It’s good. We have to watch the game to see what we need to fix and keep working.” On Jake Gleeson’s performance: “Amazing. I think he looked very mature. He’s a great ‘keeper and I’m very happy for him.” On the difficulty breaking down Vancouver: “I think because they defend with a lot of people, they put a lot of numbers behind the ball. I think we controlled the game. It was good because we were patient and we found some chances, very clear chances to score. We were a little bit unlucky. I had the free kick, Maxi’s chance and a couple more. I liked the way we played.”
  3. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): Vancouver Whitecaps avoided backsliding into the playoffs, defeating Houston Dynamo 3-0 in front of a sold out BC Place. Second half goals by Kekuta Manneh, Kendall Waston and Robert Earnshaw proved to be the difference, while David Ousted picked up his club equalling 13th cleansheet of the season. There certainly wasn’t a lack of chances for Vancouver in the first 15 minutes and they came inches away from taking the early lead. Cristian Techera stole the ball from keeper Joe Willis three minutes in, then crossed it to Octavio Rivero who looked to have an open net but his header was fantastically finger-tipped away by Willis. Techera had his own chance to score soon after, finding himself free at the top of box and firing a strike that beat the keeper only to hit the bar and stay out. With ten minutes to go in the opening half, the Dynamo started to control the play and had their best chance come off the foot of Giles Barnes, with a low drive that forced David Ousted into a diving save to keep the game scoreless going into the half. The first 13 minutes after the break lacked any real chances by either team but in the 59th minute Kekuta Manneh finally got the breakthrough to put the Caps ahead. It was Koffie, after receiving a pass from Laba, who squared the ball to Manneh and after a touch beat Willis from 25 yards out. The home side would double their lead in the 72nd minute when Kendall Waston connected on a Techera corner. The big defender beat two Dynamo players to the ball inside the six yard area heading the ball to the far post. A third goal would be added to the final score with Robert Earnshaw finding the net within seconds of coming on, giving the second half sub his second of the season. The timing of the victory couldn’t have come at a better time, ending the club’s five game winless streak and giving them some momentum heading into the playoffs. The Caps have also clinched the second spot in the Western Conference which gives them a bye into the Conference semi-finals next Sunday, starting on the road in either LA, Portland or Seattle. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 - 0 Houston Dynamo ATT: 21,000 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert; Cristian Techera (Mauro Rosales 74), Gershon Koffie, Kekuta Manneh (Jordan Smith 85); Octavio Rivero (Robert Earnshaw 90+2) [substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Christian Dean, Deybi Flores, Nicolas Mezquida] DALLAS Joe Willis; Sheanon Williams, David Horst, Raul Rodriguez, DaMarcus Beasley; Leonel Miranda (Boniek Garcia 63), Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Giles Barnes (Rob Lovejoy 89); Will Bruin, Erick Torres (Mauro Manotas 61) [substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Alex Lima, Rasheed Olabiyi, Taylor Hunter] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On tonight’s win: “Obviously I’m happy, we got what we deserved. I really believe that if you work hard and do things right, then you get rewarded, and we got our reward today. We won the game versus a very good team with a very good coach and good players. I thought we could score in the first half, but their goalkeeper made really good saves, but we kept working hard and we eventually won the game.” Did he know they were sitting fifth at half time?: “I told the team that we needed to keep the focus on the game because if we don’t win the game, it doesn’t really matter which position we would have been in. We wouldn’t have gotten the position that we occupy now if we didn’t win the game today. I really didn’t want to lose my focus because if I lose my focus and my players lose their focus, we wouldn’t win this game, that’s why I didn’t ask anything at the halftime.” On the decision factor in not playing Nicolas Mezquida: “My medical staff. I’m very lucky here because this club is a fantastic organization, made by fantastic people, with fantastic supporters. I keep talking about the players every week. Sometimes people say I put too much pressure on them and I really do, this is my job, but today it’s all about the people that make this club great. I mean every single person associated with the club. The medical staff told me it could have been a risk (to play Mezquida), so I made this decision.” On having a young club: “We have lot of young players, we are the youngest team in MLS. People sometimes don’t believe you can actually build a team with young players and be successful but I firmly did and the club did a fantastic job backing me on that. The players bought into it from day one and we produced two years of very good football.” On the turnaround after the past month’s results: "Everyone makes mistake, we are humans, but we always try to rectify those mistakes. So today we want to give credit to the guys and talk about them, not about me, because we reached a fantastic goal." On making the playoffs: “It’s a great achievement, I’m really proud of the guys and of the club. I firmly believe we recruited a good group of players and we could do something big. We are in the playoffs for the second year in a row, and for the third time in the club’s history. We will try to win it. There will be eight teams that will try to win, we just want to see how far we can go.” On the energy in the second half: “The energy that the players put in the second half was great and we need to give credit to them. I just gave a small talk before the second half, I just told them we need to play with more tempo because after the first 15 to 20 minutes, I wasn’t really happy.” On the team’s overall health: “Hopefully, I can get a couple of players fit and healthy. As a manager, they criticize everything you do, and I’m aware of that. I brought 14 players to Honduras, Russell Teibert played 90 minutes in the Champions League match and played 90 minutes today as well. We will be ready for the playoffs and we will see how far we can go.” On Pedro Morales’ injury status: “Ask him, he will tell you. We will do some test in the next days and we will see, but he’s desperate to play and to be involved in the games.” On the second-place finish in the Western Conference: “I thing we deserved, during the course of the season, to get where we are. After 34 games, the league doesn’t lie, so I think we deserved to be where we are today.” On any playoff superstitions: “I’m not really superstitious, I keep a picture of my father in my pocket and no more. No superstition in football.” KENDALL WASTON On scoring in the regular season finale again: “This one feels great because we knew that today we needed to win and just wait for the other results. The most important thing was only to believe in us. We thought that it didn’t matter if we scored in the first minute or the last minute, we just needed to win it today.” On what was said at halftime: “Continue to be patient, have the ball, and play simple. They didn’t have any pressure today, and we know that we needed to win anyhow, but we have to defend properly. So that was the focus in the second half, and be more patient and the goals will come.” On his emotions after scoring the goal: “I was relieved. First half, I had like two chances I think, but the third one came in so hopefully now a lot of them will come to me in the playoffs.” On set pieces in the playoffs: “Set pieces, they are very important because the games are so close, especially in the playoffs. Set pieces are going to be an important thing for us and for any team.” On winning Whitecaps FC Player of the Year: “We have a lot of great teammates, like Matias Laba, Pedro Morales, David Ousted – he had a good season. When the fans vote, I’m very happy.” On getting a Knockout Round bye: “It’s good because we close at home and now we make history for the club and it’s always good to make new things for the club.” KEKUTA MANNEH On what was said at halftime: “Nothing really. We didn’t have to talk much in the locker room. We did all the talking throughout the year. It’s about what we do on the field, we do all the talking on the field. We finally took our chances, we’ve created a lot of chances throughout the year. We knew it was going to come one of these days, and today was the game it came.” On scoring after missing chances during the season: “Like I said, it’s a work in progress. We work at it all week in training and it finally paid off. There’s games where we’ve had chances and we didn’t take them. We were very unfortunate, and today things went our way.” On his goal taking the team from fifth place to second place in the Western Conference: “We didn’t even realize it, but when I came off everyone was excited. It’s great that we’re second and we don’t have to play on Thursday and we can have more energy for the Sunday game.” On confidence from scoring: “It’s great, it was great for me to score that goal. It lifted the team up and opened up the game. We were fortunate to have two more goals. It was great for my confidence as well going into the playoffs. I told the media earlier, it would be great if we can have at least two different people score.” HOUSTON DYNAMO OWEN COYLE: On the loss to Whitecaps: “Credit to Vancouver. You saw the atmosphere there, that’s the atmosphere that we’re looking to have next year in Houston. They have a terrific young coach and a very good team. Good luck to them.” On what Houston Dynamo need to improve on: “Ultimately, goals change games, we know that. If we had gotten a goal up, of course, it changes the game. I’ve said this consistently – when you have bloodied noses, that’s when you have to stand up and look to try to get back in the game. We didn’t do that well enough. We got away from that. We’ve looked at ourselves extensively over the course of the season, we need to get better, it’s as simple as that. We certainly know how to do that and what we need to do to implement those changes. That’s what we need to do. Our aspirations are to be in the playoffs, as Vancouver will be now as they try to win the MLS Cup. The technical staff knows what we have to do and we’ll make those changes.” On Ricardo Clark’s performance: “Ricardo has been out the last two or three days, he missed training yesterday. We know what we have in him. He did well but the bottom line is it’s not about who does well individually. It’s about a collective effort and that’s what we strive for, to get better collectively.” On the Whitecaps attack: “Whitecaps FC started the season really well. When you pick up injuries to your key players, it can affect your team. What they have is a real pace on the counter attack in transition with Kekuta Manneh and Cristian Techera, and Octavio Rivero can move as well. All credit to them, they’ve got quite an exciting team. They’ll feel confident, they have good players and a good team. ” GILES BARNES On the end of the Houston Dynamo season: “It’s obviously disappointing. It’s been a roller coaster season. We’ve had high highs and we’ve had low lows. It’s been a learning experience. We have a lot of young players and new players. We have to come back swinging next year. We’ve had hard times with international duties, injuries, and suspensions that we’ve had to deal with at key times. At the end of the day, we didn’t make the playoffs. We have to correct that.” On what Houston Dynamo need to improve on: “Maybe we need to take a little bit of softness out of us when we go a goal down. I’d like to see us come out swinging a little bit more. The young players that have come in this year have done really well. The club has a lot to look forward to in the future.” On Erick Torres’ season: “He’s a good player. Unfortunately, he came a little later than everyone expected. There’s a settling in period that you’re always going to have when you go into a new club. He’ll come in raring to go. He’s a great kid. He works hard and he’s a very likeable guy as well. He’ll be looking forward to getting his feet under the table in preseason and go from there.” On Whitecaps’ strength going into the playoffs: “They have youth so they always have bundles of energy. They like to play football, they’re a really good counter-attacking team. Carl Robinson has them well-rehearsed.” WILL BRUIN On tonight’s loss: “Outside the first 10 to 15 minutes when they had some chances and Joe Willis made some big saves, we settled in to the game. We connected passes and I thought we played well. It’s just a case of once they scored the first goal, we just put our heads down. You can say it’s the last game of the year and we’re not in the playoffs. We can just bend over but we have to respond better than that, no matter what the circumstances are.” On Houston Dynamo bouncing back next season: “If you told me at the beginning of the year that we’ll be sitting here and not be in the playoffs at the end of the year, I would have taken a bet against you. That’s the way MLS goes sometimes. We had guys leave for international duty, and that’s more minutes on their legs and more travel. We had guys with suspensions and injuries. Knock on wood, I’m not sure it can get much worse. It can only go up. We have all the pieces, maybe add a few things here or there, then I think we’re up there. I’ll take us against anybody in the playoffs right now.” On Whitecaps heading into the playoffs: “I’m sure that 3-0 win will give them a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs. It’s always about hitting your stride at the right time. Vancouver is dangerous on counters. You commit a turnover in the middle and they’re gone. They have quick guys wide that can get behind and get crosses in and score goals, and you’ll see things can change like that. Confidence will definitely be high for them after this game going into the playoffs. With the parity in MLS, it’s about who’s feeling good and who’s playing the best.”
  4. REPORT: It was dire in Dallas, as Vancouver Whitecaps slumped to a 2-0 defeat and made it five MLS games without a win, at the worst possible time of the season. A first half goal from the impressive Michael Barrios set Dallas on their way just past the half hour mark, and Mauro Diaz doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half. David Ousted saved a first half penalty and Gershon Koffie rattled the post, but the 'Caps were never really at the races in this one. Ravaged by injuries and players away on international duty, Carl Robinson was forced to ring the chances once again, switching to a two striker system and a very defence minded midfield. The makeshift 'Caps took the game to Dallas in the early going, launching several attacks, but Vancouver's defence was caught on a quick break in the 11th minute from Michael Barrios, but David Texeira could only look on as he crashed his cutback off the left hand post. David Ousted was forced to make his first save of the match moments later, getting down to turn a low Je-Vaughn Watson drive around his near post. The home side took over the game, forcing a string of corners, but Vancouver showed their own counter-attacking danger when they broke in the 18th minute and Gershon Koffie hit the post with a neat outside of the foot effort after a lay off from Octavio Rivero. Dallas were starting to turn up the pressure and Ousted was forced to make a fantastic one-handed save at his near post from a Barrios effort on the half hour mark. It felt like a goal was coming from the Texans and it duly came two minutes later. Barrios was the dangerman again, showing some nice footwork in the box to make some room for himself before firing the opener past Ousted. Kekuta Manneh looped a shot over as Vancouver tried to find the equaliser but Dallas were given the chance to double their lead in the closing minutes of the half when referee Jose Carlos Rivero awarded them a soft penalty. It was a horrible call, with Tim Parker beautifully timing his tackle to get the better of Barrios in the box. Rivero saw a foul. but Ousted produced another fantastic save to deny Mauro Diaz. Zach Loyd had to clear a bouncing effort off the line in stoppage time, as Vancouver nearly forced an equaliser from a strange chesting of the ball from Koffie, but the teams headed in to the break with the home side in the ascendancy. Dallas soon got their second in the 52nd minute, when a mistake by Jordan Harvey allowed Diaz to nutmeg Kah, turn Harvey inside out then slip the ball in-off, and under, Ousted. The 'Caps keeper should have had it and done much better, but it was great skill from the Argentine. Both sides made changes to freshen things up and Vancouver pushed to try and get back into the game, forcing a couple of scrambles in the Dallas box and seeing Jesse Gonzalez keep out a Manneh shot with eight minutes remaining. Substitute, and 'Cap killer, Blas Perez had the ball in the net in stoppage time but it was ruled out for offside and the game ended 2-0, leaving Vancouver sitting precariously in third place in the West with just one game remaining. FINAL SCORE: FC Dallas 2 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 11,848 DALLAS: Jesse Gonzalez; Je-Vaughn Watson, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Ryan Hollingshead; Victor Ulloa, Ezequiel Cirigliano, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Tesho Akindele (Rolando Escobar 69) (Atiba Harris 81); David Texeira (Blas Perez 77) [subs Not Used: Dan Kennedy, Walker Zimmerman, Danny Garcia, Michel] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Tim Parker, Pa-Modou Kah (Christian Dean 81), Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Deybi Flores (Marco Bustos 61), Gershon Koffie, Russell Teibert (Robert Earnshaw 76); Octavio Rivero, Kekuta Manneh [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Smith, Diego Rodriguez, Cristian Techera] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On tonight's game: "Certain moments change games. They managed to take their chances. They have good players. They're a good team, coached very well. We didn't take our chances. We had numerous chances, numerous shots, but we couldn't score." How not to be affected by the bad run the team is currently on: "Of course when you lose games or you draw games, people are going to worry. There's no noise for me. If you don't score goals you're not going to win games of football and it was proved right today, so we've just got to keep going. We know we're young, We'll get on with it. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We're in the playoffs, we've got to make sure we finish off well against Houston next week." Is it all down to the injuries?: "If I turn around and say I'm missing my four guys, or five guys, then I'll use that as an excuse and I don't want to use that as an excuse. I've got confidence in that group there. They showed today that they can compete. We just didn't take our chances, but when you have key players missing, it doesn't help." His thoughts about making a tactical change at halftime: "Tactically, I thought we were very good. David (Ousted) makes a save on a penalty at halftime, which maybe Casper's (the Friendly Ghost) given. I cannot believe it's a penalty. I've watched it about 10 times. It is, but if it would have gone in, I probably would have changed it earlier. Five minutes into the second half, we concede. Bad goal. Miscommunication. We take a chance, but great character shown when you're 2-0 down. It's easy to buckle, but we didn't. We stepped on. Great credit to Marco Bustos coming in making his debut, made things happen for us. We created chances, but we just couldn't score." [On TSN radio] The continuing lack of goals despite chances: "We played very well, we just didn't score a goal. You can stand here all night and say how you deserved this or deserved that but if you don't put the ball in the back of the net, you're not going to win games of football, and that's happening at the moment." "What we've got to do is we've got to keep working at it. We've got to keep putting ourselves in the situations because we are creating chances but we're just not having that little bit of luck at the moment. You see Dallas today, there's were probably similar chances in the game, they managed to score two of their chances, we didn't score any of our chances. You've got to roll your sleeves up, you've got to get back to work, you've got to keep working at it. It's different on the training field when you're doing it unopposed, with no-one surrounding you, it becomes easy then. We've just got to keep working on that and hopefully it will transfer into games." "The players that we've got are attacking players, exciting players. I want to create chances. If you create chances, you're more likely to score. What's not happening at the moment is we're scoring. We can't cover over it, we're just not putting the ball in the back of the net. We're putting ourselves in the positions, which is good, and pleasing, but we're just not showing the composure at the critical moment. We've just got to get back to work with it." [On TSN radio] On the defensive display: "We had a number of chances but the thing I'm disappointed with is that we gave away two bad goals. We didn't really make them work for their goals. When you don't make a team work for their goals and you give them, you're not going to win too many games." "It's easy to buckle when you're two-nil down after 50 minutes in a tough place. We've never won here. We could have gone under, but we didn't, we showed character. The one thing I won't doubt in my team is character. We've got good character in the team, we're just not scoring at the moment. We know we need to try and address that. We've got to focus on trying to put the ball in the back of the net." [On TSN radio] Latest on injuries: "Three of them aren't with us [in Dallas]. Cristian's with us. He sat on the bench today but there was never any intention to play him because he's injured. We've got to get ourselves back next week and we've got to see how they are. I think the [Houston] game will be too early for them, all three of them, so it gives opportunities for other people. We're not in a good state at the moment injury-wise, we know that. We've just got to get on with it." MARCO BUSTOS On making his MLS debut: "I felt like a little kid in the park. Getting the call to come in with 30 minutes left, it was a dream come true. I just wanted to go in there and have fun." On getting his first national cap with Canada last night and then his MLS debut tonight: "I'm not sure I can sum it up. It's an amazing feeling playing for your country, getting my first cap and then making my MLS debut within 24 hours. I left my hotel in Washington DC at 5 a.m. this morning, got here and slept for three hours before the game tonight." DAVID OUSTED On struggles without top players and just how strong is depth: "It showed today. Any team in this league would miss Pedro and Mauro. That goes without saying, but you can't use that as an excuse. Every team will have injuries during a season. Unluckily, we're in a spot right now where we have a lot of them and we need to battle through it. Today I think we did a lot of things right and a few things not correctly. That hurt us today." What can be done to halt the slide?: "There's two ways to go. There's sitting in there and burying our heads in our hands and don't believe any more, or there's the other way that I'd rather go and just work hard. Work our way out of this. Work on our finishing, work on our ability to create chances, and that's the way out of it. We're still in the playoffs. We still have one game left to put us in a good position. Obviously that needs to be a win. It's about working ourselves out of it. It's no time to feel sorry for ourselves." Pressure going into Houston game?: "There's two ways to view it. One, we're in the playoffs and we can relax, the other way is we have to win to put ourselves into a good position. Let's find somewhere inbetween that. Our mental approach has to be getting after them and going for a win. At home, at BC Place, hopefully we'll get the three points there and put ourselves in a good position going into the playoffs." On saving the Mauro Diaz penalty shot: "The video guys help me out every time, every game. I sit down and go watch penalties and they give me all the information I need. I was well prepared today." On Marco Bustos' performance: "I thought he did really well. I was impressed by the way he went in and he played the way that we know he can. It can be intimidating coming in and having to take responsibility in that midfield but he did well. He was good on the ball, nice passes and I thought he looked dangerous. Again, it's that little bit of depth and guys like him gets that chance now." FC DALLAS OSCAR PAREJA Opening thoughts: "There was a lot of [good] soccer today on the pitch. It was a game that had a lot of emotions and a lot of great plays. Great footballers - both on our team today and also Vancouver. They were a very good team with a very good coach. There were tremendous plays today. I think our fans and the people who came to the stadium enjoyed a game full of great moments. Vancouver made it difficult for us during the first 15 minutes, but after that we started clearing our chances and dominated. "The second half was more level. We knew that they were going to provide us with a ton and we wanted to hold the line and see if there were some spaces behind. The plan worked well." ZACH LOYD General thoughts on the match: "It was a great team performance. Coming into this game, we knew how important it was for us. We had the Red Bull New York game on before the match. We were watching it closely. Once we saw the result, I think it gave us an extra boost knowing that three points would put us in a tie with them on top of the table with two games to go. The guys responded well. We’re a good team at home. That has showed all year. We’re going to continue to try and finish as high as we can in the West, so we can have that home field advantage throughout the playoffs." Was this your best performance of the year?: "I’m not sure. Any time we get a shutout, I am happy for the back line. I don’t really grade personal performances so much. I am more about the team performance. I thought it was a great game for us overall, to be able to rebound after going there and picking up a big tie on the road in Vancouver last week. On the importance of getting this win to validate last week’s tie in Vancouver…It’s huge. If you go there and get a tie, then come home and lose, it didn’t really mean anything. If you come out tonight and get a big three points… You put yourself in a position to fight for a trophy… That is something we have not done here in a long time. We put ourselves in the best-possible situation we could be in. I hope we can capitalize on that in the next two weeks." MAURO DIAZ Thoughts on the game: "We are really happy that we got more points and that we are fighting for the top. We are excited and we are going to keep on fighting for it." On playing like his old self: "The injuries were getting me, and it feels good playing back to my level." His mentality when scoring the goal: "I didn’t plan anything. It just happened. I saw the opportunity and I took it." VICTOR ULLOA Thoughts on the game: "Huge win of us. We knew what was at stake. We’re tied for first place for the Shield. So that’s huge for us with two games left. Mentally, it helps us a lot to keep pushing and this club can win something. So that’s huge." On two straight shutouts vs Vancouver: "Yeah, it’s one of those things that we want to focus on. We know that we have a lot of offensive power and we know that we can score at any time, and that’s the main focus." Thoughts on the goal set up by Mauro Diaz: "Great goal. Great play. Like I said we have so many offensive weapons. Mauro was huge for us."
  5. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): It may have taken 70 plus minutes but Vancouver Whitecaps were finally able to find a way to dispatch Colorado Rapids 2-0, beating them for the first time this season, in their third attempt. The winning goal was scored by Octavio Rivero, while Cristian Techera added another and David Ousted picked up his eleventh clean sheet in the league this year. There was very little that happened in the first half as both teams brought nothing to the match and most of their chances either missed or long range shots by Gabriel Torres and Gershon Koffie were easily handled by David Ousted and Clint Irwin. Kekuta Manneh had a couple of opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the second half, with his first shot lacking power as it dribbled to the keeper. The second time he had enough power on the attempt, after being setup by Techera, but missed the target. There was also no luck for second half sub Kianz Froese, with his chance from outside the box deflected wide by diving Rapid defenders. Ousted then came up with his biggest save of the match as he was able to just keep out a Kevin Doyle header from crossing the line. The home side finally broke through in the 73rd minute when Rivero scored his tenth of the season. It was the Uruguayan connection again, as Techera sent in a ball into the box to Rivero, who beat the offside trap and sent a glancing header into the bottom far corner of the net. The lead was doubled by the Whitecaps four minutes later and the provider became the finisher with Techera claiming his sixth of the season. The Rapids were able to clear an attempt into the box right to Manneh who sent the ball to Techera and after controlling the ball, El Bicho fired a shot past Irwin to put the Caps up by two. The two goals would be enough for the Whitecaps with the Rapids failing to threaten for the remainder of the match. The victory extends Vancouver’s home winning streak to four matches and pushes them past the LA Galaxy for first spot in the MLS Standings. The 'Caps will now have ten days off before they face Seattle in MLS competition but before that they will face CD Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, needing a win to keep their qualification hopes very much alive. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 0 Colorado Rapids ATT: 17,583 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Tim Parker, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Pedro Morales (Kianz Froese 46), Gershon Koffie; Cristian Techera, Mauro Rosales (Robert Earnshaw 90+2), Kekuta Manneh (Jordan Smith 80); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolás Mezquida, Deybi Flores, Christian Dean] COLORADO: Clint Irwin; James Riley, Bobby Burling, Sean St. Ledger, Marc Burch; Lucas Pittinari (Dillon Powers 80), Sam Cronin; Nick LaBrocca (Vicente Sanchez 77), Marcelo Sarvas, Juan Ramirez; Gabriel Torres (Kevin Doyle 58) [subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Joseph Greenspan, Jared Watts, Marlon Hairston] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On tonight’s win: “I knew it was going to be difficult by the way Colorado Rapids set up and the personnel on their team. They have beaten us twice. Our guys showed great character to keep going and not take their focus and confidence away. When you got quality on your team like we have, you can change a game in a moment and that’s what certainly happened.” On winning a hard-fought match: “I told the guys in the locker room, you can play all the pretty football you want, all the exciting plays, and the quick transitions and get bums off their seats and you get three points. You can also play with not much quality and have a moment of magic and get three points. So you take the three points.” On the team’s performance off the ball: “I don’t think it was particularly Cristian Techera’s best game as it wasn’t Kekuta Manneh’s or Octavio Rivero’s. You can name a number of our players who, on the ball, probably performed below the levels that they wanted. But off the ball, they were fantastic. They had a little bit of magic in the understanding that Cristian has with Octavio. It was great to see Octavio scoring a great header from a super ball from Cristian. Cristian has a great instinct to score goals and it made him more comfortable with the second goal.” On Pedro Morales’ injury: “He has an ice pack on his hamstring. He had a little bit of tightness. He had it in the two days leading up to the game. We have five players missing so I wanted him to play and he wanted to play. Some of his passing in the first half was excellent. He went for a tackle and I think it tightened up a little bit. There was no risk being taken by me. My decision to bring him off at halftime and get Kianz Froese on went well. I thought Kianz brought great energy to the team. We could’ve gone with Deybi Flores, a more defensive type of player, but we needed to get a goal.” On the first-half performance: “When you’re playing away from home, you slow the game down and that’s certainly what they did and they were trying to hit us on the counter-attack. I never thought we were in real danger in the back end and that’s the pleasing thing about tonight’s performance. We didn’t click attacking-wise but we certainly defended well. Maybe a year or two ago, we would’ve lost that game one-nil. When you don’t play well and you can win, it’s always a good sign and that’s what we’re trying to get in this club.” On missing key players: “We had a couple of character guys missing today. You talk about Kendall Waston, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert, and Darren Mattocks. These guys are big players for us. When things get tough, you need your leaders to come to the fore. It was great for these players. We’re young. Their energy, enthusiasm and work rate carried us.” On Octavio Rivero’s goal: “He’s excellent in the air. When you see him in training, he’s fantastic. I thought he had a good chance in the first half off a corner, he didn’t quite get there. So did Tim Parker. It happens sometimes. I was pleased for him to get a goal. He got a goal against Montreal from two yards, they all count.” On Jordan Smith’s performance: “I wanted to get Jordan on. It was his first home appearance. I thought he was fantastic last week against Houston. He’s a different type of player compared to Steven Beitashour. He’s a big, strong boy. Once we went one goal up, it was time to bring him on. He’ll play next week against C.D. Olimpia. He brings a physical element which is good on set pieces. That’s where I thought Colorado would catch us but we defended well on set plays. You have to give credit to Pa-Modou Kah. He fractured his cheekbone two weeks ago and he’s heading balls in the box. He has the desire not to let a goal in your net.” CRISTIAN TECHERA (THROUGH INTERPRETER) Thoughts on the game with a goal and an assist: “The first half was really tight. A lot of the defenders were playing close to the ball. In the second half we came out, we grouped and we found some more spaces we felt weren’t there in the first half. We came out and we got the result that we needed.” Thoughts on a lacklustre first half: “It wasn’t really a matter of rust in the team. It was more in the first half they were really compact, keeping close to the man and guarding the ball really well. In the second half it was just a matter of us finding the spaces that weren’t there in the first half. That’s really what it came down to, and not rust.” Thoughts on his assist and goal: “You know for the first cross there – Octavio and I get along pretty well. We’re both Uruguayan, so it’s nice we have that same understanding. I just saw him run and was able to pick him out. We know that he is pretty strong in the air and he finished off the chance. For the second chance, it was a ball that was right in front of me so I just had to put it in the back of the net. There wasn’t really too much thought behind that” OCTAVIO RIVERO (THROUGH INTERPRETER) Thoughts on the match: “First half was really tight and there wasn’t a lot of space there. In the second half we just came back in the dressing room, re-grouped, talked about a few things that we needed to take care of and came out in the second half and were fortunate to get the goal and got the points.” Thoughts on scoring tonight: “Obviously I feel happy for scoring but I feel more happy that I was able to help the team to win and that’s really (what matters). If the team wins then I’m happy, and If I score I’m happy, but at the end of day it’s really just getting the points.” Thoughts on keeping the lead in the Western Conference: “Every game from here on is almost like a cup final. It’s the way we’ve got to treat it. We want to finish the season strong and become champions at the end of the season. What we need to do is just keep going – playing hard and playing well and the results will follow” TIM PARKER Thoughts on the match: “I think we didn’t play as good as we wanted to but I think it shows a lot of character that we still were able to get the result. Especially at home with these last couple of games we really want to get the crowd and these home supporters behind us. I think winning at home is important.” Thoughts on losing twice to Colorado before this game: “We had a bit of sour taste in our mouth from the last few times we played them. It’s something that we remembered and going into it tonight we wanted to get as many points as we could.” Thoughts on different halves of the game: “We just needed to pick up the intensity. Going forward I think we needed to clean things up a little bit and at the back just make sure we keep it to zero on the board. I think for us, it was just intensity going forward and a bit more sharpness.” Thoughts on Techera and Octavio: “They are doing great. Cristian and Octavio have an ability to find a goal. We always have faith that in some point in their game they will get their opportunities and today they both buried theirs, so it’s good.” Thoughts on the clean sheet: “I think the first thing Carl said after we scored the goal was to keep a clean sheet. We know how momentum can swing if they were to get a goal or something. For us we didn’t want to win a game 2-1 at home, we wanted to make sure it’s a clean sheet.” COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI Thoughts on the match: “We let our guard down. There’s no time to not be thinking, not be concentrating. With those two goals, I felt like they were completely preventable. It wasn’t great build-up, wasn’t great football. It was just lack of concentration for those two goals.” On the international break and why he chose his substitutes: “I think guys with experience come from a different place and the guys get a result. At the end of the day, we had [Maynor and Drew] out with yellows, so we had to fill in and felt like those were the best choices we had.” On where they go from here: “We have our next game at home against DC. It’s important that we start right. I think we need to attack the game in the right way. It’s always tough coming on the road, playing on this turf and in this kind of atmosphere. I think we handled that part well. What we need to do better is to pass the ball better. We need to combine better, we need to make better decisions on both sides of the ball. I think if we do that, we have a better chance of winning the game.” On the big game against DC: “It’s a good opportunity for the guys to bounce back. It’s all about the mindset and it’s all about being more brave with the ball, and not as reckless with it. Caring for it more, passing to your teammate better, rolling him a better ball. Like you said, at home has been good these last couple of games. It’s important that we go there with the same kind of mentality and really take the game against DC in the early stages.” MARC BURCH: Thoughts on the scoreline: “I don’t think that was what the scoreline should be. I thought we had a pretty good first 45 and the game was pretty open the second half. I thought we fought well, we played well, just lost a few balls. They’re a good counter attacking team and that’s what they did.” On their first half: “It seemed like we were getting on top of them and all of a sudden, momentum swings. I think in the second half they took a little more momentum and it was tough for us to get back.” On counter-attack leading to Whitecaps’ goal after Colorado chance: “The game is inches. We score that goal, we might win 3-0. We don’t score and all of a sudden, we’re down two. It’s unlucky that we didn’t get the result, but we have a game in three days and can’t think about this one, we just have to move on to the next one, win that one.” On the overall performance: “I think there was a few moments. I think it was a really lucky bounce on their second goal and that’s kind of deflating. They don’t earn it and all of a sudden they get it, it’s a little bit deflating but I thought we still pressed, we still pushed, we still tried to create some chances. Overall, the performance was okay.” On whether he was pleased with his offensive match: “I think so. It’s what we’ve been working on this week, to make sure we get forward, make sure we add to the attack. I think we did a good job out there, but maybe I lost a bit of steam in the second half. I think the first half we did a good job.” On where the team goes now: “Saturday. We go home and we win that game, that’s all there is to it." On still being in the hunt for the playoffs: "Absolutely. We’re never going to stop believing. There’s a good group of guys in there that are never going to stop believing. We’re going to fight to the very last moment of the last whistle in Portland. It doesn’t matter what our points are, we fight until the end.”
