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Found 6 results

  1. The Whitecaps know they can't keep relying on others. With three defeats in their last four MLS matches, they know they need to start getting the job done themselves and pronto, but defender Jordan Harvey is confident the 'Caps will soon get the wheels back on the wagon and get back to much needed winning ways. "Every time we've gone through a loss or some sort of bad spell, we've come back on track," Harvey told reporters. "That's a credit to the consistency and not changing anything because that's what's really helped us throughout this year." The bounce back was meant to come last week at home to New York City. We all know how that ended. The less said about that now, the better. The new place for the fighting finish to begin comes tonight in San Jose. And that in itself is not going to be easy. Never mind the fact that the Whitecaps haven't won at the Quakes in their previous six attempts, San Jose are fighting for their playoff survival. A 'Caps win clinches them a playoff place, while a Quakes win moves them to within two points of Vancouver. It couldn't be tighter and the Whitecaps know they're going to be in for one hell of a battle. "It's down to the wire," admitted Harvey. "Guys are fighting for their jobs if they're out of the playoff race. If they're in it they're fighting for the playoffs. Or, like us, we're fighting for a top two spot and potentially the Supporters' Shield. "Everybody's fighting for something, everybody's got something to lose, so we're going to go in like we have in road games and really be determined and organized and see what we come away with." It would take quite the sequence of results in this last month of the season for Vancouver to not make the playoffs now, in both their own games and others, but it remains a possibility. A possibility they can kill off by the end of Saturday night. If that isn't enough to give the squad the kick up the ass they need, then I don't know what will. In reality, they don't need that kick. Everyone at the Whitecaps is painfully aware of how important the next four games are for their season. "We just need to get back on form," Harvey added. "I'm really looking forward to this weekend because everyone was hungry this week, the training was sharp and going in to San Jose we have a good opportunity." Vancouver and San Jose have served up some battles on the pitch in recent seasons with less to play for, although a lot of the key instigators in those games have moved on. They've also served up some shocking games down in California, a couple of which I've had the misfortune to be at. You have to feel it's the former that we'll see tonight and that's exactly what goalkeeper David Ousted is expecting. "They're scrappy," Ousted said of the Quakes. "They're pushing for their push into the playoffs and it's going to be a tough game. We know we have the quality to go and get a win. We just need to find that energy, to find that intensity and to match their scrappiness." Vancouver certainly need to be up for the scrap not only in this game but their remaining four matches this season. But Ousted also cautioned that it needs to be controlled if they're to come away with the wins they need. "Urgency is important at this part of the season," Ousted added. "Every team we're meeting is chasing the playoffs, is pushing and is going to have that urgency, so we definitely need to have it as well. "It doesn't have to be a panic or something that's counter effective but knowing that going into these games we need to be on top of our game." The 'Caps remaining league matches are evenly split. Two at home and two away. Those road games both come at places that Vancouver have yet failed to record a victory, San Jose and Dallas, but that doesn't faze Ousted in the slightest. "We've showed this year that we're really good on the road," Ousted said. "We've showed that we have the mentality that we can win anywhere we go, so I'm not that worried going in to away games. It's some tough places we play but I've got confidence in that we can get away with three points." It's a view shared by winger Kekuta Manneh, who feels that no matter where the Whitecaps are playing this month, they have to stick to their gameplan and use their attacking strengths to get the wins they're looking for. "For us, we're going to try and approach every game the same, whether we're home or away," Manneh stated. "We need to win the [san Jose] game if we want stay in the title hunt. We're going to out, attacking minded." But as we've seen in recent games, playing in that manner may generate chances galore for the Whitecaps but it doesn't guarantee that any of them are going to be put into the back of the net. And while the goals haven't been coming at one end of the pitch, they have been at the other with two goals given up to both Houston and New York in the recent losses and three goals conceded twice to Seattle in two matches. Both are aspects of the Whitecaps game we weren't seeing even just a few weeks ago. "It goes both ways," Harvey admitted. "We've given up goals that at the beginning or the middle of the season we haven't given up. We need to address everything and really get back to the basics and what we do well, which is being organized, hard to break down and we get chances. That's the most important thing." The lack of goals for Vancouver may put additional pressure on the Whitecaps defence, but with 11 clean sheets already recorded this season, Ousted feels he's capable of holding up his end of the bargain to reduce what's needed at the other end of the park. But he's confident a change to the 'Caps fortunes is about to play out. "Obviously you need to keep more clean sheets to get points," Ousted said. "But we've got confidence in the goalscoring ability in this team. We're creating chances and I feel like the goals are coming, but we need to tighten up as a backline as well. Not let in too many goals and if it's a one-nil win, it's one-nil win. That's going to be ok by me."
  2. 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."