  6. REPORT: With two games in five days against Seattle, competition priority was a hot topic in Vancouver this past week. In the first match of a busy eight game August, 'Caps coach Carl Robinson put out the strongest line-up available to him for the MLS encounter at the Sounders. And it worked a treat. A two goal burst from veteran center back Pa Modou Kah at the start of each half had Vancouver looking comfortable. Pedro Morales' late free kick stunner had them ecstatic. Vancouver looked in an attacking mood from the off and took the game to their fierce Cascadian rivals. And they got the reward for their endeavours early. The 'Caps won a free kick to the right side of the box six minutes in. Nicolas Mezquida floated the kick in and it was met by the head of Kendall Waston but his effort was straight at Brad Evans' chest. The rebound bounced off the Sounders defender straight into the path of Kah, who showed remarkable composure and skill to volley home the opening goal. The Whitecaps kept pressing and the Uruguayan trio of Mezquida, Cristian Techera and Octavio Rivero were linking up superbly. Rivero had a couple of half chances, then Mezquida forced a save from Stefan Frei as the 'Caps went for the killer second, but it wasn't to come. Seattle had a couple of what couldn't even really be called half chances, and David Ousted was having a quiet night. The 'Caps nearly got that second with six minutes of the half remaining when Rivero played a neat touch outside to the overlapping Jordan Harvey but the left-back's fierce shot rattled of the stanchion from a tight angle. Vancouver survived a penalty shout on a handball on Kah and a subsequent goalmouth scramble that saw Ousted produce a fine point blank stop and the 'Caps went in at the half with a one goal lead. If there were fears that Seattle might regroup and come out looking a different team, then Vancouver extinguished them quickly and added a second four minutes into the second half, and it was that man Kah again! The 'Caps won a corner on the left and Techera played it short to Kekuta Manneh, who had all the time in the world to give it back to the Uruguayan who hit a low first timer into the box and Kah deftly backheeled it into the net. It was some goal and gave Vancouver a little bit of breathing space. Mezquida nearly added a third when his free kick crashed of the left post on the hour mark and Laba nearly got in on the act minutes later when his fierce rising long range drive was just held by Frei. Seattle pushed to try and get something going but they fell three behind in the 75th minute when substitute Pedro Morales curled a beautiful free kick through the wall and past Frei from 20 yards out. The Sounders had a couple of chances for a consolation but nothing too threatening, with Lamar Neagle's deflected shot that landed on the roof of the net, the closest they came. It was a great win for the 'Caps. One of their best in MLS. We've been here before though. It counts for nothing if they can't keep it going. The way the team is playing though, you feel that this time could be different. FINAL SCORE: Seattle Sounders 0 - 3 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 53,125 SEATTLE: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick; Erik Friberg, Gonzalo Pineda (Cristian Roldan 60), Osvaldo Alonso, Thomas (Andy Rose 76); Clint Dempsey, Chad Barrett (Lamar Neagle 63) [subs Not Used: Troy Perkins, Oneil Fisher, Darwin Jones, Zach Scott] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie, Cristian Techera (Russell Teibert 85), Nicolas Mezquida (Pedro Morales 72), Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 79); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Tim Parker, Deybi Flores, Erik Hurtado] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On the match: "It was a really positive and strong performance by the guys tonight and I’m absolutely delighted for all the guys because they put a huge amount of work in, which is what you need to do when you play Seattle away. And you get your rewards and we got our rewards tonight so we’ll enjoy it. The performance was absolutely fantastic and every single one of my players tonight carried out the instructions I asked them to do because we need to be organized and disciplined to play against a very good team. They did it to a tee so I’m delighted about that." On starting the upcoming stretch against Seattle in this way: “Yeah, but they beat us in our backyard, which was a tough one to take even though we played very well. We played very well today and won the game so we’ll enjoy it, but get back to work on Monday because we’ve got another huge game against Seattle on Wednesday. We need to try and get as many fans out as we can – Vancouverites – to put them under pressure because this is a hostile place. It’s tough to play.” On taking the initiative in the counterattack in the first 10 minutes: “It was a little bit the personnel that I have. We were very young in the front six players – I think the oldest player we have is 23 years of age. We just thought the enthusiasm of the young players – we’ve got a young squad – and the energy they can bring to the table would go out and surprise them a little bit. And that’s exactly what happened – we played some of the best football of the season in the first half.” On playing a down Seattle team: “We got the result today. They’re a top team, without a doubt, but going through a tricky patch at the moment. Every team goes through tough patches. You just look across the league – last year as an example with New England. They didn’t win nine or 10 games then managed to get to MLS Cup Final. Without a doubt, [seattle] is a good team.” On the unlikely heroes tonight: “Yeah, it’s a team effort. As I say, there’s no ‘I’ in team – that’s a big slogan in our dressing room and I make sure the boys know it. It’s not about any individual – it’s about the team. I think spreading the goals is nice, but when our strikers catch fire, we’ll be okay.” On Pa-Modou Kah’s finishes: “He says he [has good finishes], but he talks a lot. I haven’t seen them, but I’m delighted for him because he’s been brilliant since he joined the club at the start of the year. He got a little bit of criticism early on – unfairly criticized because he’s so important to me. From a young manager’s point of view, you need your senior players to come up big from Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday, and that’s what he’s done today. He’s so important in the locker room for me.” On if Kah’s performance sends a message to the critics: “Listen, football is a brilliant game and opinions in this game vary. Some people think you’re the best player and some people think you’re the worst player. No one is right and no one is wrong –it’s the reality of the game we’re in. He’s played better this season for me, but I’m sure you’ll talk about him more this game than games where I think he’s played better for me.” On Matias Laba: “We talk about Mati week in and week out. I said when I signed him that he’s arguably the best midfield player in the league, or one of the top, top midfielders, without a doubt. He’s getting stronger and better and continues to improve. He’s the youngest one in the league, but he’s outstanding. I wouldn’t swap him for anyone, I’ll tell you that. And I mean it.” On expecting a little more chippy match between these teams: “Well, we’re not playing netball, we’re playing soccer, so that’s what happens.” On the decision to be more aggressive with the fullbacks: “I thought they were trying to get Clint underneath, and Clint is a massive danger for you if he gets underneath to one strike you. I thought it would be Obafemi, but it wasn’t, it was Chad [barrett] so we gambled a little bit with the fullbacks. We were aggressive and it worked tonight because we got a positive performance and a good result. If it didn’t, and the result was the other way, I’m sure you would’ve said why did you attack with your fullbacks so much so today is our day.” On getting the players’ chemistry going: “I keep stressing to you – we’re young. And when you’re young, you make mistakes. When you make mistakes, sometimes people are overly critical. When you’re critical, players lose confidence. I try to be super positive with these guys. Yes, they make mistakes, but I’ll back them to the hilt, and I’ll continue to do that because I haven’t met a player yet that plays brilliant every single minute of every single game. The group I’ve got in there, it’s a pleasure to work with day in and day out. I’m going to push them because I think they’re a special group, but they’ve got to be willing to buy into that. You see today that they are, and all season they have been.” On how big of a statement this result makes: “We won the game. It’s not a big statement for us at all. We take three points off Seattle, which is going to be there without a doubt to win the Supporters’ Shield. We’ll enjoy the occasion and we’ll get better with Monday so for me, no statement.” DAVID OUSTED On the clean sheet by the defence: “Yeah I thought we played well. Kah’s two goals is one thing, I congratulated him, but even better I thought we defended fantastically all night The back four was very solid and the midfield did an incredible job. So, I’m delighted to come here and get a clean sheet and a big win.” On the importance of a big win in Seattle: “I think the performance is a huge milestone for us, I haven’t seen us play this well in a very, very long time. And that’s almost more important than the result for me. Seeing us obviously win, but with a performance like that is massive.” On why they were able to play so well: “You know what, I think we had a good idea of what we had to do. We had good tactic coming in here, we needed to move the ball and not get in too much of a scrap with them. They’re a physical team, and they’re a good team at that [physical play], so moving the ball and keeping them away from us and the ball was huge. We did that so well tonight.” On the importance of playing Seattle again on Wednesday in CONCACAF Champions League: “It is [important], we want to do well in CONCACAF. Obviously it’s a little weird having them three days after this one. But, we go in with a lot of confidence now and we know what we have to do Wednesday. It’s going to be more tough on Wednesday because they want to get revenge for this one coming into our backyard, so we need to be on our toes.” On the importance of the entire group scoring goals: “I think it says that things are starting to work now. I think we are a team who could be really good on set plays, and we haven’t scored enough goals so far. Now they’re coming. Hopefully we’ll continue doing that, and hopefully Mati [Laba], Pa [Modou Kah], and Mauro [Rosales] continue and a few other guys step in. Pedro steps in today and makes an incredible free kick goal, and we know what Octavio [Rivero] can do, we know what Nico [Mezquida] can do, so I believe the goals are coming. We train hard, and hopefully that pays off.” PA-MODOU KAH On both his and the team’s performance: “First of all, I am very happy with the team. The way we played today was a really true professional football game, like from the first minute to the 90th minute we played fantastically. It’s just amazing because we have a special group here and we can go a long [way], but every day we have to come in to work and work hard, and we really did that today. It’s also good for the team, and also for the Cascadia rival, because it’s a derby game and you come in the backyard of one of the best fans in the league and you beat them 3-0.” On the Whitecaps’ tactics in the game: “I think it was not only about counter [attacking], like I think we also played very well in possession. We kept the ball and we were cutting them through the middle, and they really had no answer to us. You know, that’s the way football is. But today, we played very well. The whole team, I’m very proud of the guys. But that’s something we have to keep going because we can always improve, and we are going to keep on improving. Now this game is done, because we have the first-ever Champions League game for the Whitecaps coming up Wednesday, against the same opponents. So it’s up to us now to prove that what we did today, we can also do on Wednesday.” On whether he has scored as good goals as he did today: “Yes. I have one of the best goals, when I was playing Holland it was one of the best goals of the year. It was crowned one of the top 20 goals of the year in Europe. But, to have two finishes like this today it is just unbelievable, especially two days after my 35th birthday. Like I said earlier, there’s ten goals a year [on set pieces]. I put my two goals so I’m done for the year hopefully. Now it us up to Octavio [Rivero], Kekuta [Manneh], and the rest to score.” On the importance of Ousted’s kick-save toward the end of the first half: “Like I said, there is a reason David’s an All Star, and he proved it today again. That was a wonderful save. He didn’t have much to do, but when he was called upon he came strong and that is what we need.” SEATTLE SOUNDERS SIGI SCHMID On the overall game: “Obviously it was a disappointing match for us…It’s one of things where a team is already in a rut and then you take an early goal, and everyone’s head drops a little bit. I think it took us a while. I thought towards the end of the half we started to play a little better – I thought we could come back in the second half and do well – and we take another early goal in the second half off of their corner kick, and everyone’s head drops a little bit. We got ourselves a bit back into the game – obviously we had more looks on goal, more shots than in the previous few weeks – at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough.” On Clint Dempsey: “The plan was for him to go all 90 minutes. We weren’t worried about that based upon what he had done, so his performance was like everybody else’s. Sometimes I felt we forced some balls into him, we needed to go somewhere else with it. I thought Vancouver did a good job of killing that space in front of their center backs, making it tough to play into Clint.” On the starting line-up: “It’s a disappointment because we had different starters from the last game, and I don’t think anyone in that locker room is pleased with the result. It’s disappointing because we felt we had a good week of practice, even though Clint and Chad Marshall weren’t here the whole week, but it is something we need to do better.” On establishing connections between players: “It’s never going to be that easy. I tried to caution people who thought, ‘OK everybody is back so it will be snap of the fingers and it’s going to all happen again.’ That’s not the way it works. You’ve got to get players back to playing again and on the same page. [Erik] Friberg has never played with Dempsey before, today is his first game playing with Clint – we tried him in a slightly different position to begin the game, so that was an adjustment. Clint hasn’t play with Thomàs, so there are connections there that aren’t established.” On the reaction of the Vancouver players at the final whistle: “They went out and celebrated on our field a little bit and that pisses us off. We’ve got to make sure that we right that and we pay them back for that. I don’t think teams should come in here and be taking snapshots and pictures on our field. It pisses me off and I think it pisses off our players. When you play back-to-back and close together, that maybe heats up things.” STEFAN FREI On what he could have done differently on the goals: “I have to go back and look at it. There’s always something you probably could have done better but disappointed to give up three goals on set pieces.” On giving up goals on set-pieces: “Well the third is probably a good finish. In general we just gave away too many silly free kicks around the box and maybe one was just in a nice sweet spot for him to take advantage and obviously he took advantage of it. A center back with two goals for them is right spot at the right time but still we have to be in the right spot at the right time. You can’t just always say it’s bad luck. We have to win individual battles, we have to be sharp defensively on set pieces and do better.” On the need for the team to come together as a team: “It’s huge; I think we’ve been trying to take it one game at a time. People might say this is an important game or that is an important game. I think any game is a chance to get out of a slump and any game is a chance to get back on a run. Whether that is on Wednesday or the following game, right now Wednesday is our next game and we have to prepare for that so tomorrow we have the day off. We’ve got to make sure we take care of our bodies and after that we have limited time on the field to get ready but we have to make sure we get better in those limited days.” On Vancouver's celebrations at the end of the game: "To me, if you take a team picture like you just won a trophy on an enemy's field , so to speak, I take that personally. If somebody comes up to me and tells me I played a good game and laughs in my face, I take that personally." BRAD EVANS On the potential for revenge on Wednesday: “Yeah, not so much revenge. We’ve just got to back to playing our style of soccer and get back to our winning ways so our focus is on us, not on the other team.” On what went wrong: “Three set piece goals. The first one takes a deflection off my hip and bounces straight to Kah and he bangs it in. The second one, short corner, shoots, and Kah gets another cheeky little touch, little back heel. And the third one the wall separates and he bangs it in. So that’s a consolation goal at the end and team-wise we have to defend as a team and offensively as a team too so not good on both ends tonight.” On the loss being different with more guys back: “No, I think every loss is crappy, obviously. Considering the circumstances and losing so many in a row now is not an ideal situation but the only thing we can do is put a smile on, come into practice and get back to work. I say put a smile on but we’ve all got to have good attitudes moving forward so we can’t sink the ship right now. So, if changes need to be made that’ll come from up top but we’ve all got to come in and work. We’ve got a big one on Wednesday night.”
  7. REPORT: Action-packed is perhaps the best way to describe a dramatic opening 15 minutes of Vancouver Whitecaps' match at New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening. That spell provided three key game defining moments, with New York missing a penalty and going down to ten men, before Kekuta Manneh gave Vancouver a lead they never gave up. The 'Caps were certainly made to work for their three points in the end as the Red Bulls pushed for an equaliser, missing another penalty on the way before substitute Kianz Froese gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead with 13 minutes remaining. Even then, New York pulled one back five minutes later, but Vancouver held out for a huge three points. It looked to be the worst possible start for Vancouver when a rash Steven Beitashour challenge sent Sam Zizzo crashing down in the box just four minutes in. The contact seemed to be just outside and the player fell inside and referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed to the spot, in the start of what was to prove to be a busy night for the official. Bradley Wright-Phillips stepped up but his kick was saved by a diving David Ousted, his first penalty save as a Whitecap. It was yet another massive game-changing moment for Vancouver from the Dane, but it was equalled five minutes later when New York defender Sacha Kljestan was sent off for a kick on Kendall Waston in the 'Caps box as they awaited a Red Bulls corner to be taken. The Whitecaps were now in the ascendancy and they made it pay in the 15th minute when Manneh finished off a pinpoint Beitashour cross, after Cristian Techera had set the right-back free up the wing. Five minutes later and Octavio Rivero nearly doubled the 'Caps lead, crashing a 25 yard effort off the right post. Vancouver smelled blood with their man advantage and pushed hard for the killer second but when it didn't come they slowed the pace down and controlled the rest of the half to head into the break with the one goal advantage. The question now was whether Carl Robinson would be happy with his lot and just see out the victory or go for a confidence-boosting win by a couple of goals. New York had no option but to come out and take the game to Vancouver in the second half, and they did just that, having the Whitecaps on the back foot. The Caps seemed happy to soak up the pressure but were offering little of their own in return. The Red Bulls were thrown a lifeline in the 63rd minute when they were awarded a second penalty after Beitashour was adjudged to have tugged Abang's jersey. Wright-Phillips stepped up once again, this time hitting it hard straight down the middle, but Ousted produced another huge save to keep Vancouver's lead. It was only the third time in MLS history that a keeper had saved two penalties during a game and the first time that the same player had missed two spot kicks in one match. Two pivotal saves from Ousted and New York were soon to be punished. Nicolas Mezquida had been having a fairly quiet night starting in the number 10 role for the injured Pedro Morales, but he finished leading the team in shots and let rip from 25 yards out in the 74th minute, forcing Luis Robles into a sprawling save for a corner, which came to nothing. The Whitecaps finally got the second goal they craved 13 minutes from time and in true Vancouver road style, it came from a quick breakaway as Rivero set up Kianz Froese and the Residency alumni raced in on goal and coolly slotted past Robles for his first ever pro goal. If Vancouver thought they had killed the game off, New York had other ideas and they pulled one back five minutes later when loose marking allowed halftime sub Anatole Bertrand Abang to fire home. Ousted was forced into a sprawling save from a bobbling shot in the closing minutes, but that aside, the 'Caps easily held out for a crucial three points that sends them back to the MLS summit in a tie with Seattle. FINAL SCORE: New York Red Bulls 1 - 2 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 20,537 NEW YORK: Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Ronald Zubar (Matt Miazga 68), Damien Perrinelle, Roy Miller; Dax McCarty; Felipe, Sam Zizzo (Anatole Bertrand Abang 46), Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Manolo Sanchez 77) [subs Not Used: Kykle Reynish, Sean Davis, Dane Richards, Connor Lade] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Deybi Flores 70), Gershon Koffie, Cristian Techera, Nicolas Mezquida (Russell Teibert 88), Kekuta Manneh (Kianz Froese 71); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Tim Parker, Mauro Rosales, Eric Hurtado] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On the match: "It was a bizarre game, I think that is a fair way to explain it. It was a game that had a little bit of everything: a sending off, two penalties, a couple of goals, a lot of intense high energy pressure as well so we are delighted. It's a tough place to come. They're a good team. They play a certain way and we were lucky to come away with three points tonight." On Ousted's performance: "He's been outstanding, but up to this point he hasn't saved too many penalties. He guess right on the first one, Bradley [Wright-Phillips] stepped up and obviously I know that that's his favorite way, and then credit to David on the second one, he guesses right again. I have to give Bradley Wright-Phillips a lot of credit for stepping up on the second penalty because that's one of the hardest things in football. Once you've missed a penalty, to step up again, and it just wasn't his night - it was my goalkeeper's night, and my team's night and I'm delighted." On the play of Kianz Froese and his first goal: "That's what we're all about as a club. We've got a certain way of trying to build here and I think that optimizes it today because New York is a good team, they put us under pressure, they have nothing to lose going down to ten men, the crowd was brilliant, and because they have nothing to lose, they can play longer and more direct and they might as well concede a second or third goal because they when you're at home it puts you under a little pressure. I would have like to have caught them on the break a little bit more in the first half because we had three or four dangerous chances, but we couldn't tuck them away. It was nice for [Froese] I'm sure he'll talk to his parents tonight and it's a proud night for him." On the play of Kekuta Manneh: "He was excellent in the first half, a constant threat. The front four attacking players were all a constant threat in the first half. As good as we were in the first half, I thought we were a little bit disjointed in the second half because against ten men we should be getting more chances, especially in the second half, but it's not easy to play against ten men. Since I've been here we've played against ten men and we haven't won, and we've gone down to ten men and haven't won so I thought we'd make that happen tonight." On Kendall Watson playing in front of his mother for the first time: "I think it would mean everything to him. I mentioned it to the group after the game, don't forget about your family and loved ones back home or wherever they are watching. Kendall's mom got to watch him tonight, I'm sure she was proud as punch about his performance. Obviously she would be disappointed in his yellow card just as much as I was in the last few minutes, but I think it was fitting that she was there tonight, and it was fitting that it's Father's Day tomorrow. I'll address the group again tomorrow but it's a special day, Father's Day. You have to enjoy it, pick up the phone and call [your father] because sometimes they leave you early which unfortunately mine did." On if tonight's win was extra special: "It's always special when you come here. As I said, this is a special organization. They've got some good people here, a lot of good people. They gave me an opportunity on my first step of the land here, and I'll never forget that. I'm very grateful to them and I'm very humbled for that opportunity, but it's always nice to come back here and win because it's not an easy place to win. They're a good team. I hope they go on and reach the playoffs because I want the organization to continue to do well and I always will." On another road win: "It's never easy to win on the road, and I think every team knows that. When you got an opportunity to go on the road you have to be disciplined, and you need to be organized and take your chances, and we played that way last week and came away 1-0, and today was another very difficult place to go to, but the spirit in that group is fantastic and you get your reward, not just in football but I any walk to life. You put hard work in and you get your reward, and tonight we put the hard work in, we didn’t make it easy, but we got our reward. We will enjoy it but we will prepare because we have a big game in New England next week, which we're looking forward to." DAVID OUSTED On saving two penalties in one game for the third time ever and which was more important: "I think the first one was really important. They came out guns blazing and that would have capped a good first ten minutes for them. Its important to save that and keep us in the game. Right after that they get the red card and we go up and score, so that was definitely important. The second one even more keep the lead for us and kept us going forward. They were two important pk’s." On what was more important, his saves or the red card: "That’s always difficult to answer. I think both are equal I’ll say even after the red card I think New York showed they wanted to go forward and press us especially in the second half. They did well, but luckily we got away with the win." On what was going through his mind when the second penalty was called: "I stayed positive. My mind goes straight to where he can shoot. Big credit to the guys who do our video every time we play, He shows me ten pks and what the guys normally do on pk’s. Its a big job they do to keep me ready. My thoughts were to go in there and save the second one." On Kendall Waston’s performance: "This team [shows] all the time that we're a family and I think we showed today that we played today for Kendall he was playing in front of his mom for the first time so that meant a lot to everybody. We played for Carl Robinson being back here in his own home. We wanted to get a win. You can see how this team is getting closer and closer. We do feel like a family. We do want to fight for each, and I think we showed that we can do that today." On Kianz’s first goal at the MLS level: "Just fantastic it was a great goal. I feel very calm when he is finishing and a great little slot next to the keeper, so I'm glad for Kianz getting that goal he deserved it." NEW YORK RED BULLS JESSE MARSCH On the first 15 minutes: "The first fifteen minutes definitely set the tone for the rest of the match. Crazy for the game to go from a penalty to a missed penalty to a red card to down a goal, it’s just the game was flipped on end. There was fanatic energy on the field when we went down a man and the guys tried to push with urgency but it was border-line panicky. That led to us giving up the goal and then tried to get them on the field to calm down and still play the way we know we can a man down. Second half I thought we gathered ourselves, came out second half and controlled a lot of the match even though we were a man down, but just weren’t able to tie it up and went down 2-0, then you’re chasing the game." On Wright-Phillips taking second penalty kick: "I was happy to see Bradley step up and have the confidence to take it again. I certainly wasn’t going to pull him off the ball. Ousted makes two good saves, not two of Bradley’s best pk’s by any means, but this stuff can happen sometimes and it’s important as an important guy on the team and a good attacker he finds a way to not let this dig a huge hole into his mentality. He needs to now stay focused and finds way to make it up to his team. This happens at different moments with different players whether it’s Wondolowski at the World Cup or different players that have missed important chances for teams, and it’s important to come back and show you’re a man of character and show that you can handle the tough moments. I have no doubts that Bradley is that kind of man and that he’ll come back and find a way to do that." On Kljestan’s red card: "He absolutely has to be smarter, that was a terrible red card." On what’s worse—missed penalties or red card: "I don’t know, they’re both painful. It was a crazy game, a game where we dug a hole for ourselves. You make your own breaks and in some ways we’re now making our own breaks against ourselves." On if Kljestan’s red card impacts team morale: "I would say no because our team responded really well. They stuck together on the field and pushed the game really hard. Again, I look at myself, and if my players aren’t clear about what kind of behavior they have to have on the field then I look at myself. I’m taking responsibility right now and I’m going to find a way to get us out, I’m in this all the way. I’m not panicking right now but we need to find a way to do better. It starts with me, period. It starts with me." If this losing streak is similar to anything else he has endured in coaching career: "It certainly feels like right now things are going against us. If you dwell on that then it’s being a loser. Quite honestly, if we start to feel sorry for ourselves then we’re going to dig even a bigger hole. Right now I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m ready for this challenge, we’re going to figure out a way to get out of it and, again, it starts with me." LUIS ROBLES On goalkeeper’s perspective on penalties: "Well, my initial thought was that I felt bad for Brad; the ‘keeper made some good saves on the PKs. Maybe he was trying to go down the middle on the second one and it was a little too much to the side. But, at the end of the day, I think it was our mistakes that cost us. Sure, we missed 2 PKs but we were still creating chances and then on the backend, they were only dangerous on the counter. They got two good opportunities off the break and they capitalized. We continue to minimize chances. I said this before and I’ll continue to say it; our defense minimizes a lot of the chances, whereas in the past I’m making a lot of saves. The problem is we are getting caught on the break because we are turning the ball over. When we make mistakes, we are getting punished for them." On the first 15 minutes: "The red card didn’t help. Of course when he missed the PK, I was still very confident in our ability to respond and I felt that we did respond but there was once incident that occurred with Sacha being sent off, that all of a sudden swung momentum and put us on our back foot." On the red card and was it a selfish play: "I think selfish is the wrong word there. Any one of us under the right circumstance can react emotionally. We do our best as professionals to maintain a certain cerebral approach to the game but emotions are part of it and at that moment, it seemed that his emotions got the best of him. He was very remorseful in the locker room and he apologized but I think it’s going to come down to what we said and what Jesse said - we aren’t making plays. Our record speaks for itself. At the end of the day if we want to be a winning team and a team that we say we are going to be, it requires the effort but it also requires us making those plays." BRADLEY WRIGHT-PHILLIPS On taking second penalty: "I wanted to take it. I was confident I’d score. The keeper wanted a battle today. I suppose that’s how it goes." What goes through his head on second penalty kick: "I was just trying to get my team back in the game. If I score that first penalty it’s a different game, and if I don’t miss either it’s a different game. I thought even in the second half, with a man down, I felt like we dominated. It’s a tough one to take, especially missing two penalties." If he’s ever missed two penalties in one match: "Never. I only started taking penalties when I got here last season, so I guess there will be a lot of twists and turns. It’s something I have to deal with, we’ve got another game Wednesday. I guess my team needs me though so I can’t dwell on it. I just have to get over it." On directing the penalty kicks: "I decide at the time. I usually pick a way and try to hit it hard. I think I’ve done that with both the penalties. The second one, I tried to go down the middle, I don’t know where it hit him but he made a good save." On Kljestan’s red card: "We don’t need to be playing with a man down. Sacha has already apologized. These things happen in football just like missing two penalties, you have to play with a man down. Like I said before, if these things don’t happen it’s a totally different game. I think we would’ve won that game. Sacha and I disappointed the team a bit today." On one win in six matches: "You can’t say we deserve more from the game because we haven’t done it, you make your own luck. There’s something we’re not doing. I do feel like in the games we’ve never been under too much pressure, I don’t think the other teams have dominated us. There’s something missing and we’ll find out what it is." SACHA KLJESTAN On the cause of the red card: "It was a stupid play by me. I take responsibility. Waston is hugging me in the box and I threw an elbow towards him to get rid of him. I didn't connect on the elbow and then I don't know if the ref gave the red card for the elbow or for Waston standing over me and I tried to push him back and put my leg up and he acted like I stepped on him. I have to take responsibility for what I did. I made a stupid play and an idiotic decision in the heat of the moment and I have to take responsibility for losing this game for us because I think if I stay on this field we win the game." On what he said to his teammates: "I gave my apologies to them at halftime for putting them in that position and having to run so much more and work so much harder and put them in a position to be fighting and playing a man down so I apologized to my teammates and they know how sorry I am." On Abang getting the call on the penalty kick: "I appreciate that. I appreciate that we got a penalty for a chance in the box where we can't make a play because we're being held."
  8. REPORT: Los Angeles Galaxy's last defeat at the StubHub Center came on March 8th last year in a 1-0 First Kick defeat to Real Salt Lake. That was 29 games and counting, in all competitions, as Vancouver Whitecaps headed to Carson, California. 'Caps coach Carl Robinson has said post match that records are made to be broken, so why couldn't it be them? No reason at all as it turned out. Kekuta Manneh's 32nd minute strike was the difference between the two teams on the night, but Vancouver had the far better chances throughout, hitting on the counter and squandering their opportunities to win by a few. That's still a concern, but that's also for another time. After making six changes to his starting line-up for the midweek loss in Montreal, Robinson returned his big hitters for this one, against a weakened, but still strong, LA side. The home side had the better of the early going without creating any real threat to David Ousted's goal. Goalmouth action in general was hard to come by, with both defences mopping up whatever was coming towards them. The game needed a spark. It came in the 32nd minute and opened the scoring for Vancouver. Manneh collected the ball inside his own half, playing it forward to Octavio Rivero who took a few touches before playing it back out wide to the winger. The Gambian had been a handful for the Galaxy defence to start the match and gave them more trouble, cutting inside of a backing off Omar Gonzalez before firing home past Brian Rowe from the edge of the box. The young speedster was having an impressive game, both in attack and with a strong defensive shift, and he nearly set Cristian Techera up for the second with four minutes of the half remaining, but the Uruguayan fierce strike was touched off the near post by Rowe. A strong first half by Vancouver, and keeping themselves tight in the second was now the key. As it turned out, LA didn't really look all that threatening in the final third and Vancouver continued to have the best chances, just not taking them and killing the game off. Manneh had a chance to add a second ten minutes into the second half, when he sprung the Galaxy defence, but his first touch let him down and allowed Rowe to come out quickly and block the danger. Robbie Keane came close moments later, as you wondered how costly a miss Manneh's could be. But there was more, and worse, to come! Sub Alan Gordon came within inches of getting his toe on a dangerous Stefan Ishizaki ball across goal in the 63rd minute, in a lucky escape for the 'Caps. As LA pressed, Vancouver should have made it two in the 72nd minute on a quick counter-attack. Rivero received a pass from Pedro Morales just inside the 'Caps half, easily turned Leonardo and bore down on goal on a two-on-one break with the 'Caps captain. With Rowe narrowing the angle, the Uruguayan made the perfect pass inside to Morales but the Chilean could only look on in anguish as his shot crashed off the left post with the goal gaping. The rebound fell to Rivero but took an awkward bounce and LA cleared the danger. The Galaxy nearly made them pay, but Keane was unable to connect on a long ball forward. It was deja vu with seven minutes remaining when Rivero found himself on another two-on-one break, this time with sub Darren Mattocks, but the strikers ball inside was too hard for the Jamaican to get on to. A concerning as the misses are, it wasn't to matter and the Caps held on for a historic win. Vancouver now go into a bye week and two weeks rest until their next match away to New York Red Bulls on June 20th. It just got a lot more enjoyable for them. Psychologically, this result could be massive. FINAL SCORE: Los Angeles Galaxy 0 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 20,219 LOS ANGELES: Brian Rowe; Oscar Sorto, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Baggio Husidic; Stefan Ishizaki, Juninho, Mika Vayrynen (Kenney Walker 56), Ignacio Maganto (Sebastian Lletget 75); Robbie Keane, Edson Buddle (Alan Gordon 60) [subs Not Used: Andrew Wolverton, A.J. DeLaGarza, Tommy Meyer, Rafael Garcia] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Russell Teibert 75), Gershon Koffie, Cristian Techera, Pedro Morales (Darren Mattocks 80), Kekuta Manneh (Mauro Rosales 75); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Christian Dean, Nicolás Mezquida, Robert Earnshaw] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS On how it feels to get the win tonight: "It feels very good; it feels very nice after a long road trip in Montreal on Wednesday and then coming here against the champs, 29 games unbeaten. I challenged them before the game, I said 'you got to believe you can do it', because I firmly believed we could, and I was proved right." On the play of Kekuta Manneh tonight: "I thought he was excellent, if you look and see what he does off the ball well, his movement, his patterns are getting better, on the defensive side he is getting better and obviously he could have maybe scored another goal or two because he got through once or twice and his touch let him down. With all young players, they make mistakes, it is important you work with them and you continue to evolve with them and we will continue to do that with him. Octavio [Rivero] put two on a plate, one for Pedro [Morales] which he hit the post, Cristian [Techera] was a constant threat, and then Mauro came on and showed passing range as well. I am delighted for the boys because we put a lot of work in this week." On the performance of the defence tonight: "Excellent, really really was positive with them, because if you do you jobs correctly, individually and collectively then you have a chance to win any game and you rely on your forwards to take chances. Kendall and Pa were excellent, we know Los Angeles likes to attack the fullbacks and get width that way, you have to defend your box and we did that very well today. All of the guys in the locker room deserve a huge pat on the back for their performance tonight." On moving forward after this win: [On TSN radio] "It's important that we keep a perspective on this. We'll keep our feet ground. I don't get too excited when we get a really, really good result and I don't get too beat up when we don't get a very good result. What's important to me is performance. Over the first period of this season, our performance levels have been pretty high for three quarters of the time. When we come back I've got to make sure that we can kick on again because the quality and belief in the squad, if it continues to improve on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, then we'll hopefully get to where we want to get to." KEKUTA MANNEH On the team's performance tonight: "I thought it was great, we played as a team like we always want to. It was a great result, we have never won here I heard, so it was a good win for us going into the break and we can put our feet up and relax. It was a really good win for us." On matching up with Omar Gonzalez: "The first time I took him outside, second one I took him inside and on the goal he probably didn't know where I was going to go. I talked about it with the coaching staff and the players, they told me 'you have a lot of potential', but you have to learn the game, go in and out on the defenders and it will be difficult for defenders to predict where you are going to go, so that is what I did. The first two opened up the goal. I had made up my mind, talking with the coaches since last year, just have the ball on your feet, make your mind up, decide what you are going to do before you have the ball and that is what I have been working on and finally pulled it off today." On getting the victory going into a bye week: "It's really big, like I said we had never won here so it was extra joy for us, but it is a really good win. I don't know where we are standing on the table but I think we are up there now, it is a good win, we can have a week off and everybody go where everybody want to go and then come back and get ready for New York." MAURO ROSALES On the match tonight: "I am obviously very about the team and how we worked, that kind of game makes us think how good this team can be, we just have to believe in this team and believe in the work that we do every day to become a good team. The Los Angeles Galaxy, and this stadium, and their fans, they had a 29 game unbeaten streak, it was a very good game for us, and the motivation was perfect for us. I have high praise for the guys and collectively we were very sharp and focused. We did what we had to do to win this game, and we did what we need to do to win these kinds of games in this environment. If we want to become a very good team, we have to win games like this, so I am very happy for the team." On rebounding from the game on Wednesday: "We took many positive things from Wednesday, it obviously wasn't the result that we wanted, but we came here with the same mentality, just play in a way to be focused, be together, try to work, and we fought to the end. We did the same in Montreal but we couldn't hold the result last minute, so there were a lot of positive things and I am really happy for the team." On winning before the break: "Knowing what we did today, we have to come after the break with the same mentality, with the same willingness to go and commit to become a good team. This is the halfway point of the season, but nothing is going to be OK if we just take everything we have done up to this moment and throw it away. We need to keep moving forward, we need to keep moving to the level that we want to be at and everybody knows that. Everybody obviously is going to take a rest, we had too many games and we need that break and it is going to help us charge our batteries for the last part of the season." LA GALAXY BRUCE ARENA On having zero shots on goal: “I don’t think it was from a lack of effort, we should have shot a few more times. They did a good job, got a lot of players behind the ball, made it tough in and around the penalty area to their credit.” On tonight’s match: “Conceding that goal in the first half, it was tailor made for their team. The way they play, and with their speed on the counter, and we gave away a ball in our middle third of the field and they got a goal. They certainly did a very good job having good numbers behind the ball, and countering us in the second half. We had some chances to have a little bit better quality, perhaps create a few dangerous chances, but we fell short.” On Vancouver’s centre of defence: “They played well. Obviously they are very good in the air and they dominated us there. We weren’t good enough on the ball to play around them.” On Robbie Keane’s fitness: “Well he is just coming back from being away for two months. I think we’re doing the best we can; it’s been a little bit of a patchwork job in the first half of the season. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes. No excuses, but we’re a little bit short handed in a lot of the spots on the field and it shows with some of our quality. He’d probably tell you that the last 20 minutes were pretty rough for him. We had to be aggressive with our substitutions to try and get a goal. I decided to keep Robbie out there. It might have been a little too much for him, but it’s probably good for him to get the 90 minutes in.” On Kekuta Manneh: “He was pretty much their dangerous player in the first half. A couple times, he burned us and we got caught on the goal. He is a good player. Perhaps we could have been a little bit better on a few of those plays. We stopped him a couple times, but the goal, give him credit. He did well to get the goal.” ROBBIE KEANE On having zero shots on goal: “We didn’t play obviously as well as we had too. They played well, give them credit. The game plan’s to stop the balls in the middle. Go through the middle. They defended well so full credit to them, they deserved to win the game” On Vancouver: “They have pace. When you’ve got pace like that, it very hard for defenders. Especially with someone who is quick with the ball. It’s hard to defend against so they did that very well.” On inconsistent season: “We’re still in there, so it’s no crisis. We’re inconsistent, but we’re still there in the pack which is the most important considering the inconsistency that we’ve been playing. So as long as we’re there, and everybody gets fit, more minutes that people get on the field, and all the players that come in, I think you’ll see a different Galaxy side. But full credit to the players that have been working their socks off, it’s been a difficult few months. But the players are showing a lot of character. Even tonight, we kept pushing and pushing to get that goal, it didn’t happen. Naturally, when you do that, of course they are going to get chances on the counterattack.” OMAR GONZALEZ On losing against Vancouver twice this season: “I thought they were very organized. I though tonight they played very well. They came here with a set tactic and they played it very well where they got everyone behind the ball. They clogged holes, we couldn’t find Robbie [Keane], we couldn’t find Edson [buddle], and we were just going side trying to open them up but they shifted as a team very well and didn’t allow us to break them up too much. Unlucky on a pass and [Kekuta] Manneh picks it up and just takes off and I tried to take him to the outside and he just cut inside really quickly and got a shot off and that’s how that goal happened.” On Kekuta Manneh’s play: “I know he likes to cut inside so I made sure to take him outside and close the angle but there was a time where he was more central so I was vulnerable to both sides and I allowed him to cut inside a bit more and that’s why he was able to get open on that shot.” On whether Manneh is the fastest player in MLS: “[He is] definitely one of them. He is up there with [Fabian] Castillo, fast with the ball. There’s a few guys in this league who are very fast without the ball and also with the ball and those guys are very dangerous.” On Vancouver’s counter attacks in second half: “The reason why they got so many counter attacks later in the second half is because we’re just going for broke. It’s either going to be 1-1, or 3-0. We wanted to tie the game so we have to take chances and we took chances by sending players forward and we just kept on losing the ball. We didn’t have the quality up front tonight and so we kept on coughing it up and they kept on going on counters. It’s a tale of us not being sharp enough and them making the most of our mistakes.” On getting no shots on goal tonight: “Obviously we had a tough one. I think it was a long month of May. Maybe guys were a bit tired and we just have to bounce back, I know we will, and it’s going to be a tough game in Columbus. Long travel and we just have to bite down and just grind another win." STEFAN ISHIZAKI On Vancouver: “I know that they were going to play on the counter, and they did. They didn’t have many chances in the game, but they got the goal and that’s all that counts in this game. They are very, very tight. Especially in the center of the field; they are playing with a tight back four and then two guys sitting in front. It made it really hard to find our strikers and really get any possession centrally on their field. We didn’t play the ball fast enough to the wings and we didn’t cross it early enough. Especially in the first half, we played a little bit too slow. We played better in the second half and penetrated them a little, and we did have chances even though we didn’t have any shots on goal, we did have our chances. With a little bit more luck, we could have scored, and maybe even gone for a second goal. But I give credit to them; they played a good game and tactically very smart." On tonight’s match: “I thought we did well the second half. We switched it, and we had a couple of crosses. But obviously sometimes you can’t just cross it in the area because they have two big men there centrally. [Kendall] Waston and [Pa-Modou] Kah are big guys who are really good at heading the ball. But I thought we had a couple of good chances and Ignacio beat his man a couple of times, went down the line. I did a combination plays with Keane a couple of times, and I went around my guy a couple of times. We were a lot more dangerous the second half.”
  9. REPORT: Vancouver Whitecaps made it three losses in their last four matches, crashing to a 2-1 defeat in Montreal. Despite dominating play against the Impact at times, the Whitecaps couldn't get the job done in front of goal and once again it proved to be very costly. Jack McInerney gave Montreal a first half lead, but Pedro Morales gave Vancouver a lifeline with a penalty 11 minutes from time. The Whitecaps sensed a winner but as they pushed, the Impact hit them with an 83rd minute winner from Ignacio Piatti. With one eye on Saturday's trip to LA, Carl Robinson made six changes to the starting line-up. A risky move in for the more winnable game of the two, on paper at least. The Whitecaps made an unusually slow start out of the traps and the Impact weren't much better. It was the home side that took the lead, however, in the 14th minutes and it was pretty much out of nothing. A weak clearance from Diego Rodriguez fell to Lauren Ciman about 25 yards out and his dipping volley crashed off the crossbar. David Ousted was beaten all ends up in the Caps goal and was left looking for where the ball had gone. Straight into the path of Jack McInerney as it turned out and the striker made no mistake in firing home the rebound from 12 yards out. The goal spurred Vancouver on and they took the game to Montreal, dominating play and controlling the midfield, but, once again, without getting the vital breakthrough in the final third. They certainly came close. In a blistering spell to end the half, Kekuta Manneh had the ball in the back of the net in the 40th minute but it was quickly called back for offside. Nicolas Mezquida then saw his shot deflected over the bar on the stroke of half time and there was still time for Darren Mattocks to crash an effort off the left post. Promising signs, but a case of same old, same old for the Caps in the final third? Montreal started the second half strong and McInerney forced Ousted into a save at his near post in the 50th minute, winning a corner that the Impact couldn't capitalise on. Both teams were enjoying possession but Montreal were coming up with the better chances, with Ousted tipping over from Andres Romero just past the hour mark. Vancouver used all their subs in an attempt to get something from the game and they were handed to the opportunity to do just that when Jordan Harvey was brought down in the box by Romero in the 79th minute. Morales, who had not long come on as a sub, easily slotted home the Caps' first penalty of the season and it was 1-1. The Whitecaps' joy was to be short lived. Four minutes in fact. Piatti was given too much space in the box and collected a pass from Romero to fire home between Tim Parker and Harvey and past Ousted, to put the Impact back in the lead. Montreal nearly made it three moments later when Anthony Jackson-Hamel headed narrowly wide. The Caps pushed for another equaliser, but the home side shut up shot and there was to be no way through. Piatti had the last chance of the game in stoppage time when he nearly scored a fantastic chip over Ousted, but the Dane did well to grab the ball. A very disappointing loss for many factors, the two biggest being the way that the Caps dominated the play at times but mostly because this was perhaps the most winnable game on Vancouver's gruelling five game stretch on the road. It's only going to get tougher over the next five weeks and the rest of the season. This one could really be costly for the Caps. FINAL SCORE: Montreal Impact 2 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 10,035 MONTREAL: Evan Bush; Donny Toia, Wandrille Lefevre, Laurent Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo; Calum Mallace, Patrice Bernier (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 81), Andres Romero, Ignacio Piatti, Eric Alexander (Maxim Tissot 63); Jack McInerney (Nigel Reo-Coker 78) [subs Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Bakary Soumare, Victor Cabrera, Romario Williams] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, Diego Rodriguez, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Pedro Morales 74), Mauro Rosales Octavio Rivero 70), Nicolas Mezquida (Cristian Techera 63), Kekuta Manneh; Darren Mattocks [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Christian Dean, Gershon Koffie, Robert Earnshaw] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPSCARL ROBINSON On the overall game: [On TSN radio] "How we were one-nil down at half time was beyond me. We played very well with the ball. We gave away, obviously, a goal in the first few minutes and we were chasing. The character in the second half, we continued to play the way we wanted to play, continued to chase that goal, we got the goal and we let them off the hook again. The second goal could have been avoided." [On TSN radio] "I can't fault the performance, the way we played. I can fault the result because we didn't win." On continuing inability to convert chances" [On TSN radio] "Teams are not going to roll over and let you have endless chances. You've got to create your chances and sometimes we don't create enough chances. We created a number of chances today. Are they clear cut ones? No. If you look at the chances we had in the first half compared to the ones Montreal had, they go in one ahead. It's a learning process. We'll deal with it." On resting players v Montreal and not v LA which is harder game to win: [On TSN radio] "You talk about three games in a week and how you manage that. Effectively, it's done in results. If you lose a game, it's the wrong decision. I could have played exactly the same team as Saturday and we lose and it's the wrong thing to do. Today, I decided to freshen it up because it's the right thing to do. The energy in the team was good, the performance was good, so it was the right thing to do. We lost, so I'll have to accept that and will take responsibility for that." [on TSN radio] "It's about managing it, but again with managing it, you need to get results. If you don't get a result, people will question you and say it's the wrong thing to do." [in scrum] "I firmly believed this team could win this game, and it showed based on performance that they should’ve won the game. So I’ve got confidence in every single player in my group, and my starting roster was based upon that." On going for the win and not settling for a draw: [On TSN radio] "We made our substitutions based on wanting to try and get back in the game. If you put an attacking sub on then obviously you get back in the game and we've got attacking players on the field. When we went to 1-1, I firmly believed we could go on and win the game, and so did the group. It's not naive from us because the worst case was we had a point, but if you don't do your jobs correctly you give up a point sometimes. Unfortunately we lost a point today." On bad start to stretch of road games: [On TSN radio] "We know we're on the road for five games. This is the first game, unfortunately it's a loss, which you have to accept. You've just got to go and try and win the next game." On what they did wrong and how to improve for Saturday: [in scrum] "We need to out our chances away. Football is a game where, if you’re able to take your chances when you’re on top, you’re going to win the game. We were 1-0 behind at half somehow and obviously showed great character to get back in the game. We gave a bad goal, we left him, but it was a good finish, he’s a very talented player, but we could’ve avoided that." DAVID OUSTED On the Whitecaps going for the win: "I think we need to go in and try to get three. I feel like we had the chances going forward today and we don’t want to sit back and get draws in a row, we need to get wins as well. Today it didn’t go our way." On the first 15 minutes: "If you go away from home, sometimes you won’t have the ball. We’re good at that and hitting them on the counter. I thought we did well today creating chances, but we let in two bad goals and that killed us today." RUSSELL TEIBERT On Montreal winning: "I think Montreal was clinical on the chances that they had and they ended up getting two goals. I think there are a lot of things that we can do better but there’s a lot of positives that we can take away from this game. Resiliency; I think we have this never say die attitude that when times are tough and we need to get back in the match, were never going to say it’s over if there’s still time on the clock." On the last 10 minutes: "It’s about being focused for 90 minutes. You can do things right for 85, but if you don’t do the tasks you’re assigned for 90 minutes, good teams will capitalize, and that’s what Montreal did tonight." MONTREAL IMPACT FRANK KLOPAS On the win: "This game was really important; a tie would’ve been like a loss to us. There was some pressure on the guys, and not only fatigue, but from the mental aspect as well, when you’re under pressure, winning like this was huge." On a different starting XI: "We make decisions based on how guys play in games. I wasn’t going to make a lot of changes because it’s very hard to stop the rhythm of the team, but I thought the changes we made were good, and I think it’s important because it keeps everyone on their toes and we need to be fair with everyone." EVAN BUSH On playing at home: "We have a good feeling when we’re playing at home, and regardless of what we did on Saturday there’s always a way to bounce back. It’s a funny league. Columbus for me is one of the best teams in the league and they got smoked tonight on the road." On taking success to the road: "We need to be a little more comfortable on the ball. We did well with where we drew the line tonight defensively. We didn’t get too high, we didn’t let them get their fast guys in behind us. With our guys up top we do well with when were in transition. From that standpoint we take that on the road, and to be fair you sit back on the road creating a lot of space, and from there we should be confident in exploiting that space." PATRICE BERNIER After not having played for so long: "Personally, it’s always great to start the game and have the support of the crowd as well. The most important thing of course is to win, and this was a very important win after Saturday’s performance. We needed to bounce back and now were perfect at home, now we need to start getting points on the road." On finding success on the road: "We need to start finding success in the second half, where we don’t always have the ball and it’s not always easy. But tonight we were alert, concentrated and focused, we didn’t give them great chances and we took advantages of our opportunities. On the road its never the same, we need to be more alert and focused, and more mentally alert."
  10. REPORT (by Steve Pandher) The first part of the match saw both teams getting used to the new surface at BC Place with the first chance coming just after ten minutes when Pedro Morales forced Nick Rimando into a diving stop on a shot that was heading inside the post. Vancouver squandered two clear chances to open the scoring in the space of four minutes when first an unmarked Cristian Techera fired wildly over in the 20th minute, after being set up by Mauro Rosales, and then Octavio Rivero crossed the ball right to an open Gershon Koffie who hit the bar from inside twelve yards. The Ghanaian midfielder would make up for his miss in the 36th minute with an unstoppable strike into the top corner. After stripping Joao Plata of the ball, Koffie took a touch and blasted a shot from 25 yards out past a diving Rimando to give Vancouver the lead. With less than five minutes to go in the half, Kendall Waston had an opportunity to double the lead when his header, off a Morales free kick, sailed just over the bar. The inability to convert that chance would prove costly and Real Salt Lake evened the match when Javier Morales placed a 25 yard free kick with power into the top corner past a helpless Ousted and a poorly set up wall. Pa Modou Kah had a chance to restore the 'Caps lead before the break, but his header was saved on the line by Rimando and the teams went in all square. Ten minutes after the break Morales almost give RSL lead when he got free inside the box but Kah was able to get in the way at the last moment to block the shot. As the hour mark it was the Caps who were denied as Rivero was stopped by Rimando after being sent in one on one by Laba. Four minutes later the Whitecaps were scrambling to keep the ball out of the net after Ousted punched a Vasquez goalbound header off the line. A five minute span between the 71st and 76th minute saw the Whitecaps dominating the visitors with a total of eight corners attempted but only one blocked Morales chance coming from it. Just three minutes later the Whitecaps would capitalize on a RSL mistake allowing Christian Techera to score his first in MLS. Matias Laba crossed the ball to Rivero who was able to head the ball into the six yard area. At this point Vasquez chested the ball to Rimando who was not ready for it. Techera nipped in and had his first attempt stopped by Rimando. The pint sized winger followed up on the loose ball and deposited into the open net for the 2-1 lead and what proved to be the winning goal. The remainder of the match saw the Caps keep RSL at bay except in the final moments when Alvaro Saborio’s shot from six yards out went into the side netting. The win over RSL ended Vancouver’s mini two game losing streak and they end the month of May with a two wins, two losses and a draw. It also improved their home record to 4-1-3 taking advantage of the last match BC Place until July 12th. While that match is far away the next week sees Vancouver traveling to the East to take on derby rivals Montreal Impact mid-week before returning to Southern California next Saturday to play the LA Galaxy. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Real Salt Lake ATT: 21,000 (sell out) VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Gershon Koffie; Cristian Techera(Darren Mattocks 86), Pedro Morales(Russell Teibert 90+3), Mauro Rosales(Kekuta Manneh 69); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolás Mezquida, Tim Parker, Robert Earnshaw] SALT LAKE: Nick Rimando; Elias Vasquez, Justen Glad, Aaron Maund, Abdoulie Mansally; Kyle Beckerman, John Stertzer(Luis Gil 81), Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia 70), Sebastian Jaime(Alvaro Saborio 84), Devon Sandoval [subs Not Used: Lalo Fernandez, Tony Beltran, Wellington Paeckart, Luke Mullholland] REACTION: VANCOUVER CARL ROBINSON On a great win before a long road trip: “Very important. I was dreading coming in here and saying to you guys ‘Oh, we played really well, but we didn’t win.’ That’s the frustration I felt after 45 minutes because I thought we were absolutely excellent in the first 45 minutes without scoring more than one goal. And the dangerous off-set plays and set pieces, we were giving up one or two silly free kicks. If you give Rosales an opportunity, he scores. So I was disappointed, but pleased. But it was an important win.” On being some of the best play this season: “It is. Whether we can score enough goals to win the games has been the big question. As I said to the guys in there today, ‘Well-played. But, I’m sick of saying well-played, but we’re not winning. Let’s go out and challenge.’ After the game, it was nice, because I said the group can go to a very special place if they really believe they can and want to. And today I found out a lot about them. It was pleasing for them. It was an important win.” On Cristian Techera and what he brings to the team: “All of my players have different attributes. He brings energy about him. He’s small, he’s dynamic, and he scores goals. If you look at his record prior to when he came here, he scored goals. And that’s one thing we need our wide players to do, if we’re going to play the shape that we play. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, he’s scored many better goals than that but we’ll take it. But, it’s not just him. Mauro and Kekuta [Manneh], when he came on, were excellent as well, so he’s different to what we have.” On David Ousted’s big save and how it influenced the match: “He seemed to be very happy with that afterwards, didn’t he? You know, calling the crowd, putting his arms up, which was great. Key moments, fine lines, this game. As we talk about every week, and our fine line today was David produced a great save. He’s in the team to do that, so when he does that, we’ll pat him on the back as well. Then obviously the forward players took the goals.” Thought’s on the newly surfaced turf: “Great. Good. I don’t use excuses. It’s the same for both teams. Our advantage is the 12th man out there, these fans. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Real Salt Lake are a good team, they have good players. After a long road trip for them, well, three games in a week, you know they are going to have a period of play. When they did, the fans got us through that as well and we kicked on again, which was a pleasing thing. We were looking very strong at the end, so it was fine.” Thoughts on Gershon Koffie: “He can do it. I keep saying to him every week, he can do it. Gershon has shown on his day he can arguably be one of the best midfield players in the league, without a doubt. I gripe with him, and it is a gripe. His potential is massive. He’s got to fulfill his potential with my help and my coaches’ help and he’s pushing himself, day in and day out. Because, what I don’t want is him to play well one game and not so well for two or three games. It’s about playing well. Kyle Beckerman, perfect example. Plays well every game. Gershon can do that and challenge him. Russell [Teibert] wasn’t quite ready today and he’s been excellent for me. And Matias [Laba] is Matias. Gershon can score goals. He was a beauty today, really was.” On the combination of Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales, Cristian Techera, and Octavio Rivero: “I think in certain games, in certain halves of football, we’ve played very well. Sometimes we go with pace out wide. Cristian brings us the pace element. Mauro brings us the brain. I thought Mauro was excellent again. Different games require different things. When we go on the road, it’s going to be different. We have a tough stretch now of five games. So we’ll pick and choose who we use and when we use them. But the boys performed today. I’m leaving good players out of this squad, I really am. Sometimes people say, ‘Well why you do you keep changing the line-ups’ and things like that. The energy levels have to be high. Salt Lake did it today if you look at the bench with Tony Beltran, Luke Mulholland, Luis Gil, and Alvaro Saborio. They left their good players out. They play every week for them, but three games in a week is hard for any player. It will be what it is.” GERSHON KOFFIE Thoughts on his goal: “I just read what [Nick Rimando] was going to do. That he was going to turn outside to the right side because there were a lot of guys inside so he could not go inside. So I just followed up and had a shot.” Thoughts on missed chance earlier in the match: “I was at the right spot and should have buried that one. But fortunately, I did what I could and I got rewarded with the second one.” On whether he has practiced on his finishing: “Yes, we have been putting in a lot of work on that. But even the strikers who score every single game, they miss some chances that are expected. You just have to keep working on your finish.” On his 100th regular season start: “It is special for the whole team and it is very special to me.” On importance of this win: “It’s always good to win. We are not going to be here for a while. The win was very important for us and it gives us motivation for the next game.” CRISTIAN TECHERA Thoughts on the match: “I think it was a game that we may have complicated a little bit for ourselves after the first half. But we came out in the second half and made it happen.” On his first MLS goal and shoe celebration: “It’s good. Anytime a player scores a goal it gives you confidence going forward and it settles you down and makes you look forward to the next one. I was telling the guys in the locker room that the ball that was pretty high up in the air and the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper is not the tallest so it made sense that the defender would be trying to chest it back. I just recognized that and was able to capitalize on the opportunity. I told my family I would score a goal and send them my shoes.” Thoughts on playing in front of Whitecaps FC fans and on the new turf: “Fans have been great from the get-go. It’s always nice to come into a full stadium with passionate support. The turf was nice. It looks really good. It’s always nice to play at BC Place especially with the new turf.” On whether he feels more comfortable now: “It’s been great. Especially with a few Latino players here. It helped me settle in a lot quicker. The support from the club has made that transition a lot smoother. Anytime you go anywhere as a player, there is always a bit of a transition and settling-in phase and I am thankful it has gone relatively smoothly.” REAL SALT LAKE JEFF CASSAR Thoughts on the game-winning goal: “At that junction of the game, it’s ‘boom’ and get it out. We talk about it all the time. It’s a learning experience but I think Nick Rimando had a very good game.” On whether the sun was a factor on the game-winning goal: “I don’t know, I haven’t talked to Nick Rimando about what happened. It should be a simple play. Just ‘boom’ and get it out. I know Elias Vasquez is very comfortable back there on the ball. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be effective so we can walk out of here with the result.” On the changes in the lineup: “This is our seventh game this month. Three games in eight days isn’t easy. Credit to our players for sticking it out. Credit to players like Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman. These guys are coming back from injury. Kyle has played three games of 90 minutes. These guys are warriors. It’s good to give them as many extended minutes as possible with Sebastian Jaime and Joao Plata because we need to work them in back to full fitness. It’s not easy to go on the road twice, and three games in eight days. We hung in there, we did a good job and we should’ve had the result for sure.” On Justen Glad’s debut performance: “Very good. I thought he was very good. It’s not an easy task to deal with Whitecaps FC wingers. They’re technical, they have speed. I thought he did a great job.” On the upcoming home schedule: “It’s been hard for us to get in rhythm. It’s one match away, then one at home. You can use these home games to really get on a streak. To get going, we’re going to have to do that.” On their recent performance: “I don’t think we struggled tonight. We didn’t get the result but you look at everything and I think we played a very good game. Same thing in LA. We were all over them for long stretches of time, but we’re doing things to shoot ourselves on the foot. But if we don’t give up penalty kicks, we don’t give up set-play goals, and we don’t give up red cards, we’re a pretty good team. But if you gift goals, it’s hard to get results.” JUSTEN GLAD On his debut performance: “I think it went well. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but I think as far as experience goes, I think it was a good game. We had to grind it out at the end. That’s how defence is and that’s what it comes down to. Coming from an experience standpoint, it’s a huge step.” On transitioning from the USL to the MLS: “Obviously, everyone’s a little stronger, a little faster. You just have to play a little quicker. The nerves definitely came in the first half and they played a part. But in the second half, it was a lot easier. It’s a fitness game. Coming in, I tired more quickly. For example last week, at the end of the USL game, I wasn’t tired. At the end of this game, I’m a lot more tired. It’s a tough transition but helpful to the USL side to have this experience. Obviously, there are things to work on. There’s always room for improvement. I’m alright with it.” On the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup being played on the new turf: “It should be fine. It’s a really nice stadium. It’s a nice set-up they have up here. I think they’ll enjoy it.” NICK RIMANDO Thoughts on the match: “They scored more than us. I thought we did enough to at least tie that game but we figured out a way to lose it.” On the Cristian Techera goal: “That comes down to language barriers. Elias Vasquez wanted to do one thing, and I was saying something else. Obviously, you saw the result of what happened. That’s us figuring a way not to win the game. We have to figure out a way to reverse that this year. It was a mistake and we’ve had a lot of those this year. We just have to move forward and learn from them and keep grinding out and get results.” On what they can take away from the match: “The good thing we got out of this is we got a lot of guys some good minutes. A lot of guys got some rest. I don’t think any of that had to do anything with the result. We had chances where we could’ve scored. At the end of the day, they scored more than us and put away their chances.” On the team’s early season struggles: “It’s one that we just need to go with. It’s definitely unusual compared to what we’re used to. A lot of changes but we knew it was going to be different from the beginning and it’s still relatively early. We have to start getting some points and grinding it out. It’s not going to be pretty at times but if it’s ugly, it’s ugly. If it’s ugly but we grind out some points, it’s fine with me. We have to find who we are and keep moving forward and somehow get healthy because we have a lot of guys out.” On the new turf: “It’s the first game so you can’t really be critical of it. As more players play on it, it’s going to get broken in and get better.” KYLE BECKERMAN On the early season struggles: “It’s frustrating. It’s part of the game. It’s about the team that makes the least amount of mistakes. It’s about punishing the other team when they do make a mistake. We just weren’t able to punish them. They did on a couple of mistakes we made. That was just the story of the game today.” On the adjustments to the lineup: “Guys gained a lot of experience today. Hopefully that helps us in the long run. Justen Glad played his first game, I think he did really well. There are a lot of positives to take away from the game. It’s not all doom and gloom. We’ll take the positives. We’ll see where we can get better and keep marching forward.”
  11. REPORT: Vancouver Whitecaps and the altitude of Colorado have not been happy bedfellows over the years and so it continued on Saturday night with a 1-0 loss that made it just two wins and eight points for the 'Caps in their last eight matches. Vancouver looked comfortable and the better side in the first half, but a rain delay at the break seemed to change the momentum and Colorado grabbed all three points thanks to Lucas Pittinari's 51st minute volley and a phantom call from the referee disallowing Pedro Morales' late free kick equaliser. Injuries and fatigue forced Carl Robinson's hand a little with his starting line-up in this one. Pedro Morales sat out after playing two games in the past week, with Mauro Rosales making a welcome return in the number ten role and Kianz Froese getting his first MLS start on the right wing. There was no debut start for Colorado's new DP Kevin Doyle, who began the game on the bench. The Rapids came out of the traps and forced a couple of early corners, but neither goalkeeper had much to do in the opening exchanges. Kekuta Manneh nearly brought the game to life in the 17th minute when Kianz Froese played the ball to him at the edge of the box and the Gambian brought out a fantastic save from Clint Irwin in the Rapids' goal. There was very little to note from either side, with Vancouver's tight defensive play easily keeping the home side at bay and the Whitecaps were looking the more dangerous team going forward. The 'Caps had a couple of chances in stoppage time to go in at the break with the lead. First, Octavio Rivero was sent flying on the edge of the box and Rosales sent a brilliant dipping free kick on goal which Irwin had to acrobatically tip over. The Argentine sent in the resultant corner, which was met powerfully by Rivero but his header crashed off the bar and the danger was cleared by the Rapids. With the last kick of the half, Colorado went up the pitch and Dillon Powers fired a fierce one just over, setting up what was hopefully going to be a more action packed second half. And then the heavens opened with a rain delay, little bit of lightning and a sodden pitch when the players came back out. Both teams came out on the attack to start the second half and Froese found himself in a good position in the 47th minute but pulled his shot wide right. Colorado responded with a chance for Gabriel Torres after Powers had split the defence open with a through ball, but the Panamanian fired wide under pressure from Jordan Harvey. It was just to be a temporary respite for Vancouver and Colorado took the lead in the 51st minute with a well worked goal. Gershon Koffie seemed to be fouled in the midfield, but with no whistle coming, the Rapids broke forward ending when Torres played a sublime backwards pass to Pittinari who volleyed home past David Ousted. The Whitecaps came close to levelling things up just two minutes later when Rosales hit another well taken free kick, but this time it was just wide to the left. Colorado had a great chance to double their lead in the 57th minute when Torres was in the thick of the action again, this time playing in Luis Solignac, but Ousted was out quickly to produce a point blank smothering save. Manneh had a long range try in the 66th minute that flew over but the Whitecaps were looking a little devoid of ideas in how to get back in the game and it felt like it was going to take something special to do it. Ousted came to the rescue again for Vancouver when Powers let rip from 30 yards out and the Danish stopper tipped the fierce striker over. Colorado kept the pressure on from the corner and Pittinari headed narrowly over, as the Rapids sensed blood for killing the game off. Solignac came within inches of making it two for Colorado in the 76th minute but Harvey cleared his low shot off the line, as Vancouver's defence continued to bend. Cristian Techera nearly brought Vancouver back level moments later firing a 25 yard thunderbolt that caused Irwin problems but he managed to parry it and Colorado handled the danger from the rebound. Vancouver went for an attacking substitution with their final sub, bringing their captain Morales on for defensive midfielder Matias Laba with 13 minutes remaining. And Morales thought he'd tied the game up in the 82nd minute when he curled a beautiful free kick into the postage stamp corner but the goal was ruled out for a phantom call from referee Jose Carlos Rivero, who seemingly adjudged a foul on Pa Modou Kah in the wall. Vancouver rolled the dice late on, putting center back Kendall Waston up front and the big Costa Rican turned a Darren Mattocks cross into the side netting in the final minute. The 'Caps just couldn't get anything going in the four minutes of stoppage time and fell to what is just their second away defeat of the season, but more concerning is their continued failure to turn chances into goals. With a tough home game against RSL coming up next Saturday, followed by five games on the road, the 'Caps need to find something to turn their fortunes around sharpish. FINAL SCORE: Colorado Rapids 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 17,791 COLORADO: Clint Irwin; James Riley, Drew Moor, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin, Lucas Pittinari, Gabriel Torres (Kevin Doyle 63), Dillon Powers, Juan Ramirez (Vicente Sanchez 86); Luis Solignac [subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Michael Harrington, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Charles Eloundou] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah. Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Pedro Morales 77), Gershon Koffie, Kianz Froese (Cristian Techera 62), Mauro Rosales, Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 70); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Ethen Sampson, Tim Parker, Nicolas Mezquida] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On his feelings after the game: "I’m gutted for the guys in there; I really am, because I thought we put on a decent away performance. For them, they’re upset in there and they’re upset because it hurts. 3 players of mine get booked, I think we had 10 or 12, 13 fouls, and they had 25 fouls and 2 players get booked. Trying to explain to the group when decisions go against them is hard when you feel it’s unjustified." Thoughts on performance: [From TSN radio] "I thought the effort and application were fantastic. I thought the boys really gave the game a good go. There were a lot of positive performances from a lot of the guys. Unfortunately we were on the end of a wrong result." On if they should’ve taken their chances in the first half: "Yeah, we probably should’ve. I think we were very, very good in the first half and we had a couple of good chances which we didn’t take, and they hung in there. Second half was always going to be different. I think they had their best spell in the first 15 minutes of the second half, and they got their goal. It was a good finish by the boy, it really was, so credit to him for that, but I do think there was a foul in the lead up to that, which we didn’t get given. But we reacted very well. We had a couple of good chances at the end and obviously the disallowed goal which….disallowed goal." [From TSN radio] "I wanted us to continue playing the way we played because I thought we were very, very strong in the first 45 minutes and had the better chances out of the game. I knew that Colorado would have their phase of play in the second half, because we were good in the first half, and they did in the first 15 minutes. They managed to get their goal and obviously that was enough for them in the end." On if they are creating enough on the road to take points: "I think so; I think Kianz’s [Froese] was an excellent chance. I think if you compare Kianz’s chance to the boy Pittinari’s, we probably had the better chance. We didn’t take that, we missed it near post, he’s a super volley and, fine lines this game." Do you feel like you are in a funk after a hot start to the season? "No, not at all. Obviously, we’d like to win 7 out of 7, but that doesn’t happen. I think you look around the league, and I was watching Portland against Toronto today, and there was a dubious call on the penalty I think that was very harsh. It evens itself out; well it hopefully evens itself out. You’ve just got to get on with it, we’ve got a big game next week against Salt Lake and we’ll just keep going, because if we perform like that and play like that, we won’t be far away." On Pedro Morales' disallowed free kick: [From TSN radio] "At the time that I saw it, I thought it was a good goal, but obviously he blew a free kick for a foul on Pa [Modou Kah] in the wall. I asked [the referee] to clarify at the end of the game. He clarified and said he pushed the guy in the wall. Unfortunately, the guy in the wall, the young boy [Axel] Sjoberg, confirmed that he didn't push him and after watching the replay again, there was no contact from my player onto their player, so he has got that one wrong." On whether there was a foul on Gershon Koffie in the build-up to Colorado's goal: "It was a great finish by the boy," Robinson stated. "Fair play to him. It was great technique, it was a super strike and it's a great goal. I'll give him a lot of credit for that, but if you're asking me if there was a foul in the build-up, yes there was." Did the break hurt the Whitecaps [From TSN radio] "That is the way games go. I don't know if the longer break did hurt us or not because I was very, very pleased with the first 45 minutes and I wanted us to continue that in the second half. Opposition teams are always going to have their patterns and their time on the ball. Colorado got theirs in the first 15 minutes and obviously they managed to get that goal. I'm gutted for the boys today because the effort, the application, the attitude from them was absolutely spot on. They're a grumpy bunch in there tonight because they feel hard done by and I've got to agree with them." On the reasoning behind some of the changes to the starting line-up after three games in seven days: "It’s a tough place to come, here. Colorado, you know, they’re fighting for their lives and they get a lot of men behind the ball, they do it very well and I wanted freshness in the team. I think we had that, you know, it was always planned to make some changes at 60 minutes to come, but the subs that came on made a big impact as well, so it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately we were on the wrong end of a result." On having said that Colorado was a better team than their record showed: "I do, I think they’ve been very unlucky. I think they’ve got good players here. Pablo’s a great guy and it’s important to get your first win, especially at home, and he’s got that today, unfortunately against us. I give them credit, they’ve beaten us today. I think it’s a little bit unfortunate on us because one or two things have been taken out of our hands, but congratulations to them. We will deal with it, take it on the chin and move on." On what Mauro Rosales will give to the team now that he’s back: "That, exactly what we saw today. I thought in the first half he was absolutely excellent in the first 45 minutes. He’s such a smart player, he slows us down, he quickens us up. He’s black and blue in there, he really is. I think there’s 8 or 9 consecutive fouls on him, persistent fouling. Maybe I’m going to have to go to the rule book and find out what the rule is because I’m misreading them at the moment." On what he asked of his guys going into the game knowing that Colorado would come out strong: "I think we had the better chances in the first half I think we had the more clear chances. Colorado is a good team, they’ve got good players and no two halves of football are the same. I think if you look in this league, the team that plays better in the first half sometimes doesn’t play as well in the second half. We knew Colorado would push. It was important that when they pushed we didn’t give anything away. When they pushed in the first 15 minutes, they got their goal; we give something away so we were always chasing the game then. The conditions were the same for both teams. It’s tough playing at altitude, but we had enough chances to get something out of the game and that’s why I’m disappointed for the guys in there and they’re disappointed." DAVID OUSTED: On tonight’s game: "I thought that we should have gotten a draw away from here, and I thought the team showed some character throughout a tough match." On personal performance of the night: "I am happy with what I did tonight. At the end of the day we still didn’t get any points, and that is the most important thing, so I am disappointed." On season performance of the team: "I think we played another really sound defensive game today. I thought we got the balance right between the defense and the offense, and had a number of chances. I thought we deserved more." What are the positives you can take away from today: "We showed character; that we can battle in these tough games." MAURO ROSALES On what the difference was tonight: "The goal they scored, because we managed the game. We played very well. I think the team shows character. We battled out there and it’s a pity that we couldn’t get a result in our favor. I think we deserved at least a draw. We had chances. We worked very hard to get anything, but with soccer they were more effective than us. Just change the pace and just move forward. I think that playing like that away the way that we did, we can be ok. We can keep moving forward from that." On how they were able to get good looks but no goals: "Actually having the chances to score is what we have to keep getting in position for. We have to keep moving and generate chances, but try to be more effective. As soon as we don’t get chances, the strikers aren’t going to get anything. We are happy that we could build and offensively play very well, and also as a team we played very well today. Like I said before, it’s a pity that we couldn’t get anything. We’ve been very close. We scored one, but unfortunately it was a call that happens in games, so just move forward and being positive of a lot of stuff that we did well today, and obviously learn from the loss." On team’s current streak: "I think all the teams are going to have this kind of trouble in the season. As soon as we go through that learning, especially today playing the way that we did, you have to be confident for what is ahead of us. It’s a long season, the best of our team could be much better, I’m very confident that we can play much better. We hope that we can do it the following games. This is what we all want and we believe that we can do it so we want to move forward, always learning and always going for more." COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI On first home win of the season: "It feels great. I think we caught some breaks today, but it feels great. You need results to validate all of the hard work you put in Monday through Friday that no one else sees. These guys have not made any excuses or complained. They go in every week Monday through Friday and give everything they have for a result like this. I’m so happy for those guys. I’ve never met a group of more deserving men." On Solignac and Doyle’s debut: "I thought they were tremendous. I think they brought a different dynamic to the group that we didn’t have. They bring good quality to the group, they’re great teammates, but they fight as well. They get stuck in when need be. In this league, it’s a long season and a tough league. To have these guys join us at this time, I think is going to be a big lift for this group." On the goal: "To be fair it happened so fast I didn’t really see it. It was some good combination play, and a good finish. I think at home the last couple of games we’ve been creating a lot but haven’t been able to finish. It’s great to see that ball finally hit the back of the net. We’ve been working on that kind of stuff non-stop over the last couple of weeks. To see it come to fruition through some dynamic play, to finally finish a play with a goal was fantastic." On feelings after the win: "At the end of the season it all comes back to the mean. You’re going to get breaks or you’re not going to get breaks. We’re on the front end of a lot of the bad breaks. This was one of those games that instils belief and instils momentum. These three points aren’t just the first win at home; I think it’s starting something special going forward." On preparing for the second half during the weather delay: "We have the comfort of home here. The guys were spinning on the bike. We just kept it really low key. We didn’t want to spend a lot of energy getting them riled up. We had gone through a delay last week, and it was long. We just wanted to keep the legs loose and keep the minds right. The guys were talking amongst themselves and staying focused. I think they did a good job of that. We came out quite focused, and quite sharp in the second half." On keeping Solignac in for the full 90 minutes: "Initially, you don’t want to expose them to that. I felt he was very comfortable. He came in as one of the fittest players in Rapids history, is what I gathered from the medical staff. He blew through every physical test, and tested the best. From that perspective it wasn’t a concern for me. As the game went on I didn’t even think twice. This guy is a machine. He fought for balls and held the balls up great. I think it’s something in the past where we’ve had some difficulty is getting the ball up front and then holding the ball up so we can bring some guys up and set up our attack. I think today both him and Kevin Doyle did a good job of bringing the team into the attack." Did missing the game last week help in that aspect? "If he were to score two last week, he probably would have come into this week more confident. The important thing is that the mindset after a long delay there, we had a tough week of training. We just wanted to get the guys hungry and competitive. It was a lot of work, so they overcame a lot in the last week and a half. They put forth a tremendous spirit, played some good stuff, and created some good opportunities. I’m really happy with the effort and the mentality of the group." On tactical adjustments at halftime: "I think we were playing a bit narrow in the first half. We were sloppy with our passing in the attacking third, and weren’t moving the ball quick enough. We didn’t create width, we didn’t move the ball quick enough and we were giving it away cheap. Those are three things that won’t allow you to get close to goal, more importantly will create a good counter attacking situation for the other team. I think in the second half we moved the ball quicker, we looked forward with our passes and were able to bypass some lines. As the game wears on, especially here at home we know that we are going to get our looks. I was happy with the first half that we didn’t concede a goal and for the first time this year we weren’t chasing it. We didn’t feel like we had to expose ourselves. We just stayed in the game, stayed focused, waited for our opportunity and took it well." On the upcoming match against Seattle: "They’re obviously a tough team. At the moment here it is just about recovery- getting the body right, getting the mind right and approaching the Seattle game like we’ve done every game on the road. We’ve gone to tough places in LA and in New York, Houston, we’ve played in some places this year and found ways to get results. The mentality and mindset of this group is to go there and do the same. It’s going to take 90+ minutes of concentration, effort and commitment, and some good soccer as well. I think we have a group now with the addition of Doyle and Solignac, the three points, and the momentum- we have a lot of good things going for us to go there with the right mentality and to get a good result." LUIS SOLIGNAC On his debut with the Rapids: "I feel great. I think the team had a really good effort. We deserved the three points, so I am really happy." On the first half: "I think the plan was to play some long balls in the beginning to stretch the team, but the two defenders were really tough, so the second half we tried to play a bit more on the ground. We knew they would get tired because of the altitude, so we were smart and held the ball until they were tired, then went for the attack." On the effect of the altitude: "I didn’t think about it much during the game. I was trying to focus on the game so I didn’t think about the altitude. It really works because I didn’t feel it at all." On chemistry with other players: "It felt really good. Today we really helped the team. The subs came in and did a good job, so I think that is the way we should continue to play. On the atmosphere in the locker room postgame: "We really needed it. We’ve tied many games, so the team really needed a win. It was a great atmosphere." On first experience against a MLS backline: "It was tougher than I thought. They were big and physical players. I think that we found that when we had the ball on our feet, they struggled a bit because they were really physical. We tried to play on the ground and it really worked." LUCAS PITTINARI On your game-winning goal: "It looked like a mishit from Dillon Powers that reached Gaby [Torres] and I think he saw me out of the corner of his eye and was able to flick the ball to me. I hit a half-volley and thankfully it went in." On moving forward after the first home win of the season: "The team has been working extremely hard with a lot of humility and sacrifice. Things weren’t really going our way and we weren’t getting the results we were looking for but tonight we were able to get the win. I think it will bring a bit of calmness just in time for our next game in a few days. Right now we need to focus on our recovery because we will need to put in a great performance at Seattle to try and get a positive result." On the team’s mentality and resilience: "I think we were very smart out there tonight and extremely solid in the back, which was costing us a little in past games. We were able to create some clear chances in the second half and eventually got the goal." On Solignac and Doyle’s first performance with the team: "They are very important to the team. They are two players with a lot of experience and great mobility. We have welcomed them and I hope they are able to adapt as best and quickly as possible because we will definitely need them." KEVIN DOYLE How would you assess your first performance with the club? "We won so it was nice. It was a little shaky at the end but it was nice to get the win. I needed that time on the pitch to get involved and the altitude didn’t feel too bad." On your chemistry with your teammates: "It’s hard after only training for a few days but they’re good players. We were close to getting another goal and I think we should’ve scored another one. There was some good football and it was great for me to get out there. I didn’t know if I was going to or not after a long week with a lot of new things to take in." On the ovation from the crowd: "It was brilliant. Ever since I’ve gotten here everyone has been very enthusiastic not only with me but with everyone as well. I think we were just waiting for that win that’s been a long time coming. It was a strange night with the weather and the delay but most of the crowd stuck by us and got rewarded by that thankfully." On playing on turf at Seattle next week: "It will be my first time since I played once in Russia about five, six years ago. I’ll be fine and I’m sure I won’t have any problems." What did the coaches ask from you tonight?: "They just told me to come on and sit in between midfield and the center forward. When we didn’t have the ball I would sit in and help out on the midfield and when we did have it, I would push up and try to get forward as much as I could."
  12. REPORT (by Steve Pandher) For the second straight match Vancouver Whitecaps gave up an early goal but this time there would be no comeback as Seattle Sounders held on comfortably for a 2-0 win at B.C. Place. All the scoring came in the first half as Chad Barrett scored a brace while the Sounders defence limited Vancouver’s chances, earning Stefan Frei a cleansheet. The opening goal came in the fifth minute. Octavio Rivero's header found its way to Clint Dempsey who sent the ball over the backline allowing Barrett to beat the offside trap, take a touch into the box and finish past David Ousted to the far post to give the visitors the lead. Pedro Morales almost responded two minutes later when he got around a couple of defenders and attempted a shot that forced Frei to tip it over the bar. Then it was Kendall Waston’s turn, as his header from a Morales free kick was caught by Frei, denying another chance to even the match. Still inside 20 minutes, Kekuta Manneh had a chance from a tight angle with his shot skimming the crossbar and then moments later he set up Morales outside the box, with this attempt missing to the left of the net. After being kept quiet for the majority of the half, Octavio Rivero had his first attempt on goal blocked. The missed chances would prove to be costly as the 'Caps gave up another goal to Chad Barrett in the 38th minute and it was in a similar fashion to the opener. This time it was Marco Pappa who would provide the service into the left channel of the box and Barrett would take a first time shot to the far post to double Seattle’s lead. Within the first five minutes after the break the Whitecaps had a chance to pull one back when Manneh sent in a cross to the far post and found Rivero, but his header was easily caught by Frei. The remainder of the second half saw a number chances by the 'Caps either missed or blocked with the best chance coming from second half sub Darwin Jones for the Sounders late on. It was a frustrating game for the Whitecaps, especially for the attackers who were unable to find any space in the final third. Even when they got around the box the Seattle defenders negated chances by closing down quickly and blocking shots. Defensively, the Whitecaps backline fell asleep a couple times and allowed the Sounders to capitalise on their few chances in the first half. Both goals saw the Sounder midfielders place the ball in a perfect spot allowing Barrett to make the most of his opportunities. With the loss the Whitecaps have dropped from the top of the Western Conference into second, and are now only a point ahead of the Sounders with their rivals having played two less matches. However, before they get a chance to bounce back in MLS action and try to climb back to the top, Vancouver will travel to face FC Edmonton in the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup semi-final on Wednesday, where they'll need to put in a better performance than their last two matches to have any chance of advancing. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 - 2 Seattle Sounders ATT: 21,000 (sell-out) VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert (Gershon Koffie 64); Cristian Techera (Darren Mattocks 61), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Kianz Froese 76); Octavio Rivero [substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolás Mezquida, Tim Parker, Robert Earnshaw] SEATTLE: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick; Marco Pappa (Leonardo González 90+2), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Darwin Jones 85); Clint Dempsey, Chad Barrett (Andy Rose 72) [substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Cristian Roldan, Zach Scott, Michael Azira] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On whether who scored first had the game: "Yeah I think so. They're a good team. Supporters' Shield winners, we know that, good players. First goals change games. I couldn't fault the group, I really couldn't. The way that we played the first half especially. To go in two-nil down at half time was difficult to take. The first goal was probably going to be the deciding factor." On whether the body language of Vancouver's players indicated they'd given up: "I don't think that's a very fair assessment. When you're playing a very good team, and they are a very good team, the first goal changes the game. We were able to play through them in the first half. In the second half, when the dynamic of the game has changed, they have the ball, they keep the ball. They've got some very good, experienced players who know how to manage the game and slow it, and they did. "When you're chasing, it becomes hard so naturally your body language changes because you're chasing. When you're winning the game, you don't feel you're chasing because you have the ball. When you're not, unfortunately you do." On Robert Earnshaw [and why he wasn’t brought on]: “Because it wasn’t a case of we had pinned them back. It was a case of the game was still wide open and I think he’s good in and around the box. If I want to put Earnshaw on and the result would’ve finished the same, I’m sure it might have been ‘Well, why didn’t you put Darren on,’ and those decisions you have to make as a manager and a coach. I just felt it was right.” On Kendall Waston: “The front two players for Seattle are fantastic players, and they’ve got good movement. We planned all week for Clint and [Obi], Obi didn’t play and Chad came in and credit to Chad, that’s two super finishes. The second one was a fantastic finish with his left foot. But, it’s not nice when you concede any goal and we knew that would be the case. They would get the chances down that channel and we worked on it, and unfortunately we didn’t execute it… 15 chances and we were able to score none today.” On Seattle’s defending: “That’s credit to them. Whenever you lose you get back to basics and we’ll have to do that. They deserved the victory today. Even though we played well.” Thoughts on if this game is a step back: “I wouldn’t stay a step back, you’ve got to take these on the chin now and again. You’ve got to have disappointment then to have an excitement and elation. Today’s a disappointment for us. Because it is our rivals, but make no doubt about it, we know they’re a good team. Whether they’re second, third, fourth, wherever in the table, they are going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the year. We have to make sure we are. So, we just have to rebound because we’re going to lose games this year. The good teams are able to bounce back.” On the three matches lost at home and their performance at home: “We’ve lost a game of football today. It’s unfortunate we’ve lost three games at home. We’ve got to make sure we don’t lose at home. And we did today so I’ll take responsibility for that. We need to do better. Myself included.” On Russell Teibert being taken off [and was it because of Wednesday’s match]: “No. I thought he was dead on his feet. He was playing very well. He was excellent in possession of the ball. I just asked him how much energy he had and he just seemed a little bit tired compared to the levels that he had so it was just Koffie thirty minute fresh legs. That was the only reason.” On Cristian Techera being ‘out-muscled’: “If you look at the size of him, he’s not going to change overnight. He needs to think with his head and I think he got some great positions today and caused Seattle a lot of problems without the final execution. And that was throughout the team, a lot of the guys got into some good areas and we didn’t execute.” On Mauro Rosales’ recovery: “It would have been a massive risk to play him. I don’t take massive risks as you know. So he’ll probably be good to go next week. Maybe Wednesday, but we’ll see how he trains on Monday.” On Sam Adekugbe’s injury: “Sam will be a few weeks. It’s not as originally bad as first feared, which is good. That’s why he has a smile on his face, but he’ll be a few weeks.” STEVEN BEITASHOUR Thoughts on disappointing loss: “Yes, definitely, it’s disappointing especially being at home and against Cascadia rivals. We started off strong but giving that goal just deflated us, deflated the crowd, you could tell. We couldn’t rebound from it.” Thoughts on three losses at home: “It’s not a trend we want to continue. When we come home, we want to play in front of our crowd. They are so supportive, so loud and they get behind us. We have to give them something to cheer for and that early goal didn’t give them something to get on their feet for.” Thoughts on being 2-0 down at halftime and having to fight back from there: “Yes, it’s tough. They are a smart team, they are mature, they are old, they have been around the block a few times so they know how to keep the ball and make us chase and tire us out. You’re just chasing empty grass around, chasing the ball and never getting anything on it. We’re down two-nothing and you have to chase. You can’t just sit back. Otherwise, they are going to waste all the time in the world. It’s one of those things, it’s a tough situation to be in. We would like to not go down in the first place so we don’t have to worry about that but sometimes things happen and they get lucky breaks where they get one half-chance and one goal and we’re going to have to do a better job coming back.” On Sounders' strengths: ”They’ve been there. They are a veteran team. They’ve got good players in every spot from goalkeeper to their forwards. They were Supporters’ Shield winners last season for a reason. They got their squad back. We started off strong. I think we had it but to give up a too easy of a goal is deflating so we can’t do that. We have to be smarter and sharper at home and even on the road. We can’t do that again.” On avoiding complacency and continuing to work: “We know we’ve got a good team but we want to get to a great team. In order to get there, we have to get the stuff out. So we can’t come in thinking we know this is going to be easy. We know it’s going to be tough. We have to continue to work and improve. We have to see those two goals as perfect examples on not being complacent and letting something like that easy go in.” DAVID OUSTED Thoughts on the match: “It was very disappointing. I thought other than maybe the first 30 minutes, they were the better team. We lacked a little bit of fire and unfortunately they deserved to win today.” On what he could have done better on the two Sounders goals: “I just saw it again and my first step will always be forward to see if I can get there. In that situation, my decision is that I can’t get there – if I get to him in a 50-50 ball and I have to clip him then I’m off. I looked at it again and I stand by my decision. I’ll go look at it again and see if I can learn something but all in all, it’s a split-second decision and I don’t think I could have done anything differently. The second one, I’m a little bit more inclined to say that on a good day, I get there. He gets in behind and takes it first time. A good volley into the side-netting but I think, looking at my position there, I’m more inclined to say that that’s a save from me on a good day.” On lessons learned from Sounders defence: “I think we need to put a bit more tempo to it. Like you say, they are a very experienced team and they did really well slowing the game down, keeping the ball and whenever the ball went out, they took their time as they are supposed to do. Whenever we get on the ball, I think we need to try to speed it up. Speedier passes going forward. It’s harder for the guys though I saw they did really well closing them down. Whenever we got in their box they had a lot of people in there around the ball.” On defending Chad Barrett: “We knew that their two front guys was going to do that. Whether it was Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey or Martins and Barrett, we knew that one of them was going in behind. So it wasn’t a surprise. Unfortunately, he got in twice and finished it twice. We’ll take a look at that and become better in those situations.” On performance at home so far in the season: “I feel like we’re trying to make this our fortress. We’re trying to make this a tough place to play. We haven’t found that consistency at home. We really want to put on a performance and put on a show for the fans. We need to find that balance and we need to look at how we can get better.” SEATTLE SOUNDERS SIGI SCHMID Thoughts on the match: “We are pleased. We are pleased with the result. I thought the team played very well tactically. We learned from last week as well and put those lessons into effect. I thought we did a good job of shutting down the balls over the top. I thought we shut down Rivero fairly well and I thought we had Morales in check for most of the game also. We had some timely finishing from Chad.” On Chad Barrett: “Chad’s a forward, he’s scored goals in this league before. He is part of our team, he is a good player and scored goals for us last year. We talked about it, I said ‘hey here’s your chance, you’ve got to make use of your opportunity, concentrate, focus on the game.’ I tried to keep him in between the two centre backs and look for those little gaps when they popped up and he finished both his chances really well.” On Brad Evans: “I thought Brad was good. I thought the whole defence was good. Tyrone Mears has been solid on the outside. He’s got a tough day with guarding Manneh and I thought he did a good job with him. Remick did well and Ozzie [Alonso] sitting in that gap in front of them makes us a much more solid team defensively. I know we gave away more shots, but so many of their shots were from distance, they were not very troublesome. It’s good for the stats but they weren’t dangerous.” On frustrating Whitecaps on defence: “We talked about dropping our line. We talked about establishing our line of confrontation a bit further back. We know they like to get the ball to Morales and stretch the team by having Manneh and Techera run behind the defence. We want to take that space away from them and I thought we did that very well.” On Darwin Jones’ first appearance: “He did well. We thought at the very end that his speed could present a problem. He had a good opportunity there on goal. If he hits it a little more far post maybe he sneaks it past him. For his first experience, I’m sure he was a bit nervous but we felt it was the right time to bring him in.” On whether this was a statement win for Seattle: “It’s early in the season but we wanted to let people know that we are still here. We haven’t disappeared. I know Dallas and Vancouver have been on top of the table pretty much from the beginning of the season. But we wanted to let people know the road still goes through Seattle.” On Chad Marshall: “Chad certainly helped us. He solidifies our backline. His defending is an important part of our team. More than anything we asked Chad to change his game. Chad was never a guy who wanted to play possession. I thought he did a great job at it today. He is getting more and more comfortable. He is a good passer of the ball. Sometimes he doesn’t want it but he is a good passer. Obviously his leadership, his ability to win headers, the one block that he made. I forgot who dribbled across and he came sliding out to block that shot, that was a big play.” On getting a clean sheet: “It meant a lot. Three out of our back four are new guys. Remick didn’t play that much last year. Tyrone’s a new guy, we shifted Brad Evans position and I think those guys are really starting to gel and understand each other.” On Obafemi Martins' injury: “We’ll see. We are hoping he will be able to train next week and we will make a decision as we come into the weekend.” STEFAN FREI Thoughts on the game: “Great. This was probably our best performance overall just because we were very efficient and in control offensively and defensively. So at all times our possession was on spot. The way we took care of our chances was clinical. It was a pleasure to watch it from the back and at no point was there panic from any of us and that is against a really good team. They like to go a million miles an hour and they usually have that energy to do that for 90 minutes, but when you see some of their guys being dead tired at the end of the game, that means great possession against a team that usually runs you into the ground.” On Barrett scoring two goals: “Clinical. Sometimes it might be tough when you’re on the bench and not seeing the field too much. I think we all believe we are one big unit. And we all have to keep working hard in training and make sure we are ready when we are called upon. He took his chances well today and we needed it.” BRAD EVANS On position change and playing in the back: “With that position you kind of look back at games as a learning experience. San Jose was a big one where maybe I got too complacent. Last week I think I got a little too complacent as well. I watched some tape this week. We said there is no pressure on the ball, let’s trap and we absorbed pressure better like that and play out the back. They are all learning experiences and I am trying not to get ahead of myself.” On two goals by Barrett: “It’s awesome. It’s so important and that’s about building a deep team. As we step into Champions League and Open Cup this year, it is what we need to capture multiple trophies.”
  13. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): For the second straight match Vancouver Whitecaps started slow and this time it cost them as they drew FC Edmonton 1-1 in the first leg of their Voyageurs Cup semi-final. While Gershon Koffie’s late goal was able to salvage a tie for the MLS side, it was his mistake in the opening minutes that gave the Eddies the vital away goal from Tomi Ameobi. Koffie’s error came in the fourth minute when he was pressured by Ritchie Jones forcing him to turn into Ameobi. The striker took the ball away and walked into the box easily scoring past a helpless Paolo Tornaghi. The remainder of the first half saw the visitors sit back and absorb any little pressure the Caps were able to mount. Of the five attempts on goal, none tested the keeper, with three of them getting blocked and two of them missing by a wide margin. It took four minutes into the second half for Vancouver to get one on target with Matt Van Oekel gathering a up a shot from Erik Hurtado. The 'Caps striker had another glorious chance in the 66th when Mattocks was able head the ball into Hurtado’s path but his wild first time attempt missed to the right of the goal. With 15 minutes to go, Ameobi had a couple of chances to get Edmonton a second away goal but both attempts were sent wide. The Caps were finally able to rescue a draw with three minutes to go, as Gershon Koffie made up for his early flub. He took the cross from Jordan Harvey, cut back to his left and poked the ball past Van Oekel for the equaliser. In added time, the Caps almost grabbed the lead when second half sub Robert Earnshaw found himself free on the right side of the goal, but there was little room due to the tight angle and he sent the ball into the side netting. The Whitecaps will now go up north to take on FC Edmonton in the second leg with the hope to advance to Voyageur Cup final. However before that they will host their Cascadian rivals Seattle Sounders on Saturday at BC Place in a crucial Western Conference matchup. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 1 FC Edmonton ATT: 15,283 VANCOUVER: Paolo Tornaghi; Ethan Sampson, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, Sam Adekugbe (Jordan Harvey 4); Gershon Koffie, Deybi Flores (Kekuta Manneh 74), Kianz Froese, Nicolas Mezquida (Robert Earnshaw 61), Erik Hurtado; Darren Mattocks [substitutes not used: Marco Carducci, Ben McKendry, Russell Teibert, Caleb Clarke] EDMONTON: Matt Van Oekel, Eddie Edward, Mallan Roberts, Kareem Moses, Johann Smith, Sainey Nyassi (Michael Nonni 88), Ritchie Jones, Christian Raudales, Daryl Fordyce (Tomas Granitto 80), Lance Laing, Tomi Ameobi [substitutes not used: John Sits, Allan Zebie, Sadi Jalali, Hanson Boakai, Chad Burt] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: “I’m delighted we got the goal in the end. I thought we deserved it the way we played. There was a lot of good performances, there were others that were okay. I’ve asked them individually to look at it and we’ll look at it collectively but as I said I think we deserved something out of that game.” Thoughts on an error leading to the goal: “I spoke to my coaches at halftime. I want us to play. I want us to be a team that tries to pass the ball and play and because I want to do that [but] we will make mistakes. I likened it a little bit to Steven Gerrard giving the ball away against Chelsea and they lost the Premier League. Gershon gives the ball away in a cup competition in the first few minutes of the game, they catch us and they score. Would you tell Steven Gerrard to do the things that he shouldn’t do? Nah. So I’m not telling Koffie to do that. I’ll take responsibility for that cause I want them to play. I think we grew into the game and obviously they answered in the end.” Thoughts on players being nervous: “Yeah maybe. They shouldn’t be but I think for some it was. Got to get used to it. In front of our fans, we play in front of 20,000 every week. We go to Portland, we go to Seattle on the road, so you got to get used to it. We will. We're in the big boy world now." Thoughts on players being unfamiliar with each other: “Maybe in games they haven’t played enough minutes together, but they train together and I think as the game grew they got stronger and more confident with each other. They played some decent stuff at times. That’s the encouragement I’m going to take away. Even if we have won or lost this game, the tie is not over. We got a game next Wednesday, but a game we will be ready for.” Thoughts on injuries affecting next game: “Yeah I wanted to come out of the game without any injuries, which is why I rested some of the guys, but obviously that didn’t work. My fault for that one. Sam isn’t looking great if I’m honest. He will be re-assessed by the doctor. He landed awkwardly so I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one. Deybi Flores – it’s just the bum cheek so that’s not too bad.” Thoughts on Jordan playing so many minutes lately: “Yeah I’m lucky he is a fit boy aren’t I? I didn’t want to use him today. I wanted him rested but we got him. He was very composed when he came on as I expect form a senior player. He managed the game very well, managed his performance very well as well and set the standard as well.” What was said at halftime? “I just said to them to be confident. The game panned out exactly as I thought it would. Unfortunately I didn’t think about giving them a goal after two or three minutes. The way they played was exactly how I thought. I thought they slowed the game down. I give Colin credit. His team managed the game very well which is why I said to him at the end in the 46th, 49th minute, in the 55th minutes – your players are going down. It’s not why we pay to watch football. The ball wasn’t in play enough.” Thoughts on Paolo’s game: “It was quiet for Paolo today. Conceding after a couple of minutes is probably not nice for him, but he was good. “ Thoughts on playing more senior players in the return leg: “Maybe. We’ve got a big game on the weekend which obviously our focus turns to now. We’ll try and win that game against Seattle cause it’s a massive game for the club, it’s a massive game for the group in there. We’ll put this game to bed now and we’ll deal with Saturday and we’ll get back to work on this game on Sunday or Monday." ROBERT EARNSHAW Thoughts on the match: “I think it was a difficult game. I think there’s a lot of things we can work on. I think for at least half the game we struggled to make a difference. We struggled with the competitiveness. I think they wanted the game more than us in the first half and this is crucial because that’s when they got the goal. I think second half we were much better. We slowed the game down ourselves but passed the ball quicker. This was key because once you start moving the ball – the ball is quicker than everybody else on the pitch. So once we start moving the ball, trying to create angles and make space, that’s when we got our spaces.” Thoughts on Edmonton slowing down the play in the second half: “Credit to them. They tried to be clever. They played the game, they played within the rules and the sportsmanship was obviously difficult but this is the cleverness of the details of football. Sometimes when you can understand the game and see what’s going on, you have to slow it down. They were clever. Credit to them. Obviously they made it difficult for us.” Thoughts on his missed scoring opportunity: “I think I would probably have taken the touch inside. I think that would have opened the goal up a little bit more. It was a very tight angle and I just tried to hit the roof of the net. I just thought in that split second that going across the goal would have been too tight. The bigger angle was to go high, so I just sliced the ball a little bit. These chances will come and I’m sure if I have another one I’ll put it in. These things happen, but the key thing is we created the chance. I almost got it just before that as well. I’ll take this chance – that’s what we are all about. We are happy that we make the chances.” GERSHON KOFFIE Thoughts on the match: “I think we came out to win this game. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way, but we didn’t lose. We’ll take the positives out of this game.” Thoughts on you having to make up for the mistake: “Mistakes are part of the game. Mistakes happen here and there. Thanks to my teammates, they helped to fight back.” Thoughts on the comeback from a goal down: “We ended up 1-1, but we train tomorrow and do our corrections and we train what to do. It’s all about us and what we do next weekend. The focus is on this weekend’s game and then we focus on the next game, which is on Wednesday.” Thoughts on younger players being nervous: “I think for some of the guys it’s not their first game, but it’s their first game starting. I wouldn’t say there is so much nerves but really the first 15 to 20 minutes they have to be nervous about the game but they are strong, and their mentality is strong to come back.” Thoughts on being captain “It’s great. The group of boys inside are fantastic guys. To be their leader is something that is blessed. I love to be with them and I love to lead them.” FC EDMONTON COLIN MILLER Thoughts on the match “I’ve got to say that I am extremely proud as head coach of FC Edmonton tonight. And on behalf of our owner Tom Fath in the corner there, very proud of the players. You know we have just arrived from New York on Monday late in the afternoon, played in 87 degrees, little bit warmer than it has been in Edmonton as you guys saw last Wednesday. To put an effort in like that tonight I think is fantastic, absolutely fantastic. We wanted to keep the tie tight, score an away goal which we did and I thought for a spell in the first half almost gave the impetus back to the Whitecaps sometimes because we gave the ball away too easy in the wrong areas. That gives the crowd a lift because it gives the Whitecaps a lift. But the heart, the determination, the character was everything the Eddies stand for. I am very proud of everyone in the club and everyone back home is very proud of the team as well. So it’s been a really good evening and as soon as I saw the six minutes go up, I thought bad words because we saw that six minutes go up in Montreal and the same referee gave a penalty, a very dodgy penalty. The guys weathered the storm as you would imagine it is a very very talented Whitecaps group. Whoever plays for the ‘Caps has got real quality and I am sure they are the envy of the MLS with the talent that they have at their disposal. Carl’s done a great job with the group here. So all in all absolutely ecstatic about the attitude, individual performances, there were some fantastic performances. Very proud of our team tonight.” Thoughts on upcoming game and if players will be rested: “Absolutely no rest at all, what do you think this is a country club? No, we will assess the guys obviously. We get up tomorrow, travel back to Edmonton, more of a recovery day on Friday and then we will assess it on Saturday, if there’s some knocks, some pains or whatever which is understandable. We’ve got a very difficult game on Sunday against San Antonio who won the Soccer Bowl last season. So we will have to regroup, program the thoughts to as much recovery as we can and then get ready for a real battle. We are good at home. We are unbeaten in 11 games at home so we’ve got a lot to look forward too. The incentive is there for the guys to play well on Sunday so it gives everyone a lift because I was so disappointed in giving away four goals. It was the first time in almost three seasons that our club has given away four goals on Sunday. The manner that we gave them was very poor. But we finished a stronger team against the Cosmos. We’ve had a lot of games, a lot of travelling recently and it doesn’t get any easier. As an ex-professional myself I wanted to play in games rather than train so for some it’s been great but for the guys doing the running out there it’s not been fun.” Thoughts on Whitecaps losing two players and if that changes things tactically: “No, not at all, because as I have said earlier it is what the Eddies do. It’s what we do and we play well at home. We play very well at home and we play dangerous, we’ve got real good pace. It doesn’t matter. We won’t change. We haven’t changed for any team that has come into Edmonton. The same culture, the same desire and passion that’s a demand of every training session with our team and anything below that would be disappointing. We know we will have to be at our very best again on Wednesday and it’s a very talented Vancouver Whitecaps team. Regardless who puts on a Whitecaps jersey has quality. Once again we will have to be on our best and hope the Whitecaps have an off day. I’m not under any illusions, not getting carried away. It was a solid away performance in the cup against a very talented team with lots of pace. I thought we more than matched them with the passion and the desire and the way we organized the team.” Thoughts on goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel: “Yeah, he was poor on Sunday and I told him. It’s not anything he hasn’t heard before. I gave him the belt on Monday when we arrived in Vancouver because it was disappointing by his standards. But tonight he has answered the bell and that’s why we brought him to the club, to put in performances like that. He made two very good saves to keep us in the tie. In all honesty the guys were heavy legged at that point. Rob Earnshaw broke through against Kareem Moses. I worked with Earnie when I was at Derby County in the English Premier League so he’s normally deadly from there so thank goodness he managed to miss the chance. But big Matt was excellent. He came up big when he needed to and that’s what he is paid for. He’s paid to make those saves at that time.” TOMI AMEOBI Thoughts on the draw: “I think we probably deserved to get a little more out of the game. They were pushing in the second half, and obviously going down to 10 men kind of killed us a bit. They managed to get the goal when we had our man off.” Eddies performance after Sunday’s loss at New York Cosmos: “I think with our work ethic and the attitude, the boys put in a great shift tonight. We just need to make sure we do that game in and game out, not just when big games like this arise.” What they expect in the second leg next week: “They’ll be coming out all guns blazing, I’m guessing. But we know that we ourselves are not just going to sit back and try and hold on. We know how strong we are at home, especially in the second half.” "We’re definitely going to go and try and get a goal or two to try and kill the tie off. But we’re going to have to be ready because it will be a very strong Whitecaps team coming next Wednesday.”
  14. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): A dream start for Vancouver Whitecaps turned into a nightmare as they played a man down for the second half and dropped a 2-1 result to D.C. United. A second half strike by Chris Rolfe would be the winner after a first half goal by Bobby Boswell for United cancelled out Pedro Morales' effort for the Caps. It didn’t take long for the Caps to open the scoring when Morales scored his first of the season in the second minute of the match. After taking a touch to control the cross made by Octavio Rivero, the captain found himself with acres of space as he simply lobbed the ball over Andrew Dykstra. Unfortunately for Vancouver the advantage only lasted seven minutes as Bobby Boswell would convert a cross to draw the visitors even. The defender had remained up the pitch after a failed set piece when Michael Farfan sent a cross just outside the six yard area and Boswell was able to shake off Sam Adekugbe to head the ball inside the post. Both teams had a couple more chances during the first half but the game turned in the 42nd minute when Matias Laba was sent off for receiving his second yellow of the match. After getting his first in the 34th minute for a handball, Laba made contact with a charging Fabian Espindola ending his night. The first ten minutes of the second half saw D.C. take advantage of the extra man but their chances were thwarted by David Ousted. Within a minute the keeper was able to direct a shot by Espindola wide of the post and then made a better one off Rolfe as he stretched to stop the ball heading into the top corner of the net. They were finally able to take advantage in the 64th minute when Rolfe scored his second in as many matches. He made the initial run and attempted to find Espindola inside the box but when Steven Beitashour made a diving tackle, the ball found its way to Rolfe who made no mistake to give the lead to the visitors. The Whitecaps carried the majority of play after going down a goal but were unable to get any real chances. In fact the Caps were only able to muster one shot attempt on Travis Worra who came on as a second half sub making his MLS debut. The Whitecaps will leave the confines of B.C. Place as they take to the road and visit Cascadian rivals Portland Timbers in their second meeting of the season. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 2 D.C. United ATTENDANCE: 21,000 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe; Russell Teibert (Kekuta Manneh 70), Matías Laba, Mauro Rosales (Christian Techera 76), Pedro Morales, Darren Mattocks (Gershon Koffie 46); Octavio Rivero [substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Harvey, Nicolas Mezquida, Robert Earnshaw] D.C. Andrew Dykstra (Travis Worra 58), Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Kofi Opare, Chris Korb; Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Michael Farfan, Chris Pontius (Conor Doyle 90); Fabian Espindola, Chris Rolfe (Luis Silva 76) [substitutes not used:Jared Jeffrey, Jairo Arrieta] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: “Disappointed with the result, I think with chances we had we could have, should have, maybe got something out of the game. Sometimes you don’t get things you deserve. And I think that’s what we got today.” Did Matías Laba sending off affect game?: “Yes, it did. The couple of minutes prior to the halftime we just gave ourselves a few more minutes. We wanted to be solid in the second half. I think we were. And able to counter them at certain times. And I think we did. Football’s fine lines. Rosales hits the post and it goes in and it’s a different game. I asked them to create chances and be solid at the back and they were. You know you’re going to give up chances when you’re playing against 11 men and we did. David pulled off some good saves but as I said, it wasn’t our day.” On the multiple cautions: “There’s things we can do about certain yellow cards. There’s other things I can’t do about certain yellow cards, unfortunately. I’ll talk to them in there, because we keep racking them up. And that’s not what I want, and that’s not what the players want. Pedro takes his shirt off and gets a yellow card. In the emotion of the game he’s delighted and happy and he shouldn’t do it. But he did do it. So all the yellow cards, that’s not for me to answer about.” On their performance at home versus on the road: “I think teams come here and play differently than what we do that on the road, when we go away and teams do that. There were questions on whether we could get an early goal against D.C. and we got that. But from that moment on we took our foot off the gas a little bit. We stopped showing what a good team we are, and maybe we thought we were a good team. You have to do the basics very well and credit to D.C. They’ve done the basics very well today.” On the tactics of the game: “Maybe if we didn’t create a chance or two chances, or seven or eight, then I’d certainly be a little more worried about it, but we did. We had some clear cut chances even with 10 men. Moments change games. As I said, it wasn’t our day today.” Thoughts on Cristian Techera’s debut: “Hopefully you’ll expect some more minutes from him. I think you see what he’s got. He likes to get into little pockets and areas where he can affect the final third and he did that. And hopefully he can bring some goals to the table.” On attacking subs of both Kekuta Manneh and Cristian Techera being brought on: “Might as well lose 3-1. And that’s what we did on the opening day of the season, we lost 3-1. I wanted to have a go. I firmly believed at halftime, we could go on to win the game and we would get our chances even at 1-1. And that’s what happened, unfortunately we didn’t take our chances. So yeah, it was trying to get back into the game.” On Octavio Rivero possibly pressing too much: “No, not at all. You want your players to express themselves and that’s what Octavio’s doing. I think he had a good chance in the second half. Or one or two half chances that he didn’t take. Players will be judged on goal, but what he brings to the table as well is very important. I’m proud of those guys in there in the second half. I thought with 10 men, we battled very very hard. And we had a very good performance, but we just couldn’t score.” On penalties not being rewarded and if MLS says not to call as many penalties: “I think that’s a great question. For me, I don’t know. I think you better ask someone that. A foul’s a foul. We talk about decisions in games. And yellow cards. And two yellow cards, you get a red card. Repetition of fouling. You’re supposed to get a caution. But sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Handball? Do you get a yellow card or not? I’m not sure. You’re asking the wrong guy.” On the possible foul on Octavio Rivero: “I haven’t seen it. I couldn’t see it. You get caught up in the emotion of the game. Every foul, you shout for. Ben Olsen is going the same, every foul he’s shouting for. I think you see that in the first tackle where Sam goes into Perry Kitchen. Until you see it, can’t comment. If I say it’s a blatant penalty and it’s not, I’ll look silly. If I say it’s not a penalty, and it is then, again I’ll pass judgement on that one if I can.” Thoughts on the chances taken: “We tried to. I think there’s a couple shouts blocked as well on the line and set pieces. I think we made wrong decisions. I said that to the group in there. We got a free kick in there in the last few minutes. Pedro decides to shoot from that angle, that’s difficult when we got our players forward. Wasn’t our day. Another day we’ll have to get back to work. Credit to Ben and D.C. they came here and got a result.” DAVID OUSTED Thoughts on the match: “Extremely disappointed. I think it was an opportunity that didn’t work for us today.” On performance at home this season: “Us not being consistent for 90 minutes (led to that). I think we showed in bits today the kind of soccer we play at home but if we don’t do that for 90 minutes we are going to run into results like this.” On his individual performance: “Yeah I’m happy with the saves today but still we lost as a team today. I’m disappointed at the loss. I think we could have gotten more out of it and even with 10 men at the end we could have tied it up and got a point but it wasn’t to be.” On stopping DC United’s chances in the second half: “The first one we end up losing it and D.C. United got a run on it. Their player is fast and hit it heading into the corner and I get a hand to it and tip it over. The second one Rolfe gets into a good position and with a shot like his it’s a difficult one but I got to it.” On a header chance in stoppage time: “I was really close to that. I couldn’t get all the way up and it was unfortunate but we got a big chance on the back as well on it so sometimes I’ll go up there and try and wreak havoc and today we did that but didn’t get anything out of it.” On Travis Worra’s performance: “It’s always difficult. We’re 10 men and we want to put pressure on him but they did really well today. They delivered a professional performance keeping the ball and making us run. I think the young guy did well coming in and it’s difficult coming in with a game like that. They pressure on it, so kudos to him.” On today’s outcome: “We deserved a point, especially in the second half with 10 men. The work effort we put in there, the chances there at the end, we just needed to bury one of them. But not taking anything away from D.C. United, I thought they deserved it on a professional performance today.” PEDRO MORALES Thoughts on the match: “It’s a difficult one when you have one player lost that is very important for the team in the middle, but I think we changed the attitude in the second half (to a) positive (one). On his first goal: “I think it’s a good goal but no help for the team.” On Octavio Rivero possibly getting fouled: “I don’t know, it’s difficult. In the field sometimes you look for a penalty, sometimes not, but it’s a decision for the referee.” On the referee: “I’m not talking for the referee.” D.C. UNITED BEN OLSEN Thoughts on the match: “We’re certainly happy with the three points. It’s not an easy trip to come out here and take anything away. Obviously, the red card helps. But I thought up to that point, we were in good form. I’m just happy for the guys to come out with the win.” On in-game adjustments after the Matías Laba ejection: “The tactics changed a little bit, but it’s still about moving the ball quickly and playing what’s there. That will eventually break them down and that will get you looks. We didn’t handle the ball real well in the second half. I think we should’ve dominated possession a little bit more if we had been better with our passing but I give them a lot of credit. They’re a very good team. I think Carl Robinson has done a great job with this group. Even down a man, you can tell that with their athleticism, team speed and some of their passing, they’re going to be one of the top teams in the league.” On the importance of closing out matches well: “It’s something we’ve talked about and addressed. When you get over that hurdle, it feels good. We weathered a lot of set pieces against one of the better set-piece teams in the league. I would’ve liked to do less of that, but it’s good to know that we have the ability to deal with that stuff when it comes our way.” On Fabian Espindola’s season debut: “I think he did great. For him to play the full 90 minutes, physically, is pretty impressive. He’s a very dangerous player. He didn’t get his looks on goal enough but once he gets in there and we get a rhythm with him, things will start clicking better. He’s always a danger and it was good to have him back tonight.” On Chris Rolfe’s performance: “He’s a classy player. His heart rate doesn’t get too high when he’s in front of goal. He’s pretty even keeled and a wonderful finisher. When he gets his chances, he does very well.” KOFI OPARE Thoughts on the match: “It was definitely a good match, it had good intensity. Obviously, Vancouver is first in the Western Conference so we knew it was going to be a challenge. They came out and played really well. We were able to neutralize their attack and got a couple of good goals. I thought the guys played a really good game and it’s not easy to come out here and get points but the guys managed to do that. I’m definitely proud of our performance.” On playing against Octavio Rivero: “He’s one of the strikers you rarely see in this league. He’s physical, he’s strong and he’s technical with the ball. What impressed me most about him was his movement off the ball and just knowing where to be. It definitely posed a challenge on one or more occasions. I think as a team, we did a really good job of neutralizing his effect.” On Travis Worra’s debut: “Obviously, it was Travis Worra’s first game. I think he did really well in his first MLS game. He’s been with us since the preseason and we know what kind of goalkeeper he is. Obviously, it’s hard to get minutes especially when you have Andrew Dykstra and Bill Hamid in front of you, but he’s more than capable of stepping in and getting the job done. We had confidence in him when he came in.” On playing with a short bench: “It’s our mentality coming in to every single game to be smart defensively and not to give the other team set pieces that will give them a chance to score on us. That’s ingrained in us, not just today but every day.” On the importance of closing out matches well: “Coming out here to Vancouver, we wanted to leave with at least a point. To come out with three points is definitely a great thing for us. Especially after giving up late goals in the last couple of games, it’s definitely great for our confidence to close a game out, especially against a good Vancouver team.” TRAVIS WORRA On his MLS debut: “At all times, you have to be prepared to play. All day today, I mentally prepared and watched tape. I acted like I was going to play. That’s what you have to do as a backup. When you’re called on, you can go in and make the saves and keep the ball out of the back of the net. That’s what I did and I felt confident. I felt nervous, I can’t lie, I was excited, but most importantly, I’m just happy to get the win for the team.” On the importance of his USL experience: “The games down there have already paid off. In my first game down there, I was very nervous. It’s USL, but that’s professional soccer. That’s the next level, something I dreamt of as a kid. Being able to get there was just another step forward. In three games there, I had two shutouts so I feel like I’m comfortable, at least, with this environment not. Making the step up here is another step forward but being down there definitely helped me more prepared for this.” On working with the defenders: “I think, personally, we have the best back-four in the league. We defend very well as a team. To have those guys in front of me helped me out the whole time. As soon as I ran out there in the field, Kofi Opare and Bobby Boswell both looked me in the eyes and very calmly said, ‘Relax, you will be fine.’ I think before Bobby even said that, he said ‘Congrats.’ I still had a game to play so I asked him to tell me what to do. There was a job at hand and I was there to get the job done and get three points.”
  15. REPORT: Vancouver Whitecaps' Carl Robinson served up a tactical masterclass down in Sandy, Utah on Saturday night. Gone was the usual 4-2-3-1 formation, to be replaced with what amounted to three defensive midfielders on occasions, splitting to form a diamond midfield at others. It was introduced at short notice and it worked "to a tee" as Robinson said afterwards, as the Whitecaps played out a defensive first half before controlling play in the second. A fine Darren Mattocks header ten minutes from time was the difference between the two sides, as Vancouver left Rio Tinto with three points and Salt Lake finished the game with nine men. Robinson made four changes to the team that lost to San Jose last week, with the enforced one of the suspended Pedro Morales being the most significant one. Vancouver had a lucky escape four minutes in when Pa Modou Kah completely misjudged a long ball forward allowing Alvaro Saborio to run in on goal, but the Costa Rican's wild shot flew wide right. RSL threatened again in the 16th minute when David Ousted had to get down quickly to keep out Jordan Allen's low shot from the edge of the box. Vancouver had a good spell of pressure midway through the half that kept Salt Lake penned in for a couple of minutes, but once again they failed to muster a single shot on target during the first 45 minutes. It was very much a stop-start half, with neither side able to get into any kind of groove. The second half at least had some flow to it, as Vancouver dominated possession, but without threatening the Salt Lake goal. Saborio was allowed a free header eight yards out in the 63rd for RSL, but directed it straight at Ousted and Vancouver responded with a long range Nicolas Mezquida effort that flew over and then Octavio Rivero couldn't get a good bounce and hit over as well. Recent games between the two sides have been feisty affairs and when Russell Teibert picked up a yellow card in the 5th minute, you had to think we were in for another chippy night. But it wasn't to be a dirty game. That all changed in the 76th minute when RSL sub Sebastian Saucedo saw a straight red for a horrendous tackle on 'Caps sub Mauro Rosales that left the Argentine writhing in agony on his first game back after injury, with the Salt Lake player's studs going into the top of his foot. Vancouver made their man advantage pay just four minutes later when a Sam Adekugbe pass was deflected into the path of Russell Teibert and the Canadian whipped in a perfect cross on to the head of Mattocks, who rose superbly to head what was to be the winning goal past Nick Rimando. RSL went down to nine men in the final minute of normal time when Jamison Olave picked up his second yellow of the match after tripping Mattocks. With six minutes of stoppage time RSL actually had some of their best pressure of the game, but the Caps also had a couple of chances to add to their tally. In the end Vancouver held out comfortably for their third away win of the season and their fourth clean sheet. The Whitecaps have also still only allowed one goal on the road all season. With three of their next four MLS games at home, the 'Caps will be looking to strengthen their lead at the top of the standings, before the tough summer schedule kicks in. FINAL SCORE: Real Salt Lake 0 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 20,414 sell out SALT LAKE: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran (John Stertzer 83), Jamsion Olave, Elias Vasquez, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland (Devon Sandoval 88), Luis Gil; Jordan Allen (Sebastian Saucedo 64), Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia [subs Not Used: Jeff Attinella, Aaron Maund, Abdoulie Mansally, Wellington Paeckart] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe; Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba, Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado 90), Nicolas Mezquida (Mauro Rosales 71), Russell Teibert; Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Harvey, Deybi Flores, Kekuta Manneh, Robert Earnshaw] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Overall thoughts on game: “It’s a good result for us. We come here with a game plan and made some tactical adjustments prior to the game and it worked to a T, so we’ll take the 3 points.” On Vancouver’s formation: “We just made one or two adjustments. Obviously playing two forwards was a plan we wanted to use. We know Salt Lake are a very good attacking team, and like to get their fullbacks high. We just thought that maybe we could isolate the center back to certain areas. It was 60 odd minutes. They cancelled us and we cancelled them. As the game opened up a little bit, then obviously we were lucky enough to take our chance and they didn’t take their chance.” On the overall play on the road: “My team has got character. Sometimes the performance levels aren’t what they should be, but character, heart, grit and determination was absolutely spot on in there and that gets results sometimes, and today I think it got us a result. It was fantastic individual performances. Today, and sometimes football isn’t pretty I’m afraid, and when it’s not pretty it’s important that you get something out of the game. That’s what we did today.” On using versatility to find a win: “It’s very important. Whenever you come to Salt Lake, and our records speak for themselves, we have never won here. That’s credit to Salt Lake, because they’re so good at home. We knew it was going to be a difficult game, and as I said, I tactically adjusted it and set up the game plan. But I got to give my players credit today, because we spoke about it yesterday for the first time about how we were going to play, and they took the information on board. I know they’re fantastic individuals and they’re talented players, but what I learned today is they’re smart players as well and the next stage of us continuing development. We got a long way to go. We enjoyed it today, but we will get back to work on Monday, because we got a big home game next week.” On Darren Mattocks stepping up the defensive side: “He’s worked his socks off today. Not just Darren, but every single player on my team and you’re going to have to do that, especially in places like Salt Lake. We did it today. He got his reward with a goal and as the game opened up, and obviously the referee made one or two decisions which changed the flow and the dynamic of the game. It opened up and we could have got another one or two, but the difference, we took our chances. They didn’t take their chances.” RUSSELL TEIBERT: Thoughts on the match: “Great result for us. We talk about making history and we had the opportunity to do so tonight. We took a chance playing a different formation and we adapted well and showed how intelligent our squad is and how we are willing to work in whatever formation our manager puts us in. We have never won here before so not only is it a big win tonight but it is also a big win for our club." DARREN MATTOCKS Thoughts on the match: “Great shift defensively. Third win on the road in eight games. That's amazing. We have a bunch of guys that are so talented, but we are also willing to put in the work defensively even though that's not always fun to do.” On Teibert's contribution to the winning goal: “Russell Teibert. What a hard working great player he is for us.” REAL SALT LAKE JEFF CASSAR On the officiating: “It is what it is. Sometimes, when you leave your feet like that, you leave yourself susceptible for the referee to make an impact the way he did. So there are definitely coaching points there. This game isn’t about the officiating for sure.” On what he wants to see differently from his team: “I thought we started off well. We started off aggressive, and then we maybe just took our foot off of the gas a little bit. I thought that a goal was coming, and when you’re getting that momentum you want to keep pushing and pressing for that goal. I thought we kind of maybe took our foot off of the gas a little bit. We have areas to improve on. I’m super proud of the effort from the guys tonight, but we need to improve on some things.” On Vancouver’s goal: “It was really a broken play. We were actually in good spots. They went to cross the ball and Luke [Mulholland] made a good effort to stop a penetrating ball. It goes off of his shin, down into the corner, and they get a cross. It was a bit of a broken play, maybe where we took a bit of a mental lapse. I have to go back and look at it, but we were all in good spots when the play happened, it was just that when it deflected off Luke, everything kind of went south from there.” On if he plans on appealing either red card: “We’ll have to look at it. I don’t know what to say on those right now. I want to stay positive. We had two red cards, they had none, and they could have had a few of them. But we’re not talking about them; I’m not going there. It’s just teaching points. You’re leaving it at the mercy of the referee, and that’s not always a good thing.” On why he subbed offensively at the end: “We were losing. We had to try to get as many goal scorers and size on the field that we could, and still keep speed on the field. Credit to the guys, they really kept pushing all the way to the end. I thought the subs worked out well for that fact, but we just couldn’t get it in the back of the net.” SEBASTIAN SAUCEDO On his red card: “I didn’t intentionally try to tackle him. Obviously I can’t argue about getting a red card. If it’s a red card, then it’s a red card. And I can’t argue about it or anything like that. I tried to get the ball and I tried to do it as cleanly as possible, but it led to something else. I can take the blame for getting a red card and obviously it led to their goal. It’s something that I have to overcome. It’s my first opportunity to play more minutes in a game and it just went by really quickly with the red card, so we’ll see what happens in the future.” LUKE MULHOLLAND On if he was pleased with the officiating tonight: “Pleased? No. We felt hard done by. As the home team, you know fifty-fifties usually go in favor of the home team, didn’t feel like we got that tonight. Then the first challenge that happened at the end of the first half, when a Vancouver player had on our player kind of set the tone for the game; if they can do that then we should be able to get away with the Saucedo tackle. We felt like we were hard done by. I didn’t think that both tackles were great but I think that one was worse than the other.” On helping teammate Sebastian Saucedo cope with his red card: “Yeah it’s a teaching moment, he came in here tonight and he looked really distraught. He feels like he has let the team down. But as a player we just remind him that tonight is done with. We like to see the fight in him. We know he is not a malicious player so it’s a bit unlucky. I guess he just wanted it too much. You can’t really go in like that. Like I say, he is young and inexperienced. But he will learn and grow from those decisions.” On how he felt that he played personally tonight: “I’m starting to enjoy the position alongside Kyle. Giving him the freedom to go forward and I’ll fill in for him. Otherwise, a lot of teams will not really worry about Kyle. We’re finding a balance of giving and staying. But yeah, I’m enjoying it. Kyle is great player and especially when you have Javi or Luis in front of us I don’t think that there is a better midfield three. The key in tonight’s game was to get the ball out wide to Tony or Jordan. We have to do that quickly. It felt like they were going to be the ones to win the game for us, players like Phillips. They were creating better chances for us.” TONY BELTRAN On the red card suffered by Sebastian Saucedo: “It’s a tough moment for sure. In a situation like that where he is playing at home, and he’s home town kid, and he is a very talented kid. That’s soccer. There are highs and lows. I remember my first year we were playing in Kansas City, it was the 80-somehting minute, I get an own goal and we lose one to nothing. Soccer is about perspective. That is not going to be the theme of his career. He’s going to go on and be a very, very good player in MLS. So, this will be a learning opportunity for him.” On giving up a goal with only one shot on goal allowed tonight: “It was unfortunate the way it happened. We were in great defensive shape, Luke makes a great play and it just goes to their wide guy who puts in a good ball. Maybe unlucky there, we can always get better defensively. Maybe on another night we finish one of our chances. It’s early in the season. The goals will come. I have the utmost confidence in our forwards. So we’ll just ride this out and get better.” On the overall game: “Yeah I think it was tough, I’ve seen a lot of weird nights. But that happens. But the game was very stop-and-start. There were a lot of ticky-tacky fouls that the ref was calling. There really wasn’t a flow. It’s a shame because sometimes it takes away from the spectacle and it makes it hard for teams to get into a rhythm and I think that that played into Vancouver’s advantage tonight.”
  16. REPORT: Seven games in to the new MLS season and do we really know just what sort of team Vancouver Whitecaps are this year? We've seen the good, the really good, the bad and the ugly so far, with the latter being served up in San Jose on Saturday evening as the 'Caps went down 1-0 to a 75th minute Sanna Nyassi goal. Neither team really deserved anything from the match. Chances were at a premium, while a lot of the postgame analysis will focus on how the team leading MLS in not just the standings, but also in shot and shots on target, couldn't muster up one single shot on goal during the entire match. The did manage to rack up the cards though, six in total, with five yellows and a late red card to captain Pedro Morales. It basically summed up a dreadful trip to California. Carl Robinson had promised there would be changes for his tired players and the Whitecaps made four changes to the starting line-up from the midweek draw with Columbus. After coming on as a 14th minute sub against the Crew, Pa Modou Kah came in for basically his third game in eight days, while Jordan Harvey returned to the starting line-up at left-back for the first time since the season opener. In the midfield, the young Honduran Deybi Flores came in for his first MLS start in the DM role, while Darren Mattocks made the move to the right wing and Kekuta Manneh returned to the left. The first half had a kind of school playground feel to it, as both teams seemed spend a lot of energy simply running around but without creating any clear cut chances or generating any shots on target. The referee in the meantime was busy dishing out yellow cards, showing four in total before half time, three of them to Whitecaps. And he was nowhere near finished. Mattocks got the first, just three minutes in, and he also booked San Jose keeper David Bingham in the 11th minute for a deliberate handball outside of the box. That should have been a red in our mind as Bingham clearly knew where he was and knocked the ball away from Octavio Rivero. Adam Jahn did have the ball in the net for San Jose in the 8th minute but was flagged offside. For Vancouver, Kekuta Manneh had a nice run to make room for himself but finished it off with a dreadful shot, while the lethal Rivero wasn't given a sniff. It was a dreadful half and no surprise when both teams went in at 0-0. The second half started livelier, which would have been hard, and Chris Wondolowski flashed a shot wide left two minutes in, as the home side took the game to the Whitecaps. But then the action died again, or I may have fallen asleep, although the way that time felt like it stood still, I may have been transported to another dimension. Hopefully one that had games with some excitement there. Jahn had a low shot for the Quakes just past the hour mark before Manneh nearly lit up the game with some fantastic footwork in the box as he weaved through the San Jose defence. But not for the first time, the Gambian took too many touches and didn't get off a shot. It's something he seriously needs to work on in his game. San Jose had what was the best chance of the game so far in the 69th minute when Clarence Goodson stuck out a leg and saw his effort fly narrowly right. The game finally came to life in the 75th minute after a spell of pressure from San Jose. The Quakes had a couple of chances blocked by the Whitecaps defence before the ball finally broke to a free Sanna Nyassi, the 'Caps first pick in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft before being immediately traded, and the Gambian made no mistake in burying high into the net, giving David Ousted no chance. Fair to say it was a bad day at the office for the Whitecaps, and it was a day that was still to get even worse as 'Caps captain Pedro Morales was sent off along with the Earthquakes Jahn in the 88th minute. Jahn was on the deck after a tackle from Whitecaps sub Russell Teibert. With the ball between his legs, Morales tried to kick the ball out, leading to the Quakes player kicking out at the Chilean's shinpad. It was a bizarre incident that didn't really seem to merit a red card for either player, and in particular Morales, but referee Edvin Jurisevic had set the tone early and sent both players off. Just the last in a string of poor decisions he had on the night. Morales told Robinson after the match that he hadn't heard any whistle and felt the ball was there to be won. He clearly didn't aim to kick the player, while Jahn did definitely kick out. With both teams reduced to ten men, the Whitecaps never looked like grabbing a late share of the points, although sub Kianz Froese had a late effort that didn't trouble Bingham. The Whitecaps five match unbeaten run has now come to an end, but it was the flat nature of it that will be concerning Robinson the most. FINAL SCORE: San Jose Earthquakes 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 18,000 (sell-out) SAN JOSE: David Bingham, Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson, Cordell Cato, Fatai Alashe, Sanna Nyassi, Matias Perez Garcia (Tommy Thompson 80), Shea Salinas, Chris Wondolowski (J.J. Koval 64), Adam Jahn [subs Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Ty Harden, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Leandro Barrera, Mike Fucito] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Kianz Froese 80), Deybi Flores (Russell Teibert 68); Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado 72), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Nicolás Mezquida, Tim Parker] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On the overall performance (on TSN radio): "I thought we were way below the levels that I expect and the players expect. We didn't get a shot on target, we didn't have enough of the ball, we didn't pass well enough. We looked flat and this game was always a concern for me, being the third game in a week. We weren't at the races. I'll take responsibility for that, and we move on." On the standard and consistency of the refereeing (on TSN radio): "As you all know, it's very difficult for me to comment and I am unable to comment. What I can say is that I can analyze my performance and my team's performance and we didn't deserve anything from the game based on the way we played. But, I think there's another analysis that needs to be done as well because my team picked up five yellow cards. It seems to be repetitive and it's a concern of mine because I don't think it was a nasty game at all. Both managers were voicing their frustration because there were throw-ins that were given the wrong way, there was corners that were missed, there was simulation, there was bad decisions and you pick up yellow cards for innocuous challenges, but that's not for me to discuss, but I'll analyze my team, I can't analyze anything else." "Whether I agree with the yellow cards or not, or decisions or not, I could comment here and I'll be out of pocket every week because it is frustrating. When both managers agree on certain things, whether it's for your side or against your side, I think it's pretty simple. Whether we get a reputation or not, I want to get a reputation for playing fantastic football and winning. Unfortunately we didn't win, we didn't play fantastic football today and we lost." "When you get a yellow card after three minutes and 17 fouls in the first half, then I think the tone is set. Nothing surprises me in this game, unfortunately, but the beauty of this game is that there's always another game next week." On Pedro Morales' red card (on TSN radio): "I spoke to Pedro after the game. The ball is inbetween the boy's legs, as he's on the floor, the linesman is flagging, but there's no whistle heard by Pedro and he tried to kick the ball out of the boy's legs, which you're allowed to do if he's holding the ball on the floor. The boy kicked out at him afterwards, and I'm not saying that was a sending off, but if the ball's inbetween the legs of a player on the floor and no whistle is heard then I don't know what you tell your player to do." On Game (scrum): "Not a very good match to be fair. We didn’t play well. I don’t think we deserve anything from the game. We didn’t get a shot on target. You don’t get a shot on target, you don’t get to score goals. So, we’ll analyze our performance – my team’s performance – because third game in a week is always going to be difficult." On Deybi Flores' performance (scrum): "I thought he was good. I thought he showed energy. I thought he grew into the game. He was keen, he liked to get on the ball and stuff and I thought it was a really positive performance." STEVEN BEITASHOUR: On overall game: "We gotta keep the ball. We didn’t keep the ball tonight. I don’t know what it was. Might have been that three game in a week but we just gotta keep the ball, possession, open up the field and just do differently than we did tonight." KIANZ FROESE On overall game: "Obviously we are all disappointed after a match like that, but what can you say about it, right? We’re just going to put our heads down, work hard in training the next week and prepare for the next match." SAN JOSE DOMINIC KINNEAR On difference between first half and second half: "I thought we were playing pretty good. We weren’t bad, we were just a little bit disconnected at times. But I thought our energy level was definitely better. We were moving the ball quicker and therefore guys were finding little gaps in the field, which made it easier to attack. And I think at that point we were playing in their half of the field rather than our half of the field. They may have been a little fatigued as well, they’ve had a tough week and put together some good results. But I can’t speak for them, I only speak for us, and I thought we were due a goal. We were knocking on the door, we were getting in around it, our last pass was just a little bit of a pinch off. We were kind of letting them off the hook. But good for us to get the win." On no shots on goal in first half: "Sometimes we rush ourselves. We were kind of getting there, and then when we got there, we made the wrong decision. At times we could have been a little bit more unselfish. You also have to give the other team credit. They’re a good defensive team. Those two in the middle, [Pa Modou] Kah and [Kendall] Waston are tough ones. I think we had more possession in their half in the second half, therefore we were holding the ball a little bit better. One shot that was on goal went in, so that’s what I’m happy about." On performance of the defensive back four: "I thought the whole back four played well. Cordell [Cato], being an emergency left back, looked comfortable. I think everyone talked about their speed out wide before the game started. So for us to counter it with speed was a good idea, and I thought both Marvell [Wynne] and Cordell had good games. Through the middle, Victor [bernárdez] and Clarence [Goodson] have been playing good together. It’s a pretty solid partnership. And then quietly Fatai Alashe I thought had a really good game tonight. He was on and around [Pedro] Morales as much as possible and that’s what we wanted him to do. He broke up a lot of plays. To see him [goalkeeper David Bingham] facing no shots on goal is obviously a great thing for us." On Adam Jahn: "In watching Vancouver play, with Waston and Kah, they’re probably two of the more physical guys as far as defensive partnerships in the center defence. So it was important for him to take his licks today, because he had to, to be helpful for us, and I think he did that well. He’s a bit of a battering ram at times. He keeps his game simple. He provides a great service for us. I think in the second half too, he was taking more two and three-touches, rather than one or four or five, and that’s why we were having more possession in the field. Obviously at the end, he loses his head a little bit, but I thought the last couple games he’s helped us out a lot. I’d like to see him get a goal for all his hard work. He’s putting himself in good spots, but obviously it’s a bit difficult to do. But I think he’s having a good season for us so far." MATIAS PEREZ GARCIA On overall match: "We knew coming in to this match that it was going to be a test. In the first half, we weren’t sharp and running without assignment. We knew in the second half that we needed to play better and it showed. We created multiple chances and I feel that calmed us down a bit. We continued to attack, we scored the goal and that’s why we won tonight." On Earthquakes' possession: "We had more touches in the midfield. Guys found the open spaces and we were moving the ball. We need to continue playing at this level, especially after a rough loss like last week. We came out empty-handed then, but tonight the ball found the back of the net for us and we leave with three points." FATAI ALASHE On team playing through injuries: "We have a very deep team. The guys coming off the bench can start as well. Everyone is fighting for a spot to play. The players we didn’t have available tonight are good players, but we have the depth to pick up some of those pieces. We are confident either way." On clean sheet: "It was big for us. Credit to guys like [Clarence Goodson], Victor [bernardez], Marvell [Wynne] and Cordell [Cato]. David [bingham] did a great job out there communicating with the backline. The defenders were winning balls in the air; getting in on good tackles. The shutout is a credit to them, but also to the whole team collectively. We played good team defence starting from the top in Chris [Wondolowski] and Matias [Perez Garcia]. It feels good to get that first shutout. Hopefully there are many more to come." MARVELL WYNNE On returning to line-up: "When you’re not playing, you always feel that if you were out there, you’d make a difference. There was nothing in particular that I saw fault in the defensive play as of late, but I just really wanted to get back out there and play my own game and contribute." On pace of match: "It felt like we were in command of this game. We came in at halftime and the feeling amongst us was we can win this game. We knew we did not let them get any shots up to that point so we tried to keep it going. We felt our play deserved three points and we just went for it."
  17. REPORT: With all eyes on Vancouver Whitecaps after their climb to the MLS summit, the question was whether the juggernaut would continue or would a talented Columbus Crew side prove to be a banana skin. In the end, the Whitecaps showed a fighting quality that shows just why they sit top of the standings, but they were made to work very hard for a share of the points after an entertaining 2-2 draw. A goal in each half from Kei Kamara put Columbus ahead twice, with Octavio Rivero and Darren Mattocks cancelling those strikes out with one of their own. Vancouver will have been disappointed not to take all three points after some intense late pressure but they extended their unbeaten run to five matches and increased their lead at the top of the tables. Carl Robinson had signaled changes but made only two, with Diego Rodriguez coming in for a rested Pa Modou Kah and the in-form Darren Mattocks, coming in for the equally in-form Kekuta Manneh on the left wing. Columbus were missing an important piece in the suspended Federico Higuain, but they took the came to the home side early and should have taken the lead in the 9th minute when Justin Meram showed some fine footwork in the box but pulled his effort wide left. Vancouver were dealt a blow in the 15th minute when a groin pull forced Rodriguez out of the game and Kah had to come in for his second game in five days. The Crew were looking the more dangerous and their fast paced play got its reward in the 24th minute when Kamara played in Ethan Finlay, but as Kendall Waston went in for the tackle, the ball broke back to Kamara who clinically finished past David Ousted for 1-0 Crew. The goal kickstarted the Whitecaps and they leveled just seven minutes later following some quick thinking from Mattocks on a throw-in. The Jamaican took a quick throw to Rivero, who easily shook off Michael Parkhurst and poked the ball past Steve Clark. Vancouver had a couple of chances to go in with the lead at the half, but Columbus were also looking dangerous on their counterattacks and both sides had to be happy going in at the break on level terms. Columbus game out quickly again to start the second and took the lead following a rare mistake from 'Caps keeper David Ousted. Meram pounced on a weak kick from the Dane, ran into the box and squared to Kamara who showed some cool composure to sidefoot home and give the Crew the lead once more. Again the goal gave the 'Caps a kick up the ass and they went out all guns blazing for the equaliser, with Pedro Morales and Matias Laba both coming within inches of grabbing it. It was to finally come in the 64th minute when substitute Manneh got on the end of the fantastic long ball from Kah, hit the byeline, and cut the ball back to Mattocks who slotted home under Clark from eight yards out. The goal signalled a full-on attacking onslaught from Vancouver, with Mattocks having numerous chances to get the go ahead goal, but was thwarted by the post, Clark and misfiring. Columbus held strong and nearly grabbed the winner themselves when Finlay was played in by Kamara but Ousted was out quick to close him down. There was to be no way through though for either side and an entertaining affair came to an end at two apiece. Columbus will have been happy to survive the late push by the league leaders and while Vancouver will be happy with coming from behind twice, their defensive mistakes and wastefulness in front of goal are concerns. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 2 Columbus Crew ATT: 18,083 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Diego Rodriguez (Pa-Modou Kah 15), Sam Adekugbe; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert; Nicolás Mezquida (Kekuta Manneh 57), Pedro Morales, Darren Mattocks (Robert Earnshaw 90+2); Octavio Rivero [subs not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Harvey, Erik Hurtado, Deybi Flores] COLUMBUS: Steve Clark; Chris Klute, Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Héctor Jiménez (Chad Barson 70); Wil Trapp (Mohammed Saeid 45), Tony Tchani; Ethan Finlay, Ben Speas (Kristinn Steindorsson 70), Justin Meram; Kei Kamara [subs not used: Matt Lampson, Kevan George, Aaron Schoenfeld, Adam Bedell] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: “A very entertaining game for a neutral. I think we’ve had enough chances to probably win the game. We didn’t take enough of our chances. But we weren’t good enough defensively, we let two sloppy go in. We got countered, and the second goal obviously, it was a bad goal for us to concede.” Thoughts on Darren Mattocks: “He was very good. He got his goal, he could have maybe had one or two more. But I can’t fault my players in there today because, we were exciting to watch attacking wise but we just have to tidy up a few things on the defensive side of it.” Updates on the injuries to Rodriguez and Waston: “I’m carrying five centre backs for a reason, and I might have lost two in one game. Diego has a slight twinge in his groin, obviously to what extent I don’t know and Kendall fell very badly. I think everyone was clear to see he got undercut and fell awkwardly, which made me angry, as you can see.” Thoughts on Kekuta Manneh subbing on in the second half: “He was excellent when he came on and you know, ideally, in an ideal world I want to play Kekuta maybe three games, 90 minutes in a week. But the boy is 20, he’s got massive potential and I just thought the game would be very tight in the first hour and I was probably correct with that. Obviously I didn’t envision we concede two goals, but we did. I just think it was the right time. I was obviously going to play him for half an hour and see if he could bring that spark and maybe try one in the game, but he showed me what he can bring to the table. He’s probably disappointed he didn’t get one of his shots on target as well.” Thoughts on Ousted: “We score goals as a team. We concede them as a team. So there’s no fault in any player for me. My fault. You can blame me for the second goal.” Thoughts on coming back twice: “A lot of character shown today. A lot of character. We’re young. We’re hungry. We’re energetic. But when you get down a goal at home and you’re able to bounce back and then you concede again, really against the run of play in the second half I thought. We started to come out, I challenged them at halftime to come out on the front foot. They did. But we conceded again, a bad goal, my mistake. So we responded very well. I’ll never fault the character of the group in there. Because they wanted to win and we’re disappointed we only got a point. But that shows how far we’ve come. Against a very good Columbus team, [Gregg’s] done a super job there, moulding the team in the way he wants to play. So they should be given a lot of credit as well.” Thoughts on Columbus’ attacking play: “[No, not surprised] If you watch them, and I do watch them, they like to play, they like to attack, and they’re wide open at times. We got into that match with them because we’re wide open at times, and I think that’s why I said it was an entertaining game. But not surprised at all. I think in the previous games when they played New York, New York beat them at home but they could have won on those days. So I wasn’t surprised.” Thoughts on Mattocks given the start: “I felt it was the right time to give Darren the opportunity. He’s been away with Jamaica, he scored two goals, he got very very lively in training. And the decision was correct, because he came on and put a very strong performance for 90 odd minutes. He ran out of gas in the end, which is why I tried to put [Earnshaw] on to see if we could nick a second ball off a Kendall header or something, but he should be very proud of his performance today.” On what he said to Mattocks after match: “Well done. As I say to all my players if they play well or if they play poorly. It’s another day, it’s gone. But he should be proud of his performance. He’s done everything, he scored his goal, he maybe could have had two or three on a different day but his work rate was there. His run in, his understanding of the game was there. And I thought he gave us a very good option down the left side and the right side when we flipped him over.” DARREN MATTOCKS Thoughts on the match: “It was a fantastic game. We should’ve gotten three points. In the second half, I think the guys did really well and showed great character. That’s what’s going to take this club to the next level. After five games, we’re unbeaten so we just have to keep that going.” On his individual performance: “I guess the fans took it really well so that’s a positive. It’s expected of me to score. I put so much work in defensively, something I’m not used to doing on a regular basis because I’m a striker. I think I did really good defensively, that’s what I’m going to take from this game. If I can continue to do that on both sides of the ball, creating chances for the team but working hard defensively, I think I will be in pretty good shape going forward.” On Kekuta Manneh’s contributions: “He’s a great player. Every game he plays, we know what he’s capable of doing and what he’s expected to do. He gets by defenders so easily. Fortunately for me, I was in the right place at the right time. That goal was all because of him. As soon as I scored, I told him, ‘That’s all you, kid.’ This squad is deep and we’re going to need it from him for the entire season.” RUSSELL TEIBERT Thoughts on the match: “It’s a tie. I think that shows the kind of locker room we have this year and the quality of that team that we have. We’re disappointed with a draw, whereas maybe in years past, we’d be happy coming out of here with a draw. We played well tonight but I don’t think we were up to the same standards as we played last Saturday but we still created chances and we still scored goals. There’s a lot of positives we can take out of this game but just like Saturday, today’s done. We turn the page and look forward to the weekend because we have another tough game ahead of us. We need to keep taking as many points as we can.” On the team’s mentality: “That all just stems from the winning mentality that we have. No matter how we’re playing, we’re always looking to win. Maybe even in games in the past that we didn’t played our best, we came out of here with points. You could say that against Toronto, the first 45 minutes was the best football we’ve played and we didn’t manage to get a result there but ever since that game, we’ve gotten points from every single match.” On his health: “It was just a knock on my foot, I got some ice on it right now. It doesn’t seem too serious. We’ll re-evaluate it in the morning but we just need to get some rest tonight.” On players going down due to injury: “You’ll never know what will happen in a game. People can go down with injuries anytime like Diego [Rodriguez]. You just wish and hope that nobody’s seriously injured and that everybody can do what they love and that’s just to play on the field and be healthy.” On the team’s performance: “I don’t think you can single one person out. You have 18 guys who are pushing to get on the field and anyone who comes on the field and fills a position is giving their best and giving their all. I think there were a lot of great performances tonight, both from guys coming off the bench and guys starting. All over the field, I think there were fantastic performances. Being the team that we are, I don’t think any one person will single anybody out. It’s a team game and we win, lose, and draw as a team.” COLUMBUS CREW GREGG BERHALTER Thoughts on match: “I think overall it was a positive match for us, a good performance. We had a game plan and I think by and large we executed the game plan.” Thoughts on Kamara scoring both goals tonight: “He’s a very good player and he got some good chances and finished them. When we can get him in positions like that, we know he’s going to score. Overall we’re pleased with his performance. I think he showed a lot tonight.” Thoughts on the next match against New England: “It is what it is. It’s our schedule and we have to deal with it. I think it’s obviously not the easiest, but it’s something we’re up for the challenge.” KEI KAMARA Thoughts on scoring twice: “It’s my job, it’s what I do, obviously it’s good to do it at the right time for the team and putting us in a good position. I still could’ve been better. I felt like we could’ve been a lot better today against Vancouver, they’re a good team, but you know getting two goals on the road should definitely give us three points.” On playing against Waston and Kah: “[Laughs] Trees man. It’s great, it’s a competition and I enjoy it. We’re not a team that kicks the ball forward and kicks the ball so I can really jump with them showing height with them. Physically they are strong guys and they’re really smart and as a player you really want to test yourself against some of the good players in the league. Vancouver is first place for a reason they’re doing well defensively and offensively the collectiveness of the entire team is good and I really enjoyed playing against those two guys.” BEN SPEAS Thoughts on getting a road result: “Game was back and forth. They’re dangerous, I thought we did well to hold on to get the result.” Playing at BC Place: “It’s a nice stadium, I thought it was loud. We got another one in four days so yeah just getting used to the turf.” Positives from the match: “Tough place to play, obviously the stadium, the fans, and then the team. I thought their team was very dangerous especially on the counter, they just like to go. We were able to hold them, they scored two goals but so did we. I think that was a good result and we’ll move from here.”
  18. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): They didn’t leave it as late as most have come to expect, but Vancouver Whitecaps won their fourth straight beating the defending MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy 2-0. It was Kekuta Manneh who opened the scoring with his first while Octavio Rivero collected his fourth of the season and David Ousted earned his third cleansheet. It was a dominating first half by the Whitecaps as they controlled the flow of the match and had the advantage in possession. Unfortunately they weren’t able to finish and the best opportunity came from Pedro Morales early on, who spun from his mark inside box but directed the ball right at the keeper. The second half started more promising for the Galaxy with a little more possession and an attempt from distance by Juninho. It was to be the Whitecaps who struck first in the 56th minute when Kekuta Manneh opened up his account for 2015 to give the Caps the lead. After collecting the ball, Morales made a perfect reverse pass into the path of Manneh who took on Meyer, turning him, before depositing the ball inside the near post. The sellout crowd at B.C. Place only needed to wait another ten minutes to see their team double the lead as Octavio Rivero scored his fourth goal in five MLS starts. After taking the ball from Rivero, Nicolas Mezquida made it to the byeline where he sent the ball into the six yard area. Jaime Penedo was able to get a hand on it but he sent it right to Rivero who had an easy finish from in close. Despite being up by two and seemingly in full control, the Caps continued their attack and tried to get that third. The final ten minutes saw Hurtado, Mattocks and Morales make runs down the wing and attempt to completely kill off the game but found Penedo standing tall. They didn’t need that goal as they closed out the Galaxy and ended the night at the top of the table of both the Western Conference and all of MLS. Vancouver will not have much time to enjoy this win as they return to B.C. Place for the their first midweek match against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, looking to make it five straight wins. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 0 Los Angeles Galaxy ATT: 21,000 (sell out) VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe; Russell Teibert, Matías Laba, Nicolas Mezquida (Deybi Flores 82‘), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 78‘); Octavio Rivero (Erik Hurtado 86‘) [substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey, Robert Earnshaw] LOS ANGELES: Jaime Penedo; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar González, Tommy Meyer (Alan Gordon 78‘), Todd Dunivant (Edson Buddle 64‘); Stefan Ishizaki, Juninho, Mika Väyrynen (Robbie Rogers 40‘), Baggio Husidic; Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane [substitutes not used: Brian Rowe, Dan Gargan, Rafael Garcia, Ignacio Maganto] MATCH STATS: Shots: Vancouver 18 - LA 6 Shots on Goal: Vancouver 9 - LA 1 Saves: Vancouver 1 - LA 7 Fouls: Vancouver 6 - LA 10 Offsides: Vancouver 3 - LA 1 Corners: Vancouver 1 - LA 4 REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: “We scored two goals in the second half. I thought we played very well in the first half without capitalizing on our chances created. We couldn’t hit the target. It was like shooting practice without a goal. The second half we were a little bit more clinical.” Big win for the team: “It’s one game for us. It’s important that we won because we won last week, and we probably didn’t play as well as we should have or could have. Not from the fault of any of the guys. They don’t go out there and try to perform badly, but that happens sometimes. Their levels aren’t what they should be, and I asked them for a response today. After 45 minutes and it was nil-nil, I was a little bit worried because we were playing well, but it’s about winning. We managed to get two goals against the best team. Say what you want, they are the best team. They prove it year in and year out. They have some of the best players. It was a good result for us, but it was one game. We’ll enjoy it tonight because tomorrow it’s gone. We have a big game on Wednesday.” Thoughts on stopping Keane and Zardes: “You can’t give good players space. I spoke all week about Robbie especially, how smart he is at getting into pockets. He can destroy teams on his own, and we wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. We did a lot of work with Mati and Rusty, and I thought both of them were absolutely fantastic. They were great with their tactical understanding. If you limit their space and time, and don’t allow them to get shots, we’ll have a chance to win the game.” Thoughts on Kekuta Manneh: “I told Kekuta he had done very well in the first half without hitting the target. I told him in the second half that he needed to stay positive and hit the target, and he did so it was a good performance. I think he has shown over the past couple of weeks glimpses of it, but for 70-odd minutes he was outstanding today.” Thoughts on bringing in Deybi Flores: “Warm-up players were excellent today. I think we deserve the three points. It was probably Mezquida’s best game for the club. The way he drifted. The way he found pockets of space. He set-up the second goal with a little bit of magic, and I wanted to bring a little bit of energy in that area, so I put Deybi on. He was full of energy. He could have probably had a goal or two himself, so yeah, it was promising from him.” Thoughts on team confidence: “Yeah, I think they have to feel good about themselves. As I said we put up a great performance against the best team. What we have to do since last year is be more consistent, then we become a very good team. I don’t want to be a good team one week, and a very poor team the next two or three weeks. It’s about consistency, but with young players, you don’t always have consistency. My job, and my staff’s job, is to get it more consistent than not. That’s part of our focus here, but as I said, we’ll enjoy it, but it’s just one game. It’s another game off the calendar, but we have two massive game coming up with the first game on Wednesday against a very good Columbus team.” Thoughts on Kah and Waston: “People talk about goal-scorers and finding goal-scorers, but I think the centre back position is the hardest one to find on any team. When you find a good one, or good ones, it’s important you get them on your team and get them on to your squad, and develop them. We’ve been very fortunate, obviously with bringing in Kendall mid-way through last year, and Kah coming in at the beginning of this year, replacing Andy O’Brien, another top experience player, and bringing in Diego as well. I still have Timmy Parker and Christian Dean. I’m happy with all five centre backs I have, and I’ll carry all five centre backs. You need five centre backs all season. They’ve started off very well. Diego’s missed the last two games, and he’s back in the fold on Wednesday.” Thoughts on team playing well right now: “I just challenge them. I see it on a daily basis. They are really good players. They’ve got a really talented group in here, but as I said, it’s about consistency. When you train Monday to Friday, I want them to train hard and get that winning mentality, that competitiveness between themselves. And if you do that Monday to Friday, then it’ll come out on Saturday. I see them play during the week and they are outstanding. Sometimes we’ll get it right and sometimes we won’t, as we’ve seen in the past two weeks, but it’s important when you don’t get it right, you grind out victories, but we got it right today. We played very well. We have to start believing in our good players because everyone can talk you up, but it’s about playing consistently and doing it over a period of time.” DAVID OUSTED Thoughts on tonight’s defence: “The centre backs played fantastic. They cleared almost everything today. One of your esteemed colleagues told me I didn’t have much to do today and he was right. I had an easy night because we did great defensive work.” On the early season success: “There’s definitely confidence in the locker room. There’s also knowledge that we need to be even better every time we go in. When people are going to play the Whitecaps, they are going to say, “They’re really good and we need to beat them.” So we need to be even better and we need to work even harder if we want to keep ourselves up there. It starts on Wednesday with a game at home again.” On Kekuta Manneh’s goal: “It was fantastic. He’s done it all week in training. We know he can do it. It’s fantastic to see him get what he deserves from all the hard work today.” On Octavio Rivero’s offensive output: “I’m actually not surprised. He’s been known all along as an excellent striker and he’s shown he’s working hard and he’s believing in himself and now, he’s getting his goals.” On containing the LA Galaxy offence: “They’re a really good team. Normally, they’re good at breaking teams down and it’s a testament to what we did defensively today – not just the back four but midfield and up front, getting in those right areas and getting around their dangerous players. I think we did tremendous today.” KENDALL WASTON Thoughts on the match: “It was very important for us to win today. Last game was a good game and today we were able to continue the good pace. Thank god we won. Now, this game is over, we have to think only of Columbus.” On the defensive strategy against LA Galaxy strikers Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes: “We just wanted to be close to them. They like to play between each other. The team today was very compact. We kept the ball so that gave us a second breath. That helped a lot because we had a lot of good possessions. Today we did the things that we didn’t do last game so obviously, today was a better game for us. We scored two good goals and that is very important for us.” On Kekuta Manneh’s recent play: “He’s a very important player for us. He’s a young guy that wants to reach the top level. I think he’s improving every day and he wants to get better. Today was a nice goal for him because in the last games, he got others opportunities when he couldn’t score, so today we’re very happy for him that he could score.” On getting the crowd pumped: “Sometimes we just need the people to get into it. This thing is a group thing – us players, the staff, the fans, we are together and we want to make history together, that’s why I did that.” PEDRO MORALES Thoughts on the match: “It was a very important game. The whole team played very well. It was a very good tactical performance. We had more possessions tonight than the last game. It’s important to win here in our house and now have a four-game winning streak. We have another important game on Wednesday.” On Coach Carl Robinson’s post-game message: “Coach Carl Robinson told me we needed to play defence better in the middle and that won’t be a problem for this team. I feel happy when we play like this, when we move the ball. We’ll enjoy this game and now just wait for the next game on Wednesday, and hopefully we get another win.” LA GALAXY BRUCE ARENA Talk about the result: “They were the better team all night, they outplayed us the entire match. They outcompeted us form the start and it was a big factor in the game, give them credit, they outplayed us in every aspect of the game.” What can you take from this game: “Can’t take anything good. Personally every player can look at their performance and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” The attack wasn’t really good: “We didn’t do anything well tonight, no excuses.” How much better is this Whitecaps FC team than the one you saw last year: “Who knows, you don’t know anything this early in a season. Ask me that question in August and I’d hopefully have an answer for you. Right now they have four wins in five games, that’s real positive.” What do you think of Rivero: “Good player, good player.” Slow start, is there enough time to bounce back: “We have what 30 more games, 29 more games. There’s a chance to bounce back.” A.J. DELAGARZA Thoughts on the match: “I don’t think we created many chances, the final third all the way up from me could’ve been better the entire night. We gave up two goals on a night you’re not going to win many games away from home like that.” Was their speed an issue, especially going against Manneh: “I don’t think they really used him [Manneh] too much, except on the counter attacks and you saw that’s when he got his goal. Then we went to three backs and you’re dealing with Manneh, Mattocks, and Hurtado all guys with pretty good pace coming at you, Omar and I were on three on two quite a few times.” Is there anything you can take from the game? “There’s not much you can take from this game, we just got outplayed, outworked and I think all the way around any guy won their battle tonight.” How do you rebound from tonight with Seattle coming home? “We're at home, we know what we can do there. If we can’t get points on the road we have to win every single game at home. Start with Seattle then we play Kansas City after that. These are as big games as you can have six games into the year.” GYASI ZARDES Thoughts on the match: “I could talk about myself, my teammates they were good today. I felt like was multiple times I wasn’t a threat going forward, got be a threat, got to put the defenders on their heels when I’m playing up top or out wide.” Do you think the offence isn’t clicking right now: “It’s early, a bunch of us left with our national team, our attacking forwards, it’s hard to come back and just get in the groove of it, but then again there’s no excuses we didn’t show up.” Is it about regaining a sharpness: “This week we’re going to work on our chemistry, just getting the ball moving. Usually we outplay teams, we don’t let other teams touch the ball, although tonight we let Vancouver catch a rhythm.” The team got run over a bit tonight: “Yeah this team is very fast on the counter attack, when we lost the ball they were already running away with it.” Slow start again this season: “To be honest we’re one of those teams, we have a lot of veteran players. Last year I think we even started out worse than this year. It’s a long season and we’re going to move and stride forward. I feel okay with the team coming forward.” What did Vancouver do to make it difficult: “They had a lot of numbers back. A back line of four, they didn’t really go up, their wing backs stayed tucked in it was good on their part. Their defensive midfielders who come back and helped, he didn’t push to far up the field.” ROBBIE KEANE Thoughts on the match: “We have to give them a lot of credit, they were the better team there’s no question about that, they outplayed us.” Does the chemistry need to get better: “They played better than us, it’s not about chemistry. Tonight that obviously wasn’t there but you know it wasn’t because we weren’t trying, it was the fact that they were the better team.” Is it a good wakeup call this early in the season: “It seems to happen to us a lot at the start of the season. Start off very very slow and then end up kicking on and then winning it, hopefully that will be the case again.” What did Vancouver do: “Nothing, they just played better than us, they were the better team all around. They kept the ball, they counter attacked very very well and at the end of the night they scored two goals. You just have to hold your hands up and accept we weren’t good enough tonight and they were the better team.” Is it a different Vancouver team? “Yeah completely. If you look at the squad now they have that Carl has inherited it’s his own team now. Before it wasn’t really his own team, it was from previous managers. This is 100% Carl’s team, as good a manager as he is, it was a matter of time before he had a good good team and that’s what they were tonight.”
  19. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): Vancouver Whitecaps left it to the last moments but for the third straight week they scored a late winner to defeat Cascadian rivals Portland Timbers 2-1. The victory clinching goal came from new signing Robert Earnshaw, with Nicolas Mezquida scoring his first of the season in the first half before Portland countered late on with a goal from Fanendo Adi. It was the Timbers who looked to open the scoring in the 4th minute when George Forchive had a strike from outside the box that forced Ousted into making a diving stop to turn the ball around the post for a corner. They had another chance a few minutes later from inside the box, but Kendall Waston and Pa-Modou Kah combined to make a block. But just before the quarter hour mark the Caps capitalised on a free kick, as Mezquida scored his first of the season with a 20 yard curler over the wall, that dipped quickly inside the near post past a diving Adam Kwarasey, before nestling in the bottom left corner of the net. The remainder of the first half saw the home side concede the majority of possession to the Timbers but Portland were unable to capitalise, going into the break down a goal. The second half started similar to how the first ended, as the Timbers controlled the majority of the match, but there was no clear cut opportunity until the 70th minute when Ousted came up with another fine diving stop off a rocket from Darlington Nagbe. With less than ten minutes to go it looked as though the Caps would get their insurance goal as Octavio Rivero found the ball at his feet just outside the six yard area. Unfortunately he couldn’t wriggle the ball free and strike it into goal. It looked like it was going to prove to be a costly miss, as just a minute after, the Caps would give up an equaliser and Portland were finally able to convert on their chances and domination of possession. Rodney Wallace sent a low cross in from the left side of the box which Ousted got a hand to but it was directed to the feet of Adi who made no mistake in depositing the ball into the open net from close range to tie things up. The visitors had two chances to complete the comeback in the 89th minute when first Dairon Asprilla’s header bounced off the turf and just missed the top of the net, then moments later Adi was one on one with Ousted but the keeper came up big from point blank range to keep the score level. But just when it looked like Vancouver would be satisfied with a draw, new signing Robert Earnshaw opened up his account with Caps. After working the ball around, Pedro Morales slipped the ball in between Nat Borchers and Liam Ridgewell to Earnshaw who took a touch and chipped the ball over the keeper to give his new club the three points and the Welshman another debut goal, something he's made a habit of over the years. It was agreed by most after the match that the Whitecaps didn’t deserve the win. They were thoroughly outplayed for the majority of the 90 minutes and ended up with only 34% possession, which is staggering for a home game. However, they did come up with the result and now ride a three game winning streak after their opening day loss. They will now go for four straight at B.C. Place next Saturday, when they host the defending MLS Cup champs L.A. Galaxy. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Portland Timbers ATT: 22,500 (sell out) VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe; Gershon Koffie (Deybi Flores 78), Matías Laba, Erik Hurtado (Robert Earnshaw 87), Pedro Morales, Nicolas Mezquida (Kianz Froese 52); Octavio Rivero [subs not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey, Ethen Sampson] PORTLAND: Adam Kwarasey; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, Jorge Villafana; Darlington Nagbe, Diego Chara, George Fochive (Gaston Fernandez 75), Rodney Wallace; Fanendo Adi, Maximiliano Urruti (Dairon Asprilla 65) [subs not used: Andrew Weber, Jeanderson, Taylor Peay, Norberto Paparatto, Nick Besler] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: "Today I thought we were ordinary at best but we stole a victory in the end so I’m very happy." On David Ousted’s performance: "He was excellent. He won us the game today. Obviously the substitutes coming on made a big difference as well for us but without David we would have lost the game. Maybe we deserved to lose the game but when you have a top goal keeper it’s important he keeps you in games like he did today. They were the better team. They were the better team for long stretches. We couldn’t get to grips with them. When it went to 1-1 we would have taken a draw at that point but we put Earnie (Earnshaw) to try and nick us a goal. That’s why we signed him." On being dominated in midfield: “I don’t know. That’s something we need to look at because they are a good team with good players. We can say that we had a couple players missing but it’s irrelevant. We shouldn’t be dominated like that in the midfield area. We are very strong in midfield. The game is won and lost in midfield. Every game of football is. Today we came out on top with a moment of magic. A sliding pass from Pedro and Earnie chips over the goalkeeper. I will take the points.” What was said to Earnshaw before he went on? “I said he will get one chance. I’ve known Earnie for a number of years and I’ve brought him here because he can score goals. He got 266 or 267 goals in his career and when he gets a chance and when he is in the right position he usually takes it. Obviously the pass was excellent. The slide-rule pass and obviously the calmness and coolness of the finish and the calmness in his head was outstanding. We’ll take it.” Thoughts on Morales’ game: “He has put an excellent pass through for the winning goal. I think all my players weren’t up to scratch. I think we all were probably fives and sixes out of 10 if you mark players. I think Portland players were sevens and eights. The two wide players for me were excellent today.” On his history with Earnshaw: “I’ve played obviously in Wales a number of times with him. We’ve been in the squad for eight or ten years together. Played together at Norwich for 18 months so I know what he is good at and I know what he needs a kick in the backside with sometimes but he is a great professional. He gets the job done and today he got the job done.” On Nico taking the free kick: “They both got good quality. Pedro bangs them in for fun in training and so does Nico. I think Nico was feeling confident, he had a good rhythm early in the game, and he popped that in with great technique.” On what was said to his players post-match: “We need to be better next week. We’re playing the best team in MLS next week and the best coach. We’re gonna have to be a lot better than we were today. As I said sometimes you can’t play pretty football and be brilliant and win every game of football. Today we weren’t good. We were okay at best but we won. We will take it and we’ve got a lot to learn. We’ve got to work hard next week. We need to perform better than that.” On Sam Adekugbe: “We’re lucky we’ve got one of the best medical teams in the league. It was touch and go for Sam today. He trained yesterday a little bit and managed to declare himself fit. I thought he did okay today. Like all the players he did okay. I’ve got no worries because I’ve got two fantastic left backs.” On Flores’ debut: “He showed a drive from midfield which I think some players lacked at certain times. It was a very positive 20 plus minutes for him. I think he was eager to get a goal. He was obviously delighted playing in front of the 22,000 screaming fans here. The noise was nice when the winning goal (by Earnshaw) was put in.” Did this game live up to the rivalry? “It’s a great rivalry. Portland came in and played well. It does live up. We’ll take the result and performance, but will go back to work next week. We need to improve a lot but the fans have gone home happy today.” ROBERT EARNSHAW Thoughts on his game-winning goal: “It was amazing. Even with the length of time I’ve been playing football, that feeling when the ball hits the net, oh my god, it’s the best. It’s the best. Within those two and a half seconds, in my mind it was like three minutes because I have to know what to do, when to do it and react to what he was doing. I had a few options. I had time. The best option was what happened." On his post match John Cena celebration: "I didn’t know what to do. I was so emotional. I was so happy, I kind of lost myself a little bit. That’s a credit to everybody here." On the team’s overall play: “I have to point out that, yes, I scored the winner but it’s not possible if Pedro Morales doesn’t see me, or David Ousted doesn’t make a save maybe a minute earlier, the defending, and the amount of work we put in. All of these things – that’s the game that I see out there, so credit to the whole team. It wasn’t a good performance because we can do better. We can keep the ball better, we can dictate more, there’s a lot more to come from this team. When we can do this and win in that way when we feel like there’s a lot more to come from the tank, that’s a good foundation to have.” On his conversation with Robinson before going on: “Carl was just telling me that as soon as I came on, he just felt like I was going to score. It’s a debut and I was going to score. I was thinking I just needed one chance. It’s amazing because the amount of times you see debuts happen to go your way in games especially when it’s focused on one player, what an amazing feeling. I was just hoping to get on the pitch.” On playing in front of Whitecaps fans: “That was an amazing atmosphere to play in. I’ve played in a lot of different countries, with the national team and in the Premier League, what a great atmosphere. Credit to the fans. Thank you because I was looking around and they’re singing, I thought this was really, really nice. What a great atmosphere to play in as a player to see that and to feel that energy from the fans. It goes a long way. Players appreciate it because when I got on, I got excited because of the atmosphere. When the fans are behind us, it really plays a part. Sometimes it gets underestimated that the fans play a role on how the players play. Credit to the fans today, they were brilliant, awesome, and really helped the team.” DAVID OUSTED On the overall game: "Pleased with the three points, not pleased with how we got them. There's a lot of work to be done and we're going in to a week now where we got to look at some stuff to be better." On his important saves: “I’m happy with my performance today. I gave us a chance to win it and that’s why I’m in there. I’m delighted to see Earnie [Earnshaw] get that goal. It shows what a composed player he is and he’s a great addition to our team.” On Robert Earnshaw’s game-winning goal: “Fantastic. I was thinking another week, another steal in the 90th minute. It won’t always be pretty but if we can get away with three points in these games, it’s looking good.” On young teammates [Deybi and Kianz]: “Fantastic. I think Kianz has come in a couple of times and shown how good a player he is. Comes in and takes responsibility and works a lot. Deybi I was impressed with, young guy, making runs from midfield. I thought he did really well.” On Portland’s control in the second half: “I think we lacked both composure on the ball and pressure on the ball. They did really well keeping it and playing around us but we’re a better team than what we showed today, both in the pressing and with the ball and that’s some of the things that we need to work on.” NICOLAS MEZQUIDA Thoughts on the game: “Happy. Happy for the first goal of the season. I’m happy for the three points.” On the free kick given, which led to his goal: “I’ve been training a lot. I’ve been training a lot on free kicks. The first free kick was for Pedro, and I said “Okay, the second is mine.” I’m happy for the chance for a free kick in the game and I scored as well so I’m very happy for that.” On Earnshaw’s debut goal: “When playing bad, this team is important because we have big players forward so in any moment we can score, because we have Octavio. He’s shown the last two games he can score in the last minute. The forwards are important players so we can score in any moment.” On Portland’s defence: “They are strong. They are experienced players. They have a big team and are very good players.” PORTLAND TIMBERS CALEB PORTER How did you see that last Vancouver goal develop?: “It was a counter, we dominated the game and were far and away the better team. I thought it was tough to give up the first goal that was against the run. I think they had three shots in the first half and two of them were dead balls. We played outstanding but we gave up the goal and that happens; our response was good. We pushed in the second half; I thought we dominated the ball and deserved a level goal and should’ve scored a winning goal. We had a couple of chances like the one their goalkeeper saved on Adi. If we score that we probably come away with the three points. As it turns out they come down the other end, and Earnshaw makes a good run and a good finish. "You have credit them, certainly today, for getting the three points. They defended well but I thought our guys dominated the game and played well. I don’t know how we didn’t win; I really don’t. This is the sport, and sometimes it’s cruel. I haven’t seen us dominate a game on the road like this since I’ve been here. It was probably the best game I’ve seen our team play in terms of flow and control and final third entries. We should have scored a few more goals with as much possession as we had. It is what it is. I think it’s a bit unfair for our guys; they deserved better but you’ve got to move on. We’ll get ready for next week against Dallas at home. We’ve got two games at home and have to have a short memory on this one.” Is this one of the most frustrating games you’ve been a part of?: “Yeah probably because of the way we played. I didn’t think it was fair based on how well we played, but again you have to credit Vancouver. They’ve been getting results and finding a way to win games like this by defending and countering. We knew what type of game we were going to be in and you have credit them for finding a way to get three points.” On what’s next: “Move on to the next game. Keep playing that way – it’s simple. Obviously we need to get a bit better quality in the final third because as much as we dominated we should’ve scored two, three, four goals – no doubt about it – and the few chances they had we have to do better on. First goal I thought was a soft goal.” FANENDO ADI On Urruti up top: “It’s a combination we haven’t had so much time to work on, but today we were not able to create a lot in the first half. But we were able to play and this is a step forward. I think it’s just a combination we need to work on, playing more together.” On the key to scoring goals: “It’s football. Today we can say the better team lost the game. Of course it’s all about winning. If we are not able to win we are not the better team, so that’s all we can say: they are the better team and that’s why they won.” On going up against Kah and Waston: “I’ve played a couple of times with them. I think it’s pretty much physical. I think they are the most physical to play against in the whole league. I can turn around them. So it’s just something we’ve got to look into, if he doesn’t call my fouls and he calls the same fouls against their striker, it’s just something I can’t control. What I can control is how I play my game. They played well and defended well and cut our crosses. They are good defenders.” On taking the positives: “We take a lot of positives out of it. We know Vancouver is a tough team to play against, and it’s always a fight to come in here to play them out rightly. We possessed the game, we created more chances, we did everything more than they had but unfortunately they scored two goals and we just scored one goal. We take a lot of positives things out of this game; we just need to forget about it as soon we can and focus on the next game.” NAT BORCHERS On being concerned about playing well and not getting the result: “No, I’m not. I think good teams like this are eventually going to find a way and we’re going catch our stride and we’re going to get that first win. It’s going to come soon and once we do I think it’s going to give us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the games.” On taking the positives: “This is a results business of course and we’re disappointed that we lost the game. But we do acknowledge that a lot of guys stepped up and played very well.”
  20. REPORT Vancouver Whitecaps made it back to back road wins, and clean sheets, after a hard fought battle at MLS new boys Orlando City on Saturday. The 'Caps left it very late but once again it was Uruguayan striker who came up with the goods and kept up his goal-a-game scoring record since joining MLS, to give Vancouver a 1-0 win with a fantastic twisting header six minutes into injury time. Vancouver made three changes to the team that started last week's win over Chicago. Nicolas Mezquida made the expected start in place of the injured Mauro Rosales, with his fellow Uruguayan Diego Rodriguez coming in for his first MLS start in the centre of the defence in place of Pa Modou Kah, who didn't make the trip to Florida. The other change surprisingly saw Gershon Koffie come in to the defensive midfield role at the expense of Russell Teibert, with an eye to a more physical edge to the 'Caps game. Orlando had been hit by a stomach bug and injuries in the lead up to the game, but went with pretty much the team that was expected in the build up to the match. Although it was a lively start, it was pretty much a half devoid off too many clear cut chances for the first half hour, with Orlando looking the more pressing side and Vancouver happy to look to hit on the counter. The home side were looking the more dangerous but their final ball wasn't there and were reduced to mostly long range shots and had a penalty appeal waved away. But it was to be Vancouver, and Octavio Rivero, that had two chances within a minute to open up the scoring. Pedro Morales played in Rivero in the 34th minute with a ball that split open the Orlando defence and saw the Uruguayan easily leave Aurelien Collin in his wake. But Donovan Ricketts was quickly off his line to narrow the angle for Rivero as he bore down on goal and got something on the striker's shot as it trickled towards the goal, with Rivero bafflingly not following the ball in. Moments later Ricketts appeared to tip a Rivero shot at his near post onto the bar, although the referee didn't see any touch and awarded a goal kick. Vancouver were now pressing and Morales found himself with space and time just inside the box following a Mezquida cut back, but drilled his low shot wide left. And that was it for the half. Vancouver will have been disappointed at not taking their chances, once again, but more worrying were the three yellow cards picked up by Koffie, Rivero and Adekugbe. Orlando regrouped at the half and look much more dangerous from the off, taking the game to Vancouver, who were noticeably looking far more sluggish in the heat. The home side came close to breaking the deadlock as the hour mark approached, when Pedro Ribeiro got on the end of a Kaka free kick but headed wide. Both teams were involved in a pushing and shoving match in the 65th minute after a two-footed tackle by Kekuta Manneh on Collin, that saw the Gambian pick up a yellow card, but may end up with him picking up a suspension once MLS review it later in the week. Ribeiro came within inches or curling a long range effort into the top left corner in the 71st minute, as the game suddenly became played at a much faster pace. There was bad news for Vancouver moments later when Adekugbe went down after challenging with Ricketts in the box as both went for a ball on the deck, with the young Canadian subsequently stretchered off with what looked like broken ribs. Vancouver looked like they would be happy to settle for a point but they had a chance to steal it at the death again when a spell of Whitecaps pressure saw Kendall Waston poke a cross to the back post just wide. Orlando started to push in the final minutes and had the 'Caps defence running around chasing and they dodged two bullets when first Kaka fired into the side netting and then substitute Cyle Larin fired a cutback wide right. Larin had another chance two minutes into stoppage time when he was played in beautifully by Kaka, skipped past Rodriguez and tried to round Ousted, but David Ousted produced a fantastic instinct save to knock the ball away. After surviving that late Orlando surge, Vancouver took the ball up the other end of the park and seemed content to waste away the final seconds, but a lazy challenge six minutes into stoppage time became the difference maker, as the home side gave up a last ditch free kick. With all Orlando eyes seemingly on Waston as he made his way into the box, Morales whipped the free kick into the area and it was met by Rivero, who twisted his body to fantastically head the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, giving Vancouver the win and sparking wild celebrations from the visitors. Orlando will feel hard done by but on top chances created, Vancouver deserved the win and with two late victories now secured, the Whitecaps will head into next weekend's Cascadia derby clash with the Timbers full of confidence. Still a lot of work to be done by Vancouver to make them top contenders, but I like the way it's going. FINAL SCORE: Orlando City 0 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 31,072 ORLANDO: Donovan Ricketts; Rafael Ramos, Aurelien Collin, Seb Hines, Brek Shea; Amobi Okugo, Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino, Kaka, Eric Avila; Pedro Ribeiro (Cyle Larin 72) [subs Not Used: Earl Edwards, Sean St Ledger, Luke Boden, Conor Donovan, Tony Cascio, Cyle Larin, Bryan Rochez] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Diego Rodriguez, Sam Adekugbe (Jordan Harvey 76); Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie, Nicolas Mezquida (Kianz Froese 67), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Erik Hurtado 67); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Harvey, Tim Parker, Russell Teibert, Darren Mattocks] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On the overall game: "It was a great game to watch. I enjoyed watching the game. You've got the best player in the world playing on the pitch and as a group of players and a coach you want to test yourself. My young group tested themselves today against a very, very good team. Orlando showed how good they were, especially in the second half. They pinned us in, their passing and movement was excellent." On playing against Kaka: "It helped us. We had to deal with him tactically. Our gameplan in the first half worked because they tactically adjusted his position in the second, drifting over to the left, and that's credit to my two midfield players. You're not going to stop top, top players getting the ball and when he got the ball he made things happen for them. We knew that would happen. We just had to make sure we were compact and then played our game when we had the ball. We did it excellently in the first half. In the second half it was a little bit difficult for us. You get your rewards if you put the work in and nicking it at the end is probably the best time to do it." What will he tell his team about the performance and what to build on? "I'll tell them to enjoy it, because if you don't enjoy it when you win, you get too beat up when you lose as well, and remember how good it feels. Because when I'm pushing them in training every day, it's for a reason and the reason is to get their rewards like they did today. They've got smiles on their faces. The last couple of days we've had travelling hasn't been ideal. It's been like planes, trains and automobiles and I've said to them, sometimes it's just written that you just win the game of football and today was written." On back to back clean sheets: "Very good. We can tidy up a few things. Diego stepped in and was fantastic. He put in a mature performance for a 22-year-old. As a group, we defended well and limited them to their chances. For us to limit their shot, in the first half especially, and to weather the storm in the second half, I've got players that are playing on fumes in the end. But one bit of magic. Pedro whips in a ball and Octavio manages to back head it and we'll take the points." On Rivero making it three goals in three games: "Again he was very positive and he probably missed the easier chances in the first half. He hit the bar, and you could see how frustrated he was, and also the one where tried to put it through Ricketts' legs, and it was a great save by Donovan. You've got to put yourself in those positions and goalscorers don't get frustrated when they miss chances and I think you saw that in the last minute. He's willing to put his head where it hurts and it's a nice feeling. But it's not just about Octavio, it's about all of us, all of the group in there, because the defenders are just as important as the attackers." DAVID OUSTED Did he think the Caps were going to get that winner or settle for a draw? "I've got to be honest and say I didn't think we were going to get the three points from this but what an amazing goal from Octavio. We're so happy to get away from here with three points. A really tough road game but I think we've learned from last year." On the defence being under pressure towards the end: "They're a good team and the guy they have wearing the armband there is certainly still one of the best players in the world. Credit to the guys in front. A lot of heroic tackles and a lot of hard work. I'm delighted." On his save from Cyle Larin: "Really important. A couple of minutes before we score ours. Just came out, closed him down and luckily got a hand to it. Definitely a great save at an important time." On the physicality of the match: "The physical play was what I thought it was going to be. They're fighting to show something to the home fans and we're fighting to get away with three points." On getting maximum points from two long away trips: "Fantastic. That shows the team's really matured. 14,000 km. Only thing I'm happy with is the bonus points! DIEGO RODRIGUEZ On the overall game and his MLS debut: "It was a great game. All the group were together. We fought to the final whistle and we scored and won the match. That is most important." On playing against Kaka: "It was very difficult. All the time you have to see, because he is a great player. He has a great pass but we played together and we controlled Kaka." On playing alongside Kendall Waston: "The communication was good, as it was with all the team." On whether any nerves on MLS debut: "No, no. Nerves no because the whole team was with me." ORLANDO CITY ADRIAN HEATH On the overall game and the loss: "I feel that if there was anyone who was going to win the game, it was going to be us. If I’m being perfectly honest, I think we’ve had too many ‘nearlys’ all night. It was nearly a good play. It was nearly a good cross. It was nearly a good set up. And unfortunately nearly is not going to cut it, and that’s what I’ve just explained to the guys. Nearly is not going to be enough over the course of the season." On how his team played: "We still just had too many cheap giveaways. It was incredible what people were trying to do at times, just trying to be too clever. We decided on numerous times that we wanted to over-complicate the game and that’s not going to work.I have just said to the guys we have to take a lesson from this because I’m not going to put up with it week after week. It isn’t going to continue, I am going to promise you that."
  21. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): It was a fast start to the match, especially for the home side who had a glorious chance in the 8th minute when Russell Teibert crossed the ball from the edge of the box and despite the ball being on a platter for Octavio Rivero, the Uruguayan was unable to corral the ball into the net from just four yards out in front of a gaping goal. Five minutes later, Kekuta Manneh had a chance when Morales sent him on a break but a poor touch allowed TFC defenders to gather themselves. He was able to get a shot on target but Joe Bendik stood his ground and denied the goal. TFC had their own chance when Sebastian Giovinco had the ball come to him in the box but he sent his attempt inches wide of the far post. A minute later the Caps scored the opener as Octavio Rivero redeemed his previous miss and picked up his first of the season. The goal was setup from Pa-Modou Kah who sent the ball over the backline into the path of Rivero and the young striker waited out Bendik to give Vancouver the lead. Despite Vancouver dominating the first half TFC was able to strike back as Jozy Altidore scored his first with Toronto. It was Sebastian Giovinco who was able to get away from Matias Laba and slip the ball to Altidore and the striker rounded David Ousted and slotted the ball inside the post. The Whitecaps continued their strong play in the first despite the setback, with Rivero, Manneh and Morales each having their chances to get back the lead. However, none of them were able to connect and both teams went into the half drawn at one. It was a completely different story after the break as the Caps came close in the first five minutes but conceded the rest of the half to the visitors. Just before the hour mark Robbie Findley scored his first of the season to give Toronto the lead. Benoit Cheyrou found Justin Morrow down the left side and after beating Steven Beitashour sent a ball into the box which Findley was able to get a touch on to put it past Ousted. The remainder of the second half saw the Caps attempt to create chances but there weren’t many in the making for the home team. TFC clinched the win in the 89th minute when Altidore was brought down in the box by Kah and awarded the penalty. The former Sunderland striker stepped and chipped the ball down the middle of the net to secure the three points for Toronto. Vancouver will head out east to face Chicago Fire while TFC continues their massive seven game road trip as they take on Columbus. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 3 Toronto ATT: 21000 (sell out) VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Russell Teibert (Gershon Koffie 64), Matías Laba (Erik Hurtado 83), Mauro Rosales (Darren Mattocks 65), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Diego Rodriguez, Sam Adekugbe, Nicolas Mezquida] TORONTO: Joe Bendik; Warren Creavalle, Steven Caldwell, Damien Perquis, Justin Morrow; Benoit Cheyrou, Michael Bradley, Robbie Findley (Collen Warner 77), Sebastian Giovinco (Luke Moore 80), Jonathan Osorio; Jozy Altidore [subs Not Used: Chris Konopka, Ashtone Morgan, Nick Hagglund, Jay Chapman, Eriq Zavaleta] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the second half being different from the first half: "You’re right. It certainly changed didn’t it. It was a very interesting game as I said it would be. First half I think it was really only one team in it – could have scored a couple of goals but we didn’t, scored one goal. Second half, I think they used their experience to keep the ball. They’ve got good players and we just didn’t react right in the second half." Thoughts on the team’s defence: "I thought the backline played very well. I think if you look at the number of chances, we had more chances then them. They take their chances and we don’t take out chances and that’s what the game is all about. The game is not about what you do in the middle thirds, it’s about what you do in the boxes. Good thing is you get to go back to work on Monday and we go again next week." Thoughts on the equalizer changing the game: "I don’t think so. I think even after they equalized in the first half, you know it was a good game. It was a very good game of football. It had a little bit of everything – it had goals, it had two teams taking the mode via possessions, it had a penalty, it had some good and some indifferent decisions. When they score their goal, suddenly obviously they get a spring in their steps and they play well for five or six minutes, but we had three or four chances after they scored to get the second goal but we didn’t take it. They hung in there in the first half and that’s credit to them. In the second half they then obviously took control when they got their second goal. It was a good goal. When they are 2-1 up you can see the experience they have in their team comes out." Thoughts on concerns he may have after the loss: "Nothing gives me cause for concern. We lost the first game on the season, we were outstanding in the first half and I think we were okay in the second half. Probably the way we’ve come out in the second half if anything [is a concern]. I didn’t think we passed the ball well enough, not like we’re used to passing the ball. Players are trying things too hard maybe. We’re trying to hit a killer ball when we didn’t need to do that. We got through them in the first half but in the second half they sat with two banks of four and they’ve done very well, defended very well. In the second half coming out we had no spring in our step." Thoughts on disappointing sellout crowd on opening night: "I actually enjoyed watching it the first 45 minutes. I’m probably like you in the second 45 minutes. I was pulling my little bit of hair that I’ve got out. Two halves are never the same in football. If we would have played that well in the second half we would probably be talking here with a big smile on my face and positivity and things like that but we take a defeat on the chin and we move on." Thoughts on having the players to breakdown other teams: "Yeah I think so. We’ve worked on it, and we do work on it. We know it comes down to personnel as well. We know we’ve got a fantastic personnel, young players with great transitional strengths. Obviously older players have got more guile, more experience and things like that. Credit to Toronto. They came in and sat in and when they got ahead they managed the game very well. Sometimes it’s not about what you do, it’s about what the other team do and when they went ahead they managed to see out the game." Thoughts on Pedro having an off day: "I think first half all the boys played very well. Second half, not just Pedro, but a number of players did not perform to their levels. You don’t perform to your levels and the other team does perform to their levels then you don’t get the points and the performance you want. I don’t single players out as you know. Can he do better – yes he can. Everyone can do better, including myself." OCTAVIO RIVIERO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR) On scoring in his first game: "I’m content I scored my first goal but very sad for the team for the result we got. We played very well in the first half and maybe I should’ve gotten another goal." On missing on a chance on the eighth minute: "I tried to get the ball but it just got underneath my feet. I’m still getting used to the pitch. It was disappointing we didn’t score there." On the difference between the two halfs: "The first half we played very well. It’s hard to tell what the issues are. In the first half, we got after them, in the second half, we just found it more difficult." RUSSELL TEIBERT On the tough loss: "It’s a game of taking opportunities and missing opportunities. The game is won over the course of 90 minutes. Toronto was clinical with their opportunities. We did create some chances which is a positive thing. We’ll have to continue doing that. Eventually things will go our way and it will become a different match." On what the team can take away from the match: ,br>"We can break down teams, we showed that in the first half. We can do it at will, I think we dominated the first half of the game. Those are all positive things, I think if we can do that over the course of 90 minutes, we can give ourselves a good chance." On the difference in the second half: "It’s hard to say what happened. We went away a little bit from what we’re good at, which is passing the ball, creating chances and being clinical. It is the first game and there are a lot of positives that we can take away from that match." PA-MODOU KAH On the tough loss: "In the first half, we played very well. We were moving the ball but in the second half, we forgot how to play. We didn’t do it well enough and we allowed them to play. When you allow teams to play, they will start to dominate. We let ourselves down because we didn’t finish our chances. If we did that, it would have been a different game. We let them back in the game and they finished their chances, and that’s the difference in the game." On the penalty kick call late in the match: "Nine times out of 10, maybe they will not call it, but they called it, there’s nothing you can do about it. He was leaning so much into me, I think everybody saw that but they called it. That’s the way the game is so we have to move on." On Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore: "Jozy is a good player. Besides the two goals he scored, I don’t think he put me and Kendall (Waston) in too much pressure. That’s what he’s paid for, that’s the striker’s job. He finished the two chances he had. He’s a good player and he played international for the US, I think Toronto will have a lot of fun with him." TORONTO FC GREG VANNEY Thoughts on Jozy Altidore: "He played like a monster, he showed you what he could do. He proved something today that he’s going to be a handful. And the ball he took down for the penalty kick was ridiculous. And being able to protect the ball like that was just a world class play. So I thought he was outstanding." Defining moments of the first half: "With Warren there, Warren is picking up one of his first few games. And he was looking to get advanced in some attacking positions. We needed to get organized a little bit, maybe not be so aggressive on the outside. We had to drop and give ourselves a little space, and make them play in front of us and we did." On the substitutions: "I thought Colin and Luke were both outstanding. Two guys fully capable of starting in this league. They came on the field and got into their positions. Great passing from Colin. Luke gave us a chance to get forward and get out of our defensive shape a bit, created some fouls and I thought he was excellent. It’s the depth we have and the guys we can grab off the bench to add to the game is excellent. I’m very pleased with that as well." MICHAEL BRADLEY Thoughts on last year’s opening win in Seattle compared to this year: "I thought the performance was different in a lot of regards. I thought early on here, they caused us trouble with their speed and their athleticism and their mobility. I thought, once we got a grip on that, we handled the game professionally, and pretty well. I especially thought in the second half in terms of understanding what the game was about at that point, being able to play, find little pockets, move for each other, and then defensively control situations, I thought that part was all very good. In the end for me, great way to start the season, a great road performance." Happy for Jozy Altidore scoring?: "Absolutely, nobody knows what he’s all about more than me, nobody believes in him more. He is a guy who on hard days is always going to be there, and so happy for him, but again today was more than just about him. It was 11 guys, few substitutions that stepped on the field and really understood what a difficult game was going to be like and found a way to start the season off really in a positive way. We’re mindful that that it is just one game, certainly a great way to start, but have to continue to improve, and continue to push ourselves along. In this group, we’ll do that." Did it feel good silencing the home crowd? "Yeah, for sure. Atmosphere here was great. Obviously, playing in Vancouver is always special for us and so I think in the end to come away with three points like we did, it’s a great way to start." JOZY ALTIDORE Odds stacked against you: "It’s difficult to travel, it’s not easy, but it’s the things you have to deal with when you play here we’ll get used to that but I thought we battled well and showed a lot of character and we started the season off how we wanted to with 3 points." On his overall TFC debut: "It was good it’s a new formation its new teammates for all of us so I think that transition will be difficult for everybody but I thought today we showed especially in the second half we have the quality when we set things and slow down to unlock the game." On the penalty kick: "It was my first (chip) but it’s a little bit easier when you’re up 2-1 and there is a little bit less risk, it’s good to get the win and start the season off on the right foot." [*** You can hear more quotes in the AFTN postgame podcast. Listen HERE ***]
  22. REPORT: Vancouver Whitecaps preseason was wrapped up in a gloriously sunny Portland on Saturday afternoon with an uninspiring 1-1 draw with Chicago Fire. The 'Caps had already won the Portland preseason tournament for the second straight year heading into the game and they turned in a performance that felt like there was nothing on the line, whereas a place in next week's starting line-up against Chicago should have been on everyone's minds. A first half header from Pa Modou Kah, his second in two games, looked to have won the game for Vancouver before Shahdon Winchester's low long range drive in the final seconds saw a share of the spoils. Vancouver went for another strong line-up, with Mauro Rosales and Erik Hurtado not dressing for the game having picked up knocks over the week's action. Chicago also went for a near opening day line-up, as both teams hoped to nail down some final team chemistry before the season hopefully gets underway next Saturday. The game was being played at a pretty pedestrian pace in the opening stages before Chicago's Quincy Amarikwa nearly brought the game to life in the 8th minute with a shot that forced David Ousted into a diving save. Ousted was called into action again in the 17th minute, producing an instinctive one-handed diving save to keep out a Kennedy Igboananike header off a cross. Vancouver had possession but were struggling to do anything with it, and looked to be missing the creative output of Rosales out wide. They won a corner at the half hour mark, which was eventually cleared out to Russell Teibert. The Canadian's fierce shot looked like it may fly wide but it went on a straight course to Pa Modou Kah's head and the Norwegian grabbed his second goal off the game when his header wrong-footed Fire keeper Sean Johnson. 1-0 to the Champions! The Caps now had the edge and Nicolas Mezquida got past his man in the box before drilling a shot that Johnson had to turn around his near post for another corner, which this time came to nothing. The half then played out to an uneventful end. You could say typical preseason fare, but we've seen a lot better from the Whitecaps up to this point. The second half continued to be pretty uneventful. Vancouver had the best chance early on when Octavio Rivero played a low ball across goal that just begged for Pedro Morales to put it away but the 'Caps captain made a poor effort at it. The Whitecaps made their first few changes of the match in the 62nd minute and moments later the ball fell to Chicago's Lovel Palmer in front of goal, ten yards out, from a corner but he blasted his and over. Vancouver went up the field and Octavio Rivero should have doubled their lead when he was played in by a nice Kekuta Manneh ball but the Uruguayan hit the ball straight at Johnson as he tried to lob over him and it went out for a corner. There's was a mini flare up after Manneh tackled Fire DP Shaun Maloney, Chicago's players taking umbrage at the Gambian standing over the Scot as he lay on the ground. The Caps had a couple of chances with 15 minutes remaining. First Morales tried to round the keeper and score, but was thwarted, before Rivero blasted a Sam Adekugbe cutback wildly over. With time running out and it looking like another win for Vancouver, Chicago sub Shahdon Winchester grabbed a draw for the Fire with almost the last kick of the game, drilling a low shot from the edge of the box past Ousted. So a 1-1 final and while Vancouver will be happy to have finished the tournament undefeated, it was a pretty lacklustre performance at times and not ideally what Carl Robinson would have been looking for going into the last week of preseason camp. There were a few highs in this game but overall it's been a good week for the Whitecaps. Competition for places is fierce but you would have expected some of the guys to have done more in this game to try and force their way into the reckoning. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 1 Chicago Fire VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 62); Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Gershon Koffie 62), Nicolas Mezquida (Darren Mattocks 62), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Christian Dean, Tim Parker, Diego Rodriguez, Ethen Sampson, Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Ben McKendry, Caleb Clarke, Robert Earnshaw] CHICAGO: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Gehrig, Joevin Jones; Chris Ritter (Matt Polster 72), Shaun Maloney, Matt Watson (Michael Stephens 68); Harry Shipp (Kingsley Bryce 82), Quincy Amarikwa, Kennedy Igboananike (Shahdon Winchester 68) [subs Not Used: Jon Busch, Alec Kann, Greg Cochrane, Patrick Doody, Collin Fernandez, Albert Edward] REACTION: CARL ROBINSON On the last game of preseason and the performance: "Overall I think we've had a very good week of work. Obviously conceding in the last minute is never nice. It's happened to us before and I'm sure it'll happen to us again. We looked a bit tired at the end but it was important I got some guys 90 minutes, which is why I didn't make any extra changes. I'll give them that one." "In the first half I didn't think we played as well as we could. I thought we were a little bit slow and sloppy at times. The last 15 minutes of the first half, when we played the ball correctly, we cut them open. Again we missed a couple of chances but we're creating chances so I'm not too worried about that." On losing that goal: "We were just too spread out in the last few minutes. We looked tired, especially the last 15 minutes. It happens. It was a good finish. Kendall was obviously on a yellow card and he tackled and the ball ricocheted. I don't think it was good skill, I think it was luck. It was a good goal. The boy scores goals and it was a good finish. Sometimes you have to hold your hand up." On the adventure that is a Pa Modou Kah performance: "I said we need to find goals, didn't I?! We found two from him." On whether Octavio Rivero needs more time to get up to speed: "I think most of my players won't be 100% fit and if any manager tells you that all their players are 100% fit then I think they'll be telling porkies because you need match minutes and you need competitive match minutes because as good a game as that was, or as poor a game as that was, today against a MLS team, it's not the real thing." On the game livening up after the substitutions: "Three subs come on today. Sam, Koffie and Darren and were fantastic, in their attitude but also their playing. They're knocking right on the door to start games. I've got some good decisions to make." Any concerns that the game a bit uninspiring at times with places on the line? "I think it was uninspiring for 90 minutes if I'm honest. I said to the guys at half time, it must be tough to play in because it was tough to watch. It was a fixture that seemed like it was the first preseason game. Actually it was the last preseason game, but it's been a long week for us, a long nine days. I don't hold that against anything. We'll be ready for next week without a doubt. Again, you can take the positives and say we scored, we were unbeaten but it was important that we got guys minutes and I've got some good decisions to make." On the line-up decisions now facing him: "I've got some great decisions to make and that's good, because I didn't have them last year." On whether any injury concerns lingering over Mauro Rosales: "No, no doubt, he's fine. I left it to him. I asked him if the season was to start today, would he be able to play, and he said yes, but I didn't want to take a risk as he's too important for me to lose first game." Did lack of creativity show important to team of Rosales?: "He's going to be missing in certain games this year through tiredness, through manager's decisions, through injury or suspension, so other players will get chances. Is he the type of player we need in our team? Yes. We've got Nico that can play there. We've got a number of players who can, so I'm not too worried." What's the key focus now going into the last week of preseason?: "Just tidying up a few things. There's a few areas I think we need to improve on which we were a bit slow and sloppy on today, but we'll get to work on that next week because we haven't really touched on them. Set pieces. We're a threat from set pieces now, so we'll tidy up on that. I'll just make sure that they're ready and happy going into next week's game because if my group plays when they're happy and with a smile on their face, then they're enjoyable to watch." Does he expect a strange week with CBA negotiations up in the air?: "No, week as normal. I'll see you guys Monday and we'll go from there." JORDAN HARVEY Where does he see the team at going into last week of preseason?: "Looking back at the game against Portland, not necessarily this game, but the Portland game, I thought everybody looked good, I really did. There are a few things we need to sharpen up on but other than that the intensity was there, the energy was there and I think come March 7th the energy will be there and everyone will be ready to go." Is Kah the new defensive goalscorer on the team?: "Yeah, preseason, two for two. He's getting his head on everything. Set pieces, him and Kendall should be a wrecking ball in there, so it'll be nice going forward." On what Waston and Kah will mean to his goalscoring chances: "With those two guys on set pieces, it'll open up a lot more opportunities and for me, it's also that second ball. Hopefully I can get my head on a few this season, but if those guys are going to get their head on the ball, I'm going to pick up the pieces hopefully." How strange a week will it be with all the CBA negotiations? "We're going to approach it like any other week going into a game, but yeah, we're going to have that in the back of our heads and hopefully we can come to an agreement." "All the bargaining committee members from each team will be flying in [to DC], so that's really all I can go on from that."
  23. REPORT: Vancouver and Portland served up a fiery friendly on Sunday night in their first game of the 2015 version of the Timbers annual preseason tournament. Two sending offs, eight bookings and 43 fouls later, a first half Pa Modou Kah header was what separated the teams on the scoresheet, as the Whitecaps kicked off their defence of the tournament with a 1-0 win. The Whitecaps went for a strong starting line up, and one that wouldn't look too much out of place against Toronto for First Kick, and their performance did their cause a lot of favours. Portland certainly started the livelier and looked the more dangerous side, but Vancouver had a few forays forward of their own. The Timbers had a good chance in the 16th minute when the ball broke to Alvas Powell just inside the box but the Jamaican blasted wildly over. A minute later he had a similar opportunity but with the same end result. Vancouver were coming more into the game and looking dangerous up both wings. They were also looking physical with both Kendall Waston and Pa Modou Kah putting in some crunching tackles. Portland's midfield has already been hit hard with injuries to Diego Valeri and Will Johnson, and they suffered another blow in the 26th minute when Ben Zemanski was stretchered after going to ground away from the action. Kekuta Manneh was getting the better of Powell on the left side of the pitch and he got past his man once again before whipping in a dangerous ball to the back post but there were no takers. The Whitecaps got the breakthrough their play deserved in the 31st minute when Kah rose unchallenged against his former team and powered home a perfect Mauro Rosales cross Neither side were able to carve out any real chances for the remainder of the half and the 'Caps headed in happy with a one goal advantage. The second half continued in a high pace and with some feisty tackles flying in from both sides. Clear cut chances were at a premium however, with the best of them falling to Vancouver. Manneh continued his good work from the first half and drove over the bar six minutes in, then came close again as the hour mark approached when he got on an excellent ball from Pedro Morales. The game had shown signs of boiling over and so it came to pass in the 60th minute when Rodney Wallace picked up a second yellow for kicking out at Waston. With Portland reduced to ten men, Vancouver tried to turn the screw, with the best chance falling to substitute Erik Hurtado in the 70th minute. The Whitecaps were controlling the game fairly easily but David Ousted had to act quickly to parry a fierce Dairon Asprilla rocket in the 86th minute. As the minutes ticked down there was still time for some sparks to fly. Nicolas Mezquida went flying into a challenge on Diego Chara with two minutes left on the clock. The Colombian went as if he'd been shot and rolled around like he was trying to put out a fire. Mezquida picked up a yellow for the challenge and so did Portland's captain Liam Ridgewell for mouthing off at the ref. In the confusion, the fourth official pointed out to the referee that that was Ridgewell's second booking and Portland were down to nine men for the remaining few minutes. As Vancouver took the ball to the corner flag, Maxi Urruti chopped down Manneh at the corner flag. The young Gambian was incensed at the needless challenge way after the final whistle and had to be calmed down by Kah. So a great win, in what was a fantastic game of football. May not have been pretty at times, but it's games like this, with the fight, passion and intensity, that will help grow the game in North America. Just wait till the real action starts. FINAL SCORE: Portland Timbers 0 Vancouver Whitecaps 1 PORTLAND: Adam Kwarasey; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, Jorge Villafana; Darlington Nagbe, Diego Chara, Ben Zemanski (Jack Jewsbury 25), Rodney Wallace; Gaston Fernandez (Dairon Asprilla 64), Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 72) [subs Not Used: Andrew Weber, Norberto Paparatto, Jeanderson, Danny O'Rourke, Nick Besler, George Fochive, Michael Nanchoff, Schillo Tshuma] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Pa Modou Kah (Diego Rodriguez 66), Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Gershon Koffie 76), Russell Teibert, Mauro Rosales (Erik Hurtado 58), Pedro Morales (Nicolas Mezquida 76), Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero (Darren Mattocks 76) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Christian Dean, Ethen Sampson, Robert Earnshaw, Marco Bustos] REACTION: CARL ROBINSON On the game and what this means for the actual league meetings between the teams: "It's hard to tell, but a good game of football today, I have to say, by two good teams. These games are never going to be easy. These games are never going to be friendlies and it showed today. Obviously there were one or two sending offs in the game but then from our perspective we scored and obviously won the game, but more importantly we played pretty well when we had the ball." On being in control of the game in the second half: "The only disappointing thing I have is that we didn't manage to get the second goal because I think we deserved it and warranted it with our play. Unfortunately it didn't come and that's stuff we've got to work on." Play of Kekuta Manneh and how different he looks from last season: "He's been excellent. A very mature performance from the young boy today especially. He's come back in preseason in the right frame of mind. He's come back with the bit between his teeth. He's fit, and you see today, when he's fit, he's happy, and he performs like that. My job is to try and keep him like that for 34 games this season." On what Manneh needs to do to play well but also hit the back of the net: "There will be performances this year where he doesn't play as well as he did tonight and he'll score two goals and I'm sure everyone will say that he's this and he's that. But when he plays like that, that's all I want him to do. Because when he plays like that he'll score goals and there's no reason why he can't get a number of goals this year. Confidencewise, he's playing with confidence. And he's fit and he's happy. If you've got your players happy, then they'll perform to the levels that they should do. My job is to do that." Was that the Kah hat-trick - card, goal, calming Kekuta?! "That's perfect. We'll have some fun this year, won't we?! We'll certainly have some fun." On the card danger of Kah and Waston playing together: "It will. I thought there were areas for improvement, as there were with all units of the team. They're strong. A very strong pair. And Diego coming on as well. That was a decision because I didn't want to lose Kah because I thought the referee was a little card-happy maybe, sending people off. I didn't want him evening things up, so it was a decision I made. But they will get booked this year. There's no doubt about it, because we've got good attacking players in this league and good attackers manage to deceive defenders sometimes. It's important I carry five [central] defenders and I've certainly got five good ones." What did he learn about his group from the game? "That we're tough. That physically we were able to deal with a tough match away from home. Every match is going to be like this away from home. We've got to be able to fight and dig and scrap and run, but play our football at the right times and I think we did that, especially going in at half time 1-0 up. It was a much of a muchness kind of game, there wasn't much in it. We managed to get a great goal from a super ball from Mauro and Pa's header. The second half, I thought we were excellent. I really did. The change in numbers changed the dynamic of the game slightly but the performance was thoroughly professional." On Nico standing up to bigger players: "Imagine if he was Kendall's size what he'd do! He's brilliant. He has a heart of gold. You want guys like that in your team and we've certainly got a good group in there." On Rivero and the other new Caps getting a taste of the Cascadia atmosphere: "It's important for all the new guys coming in to realise what it's like to play [in Portland]. It's a great place to play. It's passionate, it's exciting. You hear supporters giving you abuse and things like that. You've got to get used to that." On plans and hopes for the remaining two games in the tournament: "I thought [the first game between Chicago and Stabaek] was a decent game. It was two very different styles of play within the game. We'll prepare for Wednesday's game because it's going to be a tough game. I'll decide what I'll do with the personnel there, but the guys that didn't play today will probably get a run out on Wednesday. I think it's an important game for us, against a very good Stabaek team as well." PA MODOU KAH On the perfect return to Portland for him: "Soccer is a little bit bizarre sport because it's always something like when you go to your old club it always seems to be that you will score. I always watch the game on television and I tell my wife, how is it that when you always go back to your ex club, you score. It's just in the script I guess. On how he saw his goal: "That was a tremendous delivery from Mauro and when you have a guy like Mauro with his qualities and his crosses, it's a dream for any soccer player so he put it on the right spot and it was just for me to attack the ball and I put it in the net." On the intensity of a preseason game being like a league game: "The boys, we rolled up our sleeves and everybody fought. We fought as a team, which is very important. Everybody knows when you come down to Portland, they like to play, but for us, it's the preseason, but the season is a week away so we have to fight and work together as a team. Today we played well. Every game against your rival is competitive, so you have to be at your best and today we showed why we are Vancouver." On whether to celebrate against his old team: "If I score, I will celebrate, but since this is a preseason game, there's no need for celebration. If it was a regular season game, yes, I will celebrate because, with all due respect for Portland, I feel that when you play a game and you score a goal, you should celebrate." On Manneh and Hurtado not taking chances to add second: "For me, when you have those chances, you have to finish it because those chances are the decider of the game, whether you let them back in the game or not. So when you kill the game with 2-0, with ten men, then it's a lot more easier to play, so that's something we need to work on." How comfortable does he feel already playing with Waston? "The big man is a beast. When you have a guy along like that, it's good for the back line. Both of us are aggressive players but we know how to play football, so far it's just about keeping working, getting the chemistry, the chemistry's going good. Both of us are willing to and we listen to each other and we make each other better everyday, which is important. You also have Christian Dean and Diego Rodriguez in the background, so no place is safe, so every day you got to show your best in training." KEKUTA MANNEH Did that feel like a preseason or a regular season game out there? "Obviously it's a preseason game but we don't take any game lightly for the preseason. The preparation starts from day one. It's just like any other big game for us. It's just like we're fighting for the playoffs, so it's important for us that we play the right way. We've been saying all year, do things right, make sure we perform. It doesn't matter what game it is. There's no friendly game for us. It just felt like we're in the season." On his own strong performance: "Unfortunately I wasn't able to manage to score a goal. It's just one of those things. I just need to keep my composure, try to finish it next time and just go back to the drawing board and practice work on that. I thought the team played really well considering it's an away game and we're trying to get ready for the season and trying to fit in the new players that we have too. I thought they were fantastic. They fitted in really well. Obviously we need to work on some stuff for everyone but I thought it looked great tonight." On Kah's headed goal: "We've been working on it and I feel that we're going to score a lot of goals from set pieces because we've got those big guys on the team now. So goals are going to come from different places now." On the difference between him last preseason and this: "I feel great. Thanks to the medical staff and the staff here. I've been working with them in the offseason and you can definitely see it paid off. I feel really fit. I was never really tired for the whole game today. It was great."
  24. Carl Robinson made three changes from the team that started Saturday's crucial win over Colorado. Gershon Koffie returned to the starting line up for the first time in weeks, to play alongside Matias Laba in the two man defensive shield, with Russell Teibert dropping to the bench. Erik Hurtado also returned after feeling ill on the morning of the Rapids match and seeing Darren Mattocks get the start. The big change came in the defence, with Steven Beitashour's hamstring injury forcing Robinson to choose which young full back he wanted to go with, and Ethen Sampson got the nod on the right. Vancouver started with their tails up and enjoyed some early possession but Dallas soon started to look the more dominant side in the middle of the park, with the Whitecaps not looking their usual cohesive selves and passes were going astray. There was also very little offensive presence by either team. A lot of huffing but very little puffing, particularly from Vancouver, who were reduced to long range shots, some of which were giving Chris Seitz a seemingly problem to handle. Just as it was looking like the teams would go in scoreless, which would certainly have been part of Vancouver's gameplan, Dallas took the lead in the 40th minute after a mix up between the usually reliable Andy O'Brien and Kendall Waston allowed Mauro Diaz to nip the ball past them and head towards goal on a two on one break. Diaz played the ball outside to Tesho Akindele, who took a touch before burying low past David Ousted for the opening goal. A costly mistake that ended Vancouver's 432 minutes without conceding a goal and saw the hosts go in with a vital one goal advantage. The Whitecaps also had the added headache of having both Pedro Morales and Koffie pick up first half bookings and walking a tightrope in such a volatile atmosphere. The pressure was now on Vancouver to perform and show their playoff metal. The Whitecaps came out for the second half in a much higher tempo and Sebastian Fernandez won a free kick in the opening minute when he was barged to the ground by Walker Zimmerman. Mauro Rosales stepped up and crashed the free kick off the Dallas bar from nearly 30 yards out. Vancouver were forced to replace their talismanic captain Pedro Morales just before the hour mark, and the switch for Kekuta Manneh proved to be a game changer. The young Gambian immediately caused problems for the Dallas defence and his run into the box won a corner for the Caps just past the hour mark. Morales' kick was flicked on, leading to a mad scramble in the home side's box before the ball broke to Manneh and his low shot squirmed under Seitz and hit the post and out for another corner. The Caps' were definitely in the ascendency now, and they got the reward their pressure and play deserved in the 64th minute. Manneh was in the thick of things again when his shot from outside the box deflected into the path of Hurtado and the young striker make room and saw his own shot take a slight deflection as it beat Seitz and nestled into the bottom right corner of the net to tie things up. Vancouver now sensed blood and Manneh was showing what a big game player he is, and he curled an effort inches wide in the 70th minute. But just as it looked liked the Whitecaps had the game for the taking, Dallas won a penalty with eight minutes remaining when Kendall Waston was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, although the big Costa Rican knew little about it. Michel stepped and the Brazilian sent Ousted the wrong way to give Dallas back the lead. The game then threatened to boil over in the closing minutes as the hatred between the teams came to the fore. The Whitecaps pushed hard for those final moments but without creating any clear cut chances and as Vancouver pushed forward, Fabian Castillo saw a late effort saved, although referee Geiger gave a goal kick. Dallas held on for the win after six minutes of stoppage time and as the final whistle blew, Sebastian Fernandez made a beeline for Geiger and was shown a red card, as several Vancouver players gathered around the ref. It was a tough way to end their season, but the Whitecaps can hold their heads up high after a season that saw them produce much more than many expected. In the end, it was both their first half performance and the referee that saw their playoff hopes ended. How they bounce back from this next season will be interesting to watch. March can't come quick enough. FINAL SCORE: FC Dallas 2 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT:10,279 DALLAS: Chris Seitz; Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Je-Vaughn Watson; Fabian Castillo, Michel, Victor Ulloa (Kellyn Acosta 76), Mauro Diaz (Andres Escobar); Tesho Akindele, Blas Perez (Ryan Hollingshead 90) [subs Not Used: Jesse Gonzalez, Moises Hernandez, Jair Benitez, David Texeira] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Ethen Sampson, Andy O’Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie (Nicolas Mezquida 87); Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales (Kekuta Manneh 58), Sebastian Fernández; Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 78) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Johnny Leveron, Russell Teibert] [Postgame reaction to follow Thursday]
  25. The Caps dominated the possession and had the majority of chances through the first half, with Waston just missing on a header from a Mauro Rosales free kick. Five minutes later Rosales would setup Pedro Morales with a chance but the Chilean would send his shot wide of the target. Just before the half hour mark it looked as though Sebastian Fernandez would find the breakthrough as he made a strong run into the box, but a nice charge by Clint Irwin would deny any goal. A minute into injury time the visitors had their best chance of the opening half as Charles Eloundou was sent in on goal and after cutting inside, sent in a shot at the near post which Ousted was able to knock it away. Vancouver continued to press in the second half and had a couple of solid chances just before the hour mark. A strike from Morales forced Irwin into making a save and then second half sub Kekuta Manneh created a great opportunity for himself later but his shot struck the crossbar. With 20 minutes to go in the match the Whitecaps finally struck for the important goal when Waston scored his second goal of the season. He connected on a corner delivered by Morales, sending the 21,000+ fans at BC Place into a frenzy. The Caps had a chance to double the lead when Morales sent in substitute Erik Hurtado on a partial break but once again Irwin was able to cut down the angle preventing the goal. In the final moments Ousted had to earn his shutout as Gabriel Torres had two dangerous volleys from outside the box that tested the keeper. Fortunately for the Caps Ousted kept the ball out on both chances, earning the Caps a 1-0 victory and a playoff spot. Once again the Whitecaps didn’t make it easy for themselves waiting until the 70th minute to get the winning goal. There were a number of chances that they were able to create but there was a lack of finish in the final third. A positive for the team going into the playoffs is their ability to score off set pieces, considering how much it was weakness going into the season, which is vital considering how much tighter defending gets in the playoffs. The Caps also end the regular season with a 392 minute shutout streak and four straight cleansheets by Ousted, something that should help the Caps in the postseason. They will attempt to get their first win of the playoffs on Wednesday when they travel south to face FC Dallas in the Western Conference knockout round. Final Score: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 0 Colorado Rapids Attendance: 21,000 Vancouver Whitecaps: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour (Sam Adekugbe 33), Andy O’Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Kekuta Manneh 56), Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales, Sebastian Fernandez; Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado 67) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Johnny Leveron, Gershon Koffie, Nicolas Mezquida] Colorado Rapids: Clint Irwin; Marvell Wynne (Davy Armstrong 42), Zat Knight, Shane O’Neill, Chris Klute; Marlon Hairston, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Serna (John Neeskens 73), Carlos Alvarez; Gabriel Torres, Charles Eloundou (Deshorn Brown 61) [subs Not Used: John Berner, Grant Van De Casteele, Gale Agbossoumonde] Scoring Summary: 70' - VAN - Kendall Waston (Pedro Morales) Match Stats: Shots: Vancouver 17 - Colorado 10 Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 - Colorado 5 Saves: Vancouver 5 - Colorado 4 Fouls: Vancouver 10 - Colorado 14 Offsides: Vancouver 7 - Colorado 5 Corners: Vancouver 2 - Colorado 3 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On making the playoffs: "It's a fantastic achievement for the group of players I've got. I couldn't be more proud of them today because we've probably been written off a few times this year when things didn't go our way." On securing a treble of Cascadia Cup, Champions League spot and now playoffs in consecutive weeks: "We've not been bad over the last few games. I think today was probably the story of our season in 90 minutes because we played very well at times, we had a few half chances we didn't take, then we started to get edgy a little bit. "I made the decision to make early substitutions and then the big man scoring the goal. I think it was fitting that David Ousted kept us in it with two fantastic saves in the last three or four minutes because god knows what I would have done if one of them had gone in!" On the atmosphere before the winning goal: "In the three years I've been here, I've never experienced an atmosphere like I experienced today and they're part of helping suck that ball in the net because I did believe, part of me, that we might not score, if I'm being totally truthful with you, because we had a few half chances. But we stuck to pour beliefs and the boys kept going. It's credit to the organisation, the supporters and that group of players in there." On facing Dallas now in first round of playoffs on Wednesday: "I'm not satisfied now because we have a massive game on Wednesday that I firmly believe we can go on and win. "Dallas have finished above us, so they're probably favourites for the tie. They're at home. We've got nothing to lose. No-one expected us to get into the playoffs except me, that group of players and the club. We had a quiet belief about us, without an arrogance and we did. Now we're in it, who knows? Spin that wheel." Why do you think you can go into Dallas and win? “The reason why I said I think Portland would win today, Dallas are unbeaten in eight at home. They’re a very very strong team and Oscar’s done a great job there, and I knew Portland could probably get under their skin a little bit. Dallas finished above us so they’re probably favourite for a tie and they’re at home. We got nothing to lose. No one expects us to get in the playoffs except me and that group of players on the club. We had a quiet belief about us without an arrogance. We did and now who knows. Spin that wheel.” On telling players the Portland result: “I let them know at halftime to be fair. I said to the guys on Thursday, staff included, I wanted them to turn their phones off as soon as they came in. You know what young players are like. They come in and they’re on that Instagram and Twitter, and one of the smart-alecs said “well we play music on it” and I said “listen, I’m old, but not that old. I’m not stupid. Turn it off because if you don’t it’s a $500 fine.” It’s a bit harsh at the time and I’m sure a couple of them went home and thought about it, but I didn’t want their focus to move from our game, because it was a massive game for us where we needed to be 100 percent and concentrate. They’ve done that. I watched it in my office if I’m being honest, which wasn’t a good thing so I went out there and I thought they would win so I said to them, coming in, I think Nathan had said to me that they had won 2-nil, so I made the decision to let them know at halftime or not. I protected them, throughout the season, but I wanted them to know what we needed to do so I said to them, without telling them what happened, I said, “boys, we need to score a goal.” And they said right, and I think they understood, well I hope they understood that, because that’s certainly what happened, and we got the goal.” On importance of Kendall Waston to the team since coming to Vancouver: “I hoped he would, but I probably didn’t think it would happen this year. The plan was for next year, but he’s been an awesome signing. It’s a credit to him as well as character because the boys love him. He’s very aggressive, maybe too aggressive at times, but he’s a pleasure to work with.” Thoughts on putting Manneh in for Teibert then having to defend: “[Teibert] has got a bundle of energy, and he was playing well, but I wanted Kekuta to come on. So I tried to go as attacking as I could to hope to get that goal and as soon as we did, I’m looking and we’ve made all our subs, and I’m trying to drop Pedro deeper than Mauro so Pedro and Mauro were my two tough tackling midfielders once Rusty’s gone off, which is never going to be a good thing, but credit to them. We dug deep, because we had to dig deep, because I knew Colorado would come. They’re not going to roll over. They’ve got pride.” What factors lead to the postseason? “Credit to David and the back four players, but I’ve said all along that we defend from the front and we attack from the back. I knew what we had, what I had in there, that group of players, and we were lacking probably a goal scorer. We have players who can score goals, not probably enough goals for me. Like I said, we haven’t scored enough goals, but we’ve worked hard defensively, and we have to do that because as they all say, championships are won from the defence. I didn’t want to do that, but once the window closed, we decided to go that way, it just gave me the opportunity for me to give my younger players more time. I have to work with what I’ve got, which is why when they got criticized, I would never criticize them because they’re a brilliant group of lads and today was about them and I know what we lack. We’ll address that in the offseason to make the group strong because we’ve got a fantastic culture in there and they’ve really developed that.” KENDALL WASTON First thing going through his mind after he scored: “I was thanking God because it was a nice opportunity to score and thank him that I scored because we were working very hard from the beginning of the game. We knew we had to win today because Portland won so that was a big effort for all of my teammates. From the beginning we were working hard and looking forward to the win.” If he has scored a bigger goal in his career: “I think the biggest is going to be after, not today. So now we are just thinking of Dallas, and hopefully on Wednesday we do very good because we wanted to get in, in the playoffs.” If he know the goal was going to go in when he rose up for the header: “Yes because yesterday I was practicing with Pedro (Morales) after training and I knew he was kicking the ball in that spot. So I just tried to get a good distance from the guy who was defending me and hopefully I get there, and I could head it properly and get it in.” How he feels about the rise of Costa Rican soccer: “In my country this last year was good since the World Cup. I’m very happy for my country because that makes it get bigger in soccer. Personally, I try to be the best every day because I want to make history in this club. But now we are just thinking of Wednesday.” On having his wife watch the game today for the first time: “Very special because I had my wife and kid here to watch me. They’re always supporting me and today was a special day and thank God they’re here to watch it.” On the CONCACAF Champions League next season: “We got the notice that we’re in the Champions League for next year, that is good for us because we could play other tournaments, international tournaments that’s important to each player and it’s a good experience for us.” On the atmosphere in the stadium today: “Today was loud. Everything was pretty, and the supporters are like our 12th player for us. Without them we cannot play like this and hopefully we can win Wednesday so the semi-finals are here again.” DAVID OUSTED What was going through his head when he made a save during stoppage time: “Please catch it? Something like that. And please blow the whistle was the other thought. I’m ecstatic we got the win and are in the playoffs now. I think we deserve it, these last five or six games I think people reacted fantastically and we’ve shown we can play against the best and play good football.” On the strength of the Whitecaps’ defence: “I think we’re a hard team to score against. Now we need to score a couple of goals and it will all come together. But being hard to score against is really important going into a tough playoff.” What the mood was like going into the second half of the game: “Same as before the game. We knew we needed to win. I had the sense Portland was going to go there and make it hard for us and win. And they did. So credit to them. So we knew what we had to do. And I think the second half we did a professional job.” On what Kendall Waston has meant to the team: “Tremendous goal scorer. He’s just got a hunger and passion to get those balls and get his head on it so fantastic from the big man.” On the play of Sam Adekugbe: “So tough to come into this game, a high stakes game. But Sam showed all year he has the quality to be here.” On the play of Jordan Harvey: “We can put Jordan anywhere and he’ll do a solid and great job. And he showed that all year that he’s really reliable either side.” On the matchup against Dallas: “We had a decent performance a month ago. I think we have a chance to go there a win. They’re a good team and they’ve showed that, that’s why they’re in the playoffs but we have to go in and see if we can find our style of play there and get a win.” PEDRO MORALES How he’s feeling: “I feel so so happy, today was a difficult game. I think they played a complicated game. But in the second half I think we had more passion for the win. We had the motivation more. Kendall did a good job. I’m so happy for him, for the team, for the people here and for the fans. Now a good game in Dallas on Wednesday.” On the pressure building throughout the game: “I think there was so much pressure but I feel confidence in the team I think the people got more excited with Kekuta’s (Manneh) opportunity for a goal.” On the noise level from the crowd: “When we were coming here in halftime, the crowd was leading the way. I think in the second half the mentality changed maybe. But now we have a good game Wednesday and have a physical mentality. We need to find what’s necessary for the players, the team, and the fans. Today was very good for the fans.” COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI On how defensively sound his squad has been the last few matches: “I think, the last couple of games, we’ve really been working on our shape. I think, more importantly, Zat Knight has brought a tremendous amount of leadership, a tremendous amount of communication, and really has grabbed that back line by the scruff of its neck and really organized them really well and brought some of the young players along. Just a really pivotal player in that role that’s really shored up the back line and also made it easier for the guys in midfield.” On what he takes from the season: “The season was obviously long, but what I think you take away is that you go through fits of good form and fits of bad form, and what I think is most important is that you never lose the identity of who you are and who you want to be. As a Colorado Rapid for many years, I think the most important thing is representing who we are as Coloradoans. That’s working hard every day, bringing your lunch pail to work, believing in each other, working hard for your teammates, never giving in, and I think tonight was a performance that is reflective of the type of characters and personalities we’ll have next year, on the field in 2015. That’s the reflection of the club moving forward.” On the youth movement in Colorado and their roles moving forward: “I think, at times, they’ve carried more weight than they should have through the year, but they’ve always stepped up and played big. I think the experience that they’ve gained this year, especially in a game like tonight, with playoff implications for the opponents, who are at home, in a tough place to play, they raised their levels and really played well. I think these types of experiences are going to be invaluable for next year. I think, overall, they’ll continue to be focal points of our group and hopefully we’ll take a bit more burden off of them next year.” NICK LABROCCA Thoughts on the match: “I thought we battled, I thought it was a close game. I think our chances mostly came in the second half – we just kept plugging away, kept trying to play more and more, kept battling, and then the game started opening up for us. Then, they got their set piece goal.” On the Rapids’ defensive improvement over the past few games: “I feel like we got a little loose in the back, we exposed ourselves, and we weren’t playing together as a team. We opened too many gaps, so I think that’s what our focus was, but, at the same time, we’re going to defend as a team, we’re not just going to sit in, we’re going to press when we can.” On what they can take going into next season: “I think that this is all collective, I think, how we finished the last couple of games, we battled, we worked together, we worked for each other, and that’s what makes championship teams – not individuals. Individual performances win games, but that team cohesion, that team battle, that’s what wins championships.” DAVY ARMSTRONG Thoughts on the team’s performance: “I thought we battled. We didn’t get the outcomes we wanted to, but sometimes the game just doesn’t go our way. We were in the fight, we were in everything, it was just off of an unlucky set play. So, it was good.” On the team’s defensive improvement: “We’ve been working on being more compact, staying with the team, dropping whenever we see pressure coming, and just being smarter. We’re not really flying out there, just being compact as a team. So, we’ve been working on that, which has helped us a lot, and it’s just unlucky that we fight hard for so long and then we just give it up on just a half-second of a set play.” On the back line the outlook for next season: “We’ll just take the fight that we had towards the end of the season, refresh, and come back at it. We have a good team - youth that is good, compact, and strong together. We have a good bond with each other, and I feel like we’ll have that going into next season, which will be good for us.”
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