  3. I don’t know what it is about the centre-back position and the Whitecaps but there’s definitely a jinx of some sort hanging over them. So many injuries over the years in the position. Has anyone actually been immune? Maybe Robbo needs to go and take a piss in each corner flag, ala Barry Fry, to exorcise those demons, but he made it very clear at the start of the season that he wanted to carry five quality centrehalfs and it hasn’t taken long to see why. Just who will be taking the field against the Earthquakes on Saturday is anyone’s guess right now, and there's a few unknowns still thrown in the mix. Kendall Waston has played every minute so far this season. The Costa Rican has been a beast at the back and has been looking better and better pretty much game upon game. He’s a crucial cog to the Whitecaps success this season and when he landed heavily on his neck on Wednesday, the collective worry and concern on the faces of ‘Caps players, fans and media alike was very clear and said it all as to how important everyone views him. It looked a bad one. This is a guy that doesn’t stay down without good reason. I honestly thought he’d broken his neck. Watching one replay was enough for me, it was a horrible fall. But remarkably the big man seems to be fine and played out the rest of the game. “I’m feeling much better,” Waston told reporters at training on Thursday. “Yesterday I was really scared because the way how I drop to the floor and how I twisted my neck it was very, very hard, but thank god nothing else happened.” It really was quite remarkable that he finished the game never mind that he’s declared himself fit to face San Jose. The ‘Caps medical team gave him massages after the match, but the worry is that Waston may feel some delayed pain and tenderness. That might hit today or he could wake up on matchday with it, or he may just show some superhuman recovery. There’s also the possibility that there could be a concussion, which the Whitecaps will obviously check out, not that Waston was concerned about that in the slightest, as he joked, "Concussion, what is that? I don't believe in concussions." I think we're all crossing out fingers that he'll be good to go on Saturday and I really fancy him to break his goalscoring duck for the season when he shakes up the Quakes. As serious as the incident looked at the time, the ‘Caps players were able to find some humour in what had happened, especially Waston’s central defensive partner for most of the season so far, Pa Modou Kah. "For myself I was like, naw, I hope that he didn't break his neck," Kah said of his initial reaction to Waston’s horror fall. "But you know, when you've got a big head, a big strong head like Kendall he'll be fine. I think we'll probably change the spot where he landed at BC Place. There's a big dent right there! "But actually it was a very scary moment because you don't wish anybody to fall like this and especially him. But the big man came strong. You know he's strong. I hope he just have no pain." Kah was rested for the game, and you have to think the original plan was for him to come back in to the line-up to face the Quakes. But the best laid plans and all that, as an early injury to his replacement, Diego Rodriguez, who was only able to last 14 minutes before injury, meant Kah was called into unexpected action once more. "In soccer, you never know what will happen, but you don't expect your centre-back to get injured after 14 minutes," Kah said. "But that's the way the game is, so you always have to stay ready and stay focused. For me it was nothing different to what I'm used to, but the way we approach the game on Saturday will be the way that we've approached the past games." So at 34-years-old, can Kah make three pretty much full games in a week? It’s a question that the former Norwegian international is almost insulted by. "You serious?!" was his initial response to be being asked, before adding, "Age is nothing but a number." Maybe so, but it would be a surprise if he were to play. Robinson does like to surprise us though and with what could be crucial Western Conference points on the line, if the 'Caps feel they can go with a Waston/Kah central defensive pairing, then they will. If they don't, and with Rodriguez looking set to miss out bar another remarkable recovery, it will give another centre-back a chance to come in a stake a claim to a start or at least move up the depth charts. If nothing else, they'll garner a place on the bench. And that opens the door for either Christian Dean or Tim Parker. Who that player will be will be very interesting to see and tell us a lot about who ranks where in the pecking order right now. You expect it to be Dean. He's in his second year with the 'Caps, has been patient despite his frustration at not playing more, and has just been away with the US national team. Yup, all the indicators point to him, except Parker has been outperforming Dean for all of the preseason and at training. I've been very impressed with what I've seen from Parker on the whole, although he did have a bit of a horror USL outing against Seattle. Mind you, who didn't? He's also more importantly impressed the management team and I genuinely feel he's the fourth centre-back at the club right. I expect him to be at least on the bench and if Kah can't go, then I see him getting the start against San Jose. So where does that leave Dean? Apart from frustrated? He's highly thought of and although Robbo wants to carry those five centre-backs, I sense Dean's patience will run out and we will see him traded sooner rather than later. That's the problem when you have five quality centre-backs, the MLS minutes are simply not there. But whoever does line up in front of him on Saturday, goalkeeper David Ousted is confident that will get the job done. "Unfortunate with Diego," Ousted told reporters. "I knew how much he wanted to play. You saw in Orlando what he can do, so unfortunately he had to go out. But we've got really good centre-backs. We've got a lot of them, so we're still good in that position." "We've got figure out what Carl wants to do for this game, but three games for Pa in a week, and Kendall got a little bit of a scare there. I think everybody saw how worried the whole team was because that looked grim. But I've said it all along. We've got Christian Dean out there, we've got Tim Parker. They're capable of stepping in when we need them, so I'm not worried." As for poor Rodriguez, he can’t seem to catch a break in MLS right now. He’s made two appearances so far and been suspended for two games after the first one, then pulled his groin 14 minutes in to the second. Not been a happy area for him so far. It's a shame because he looks quality and you have to see him as the regular partner for Waston somewhere down the line this season. He's commanding, he has some bite about him and has great footwork. He may be fine for Saturday but it's hard to see that. If he misses out, then he'll get another chance soon for certain. He's too good not to. The nightmare scenario for Robinson is that he has neither Waston or Rodriguez available. He described the Costa Rican as "tough as nails", but if the worse case plays out, he's more than happy with what he has left at his disposal. "We'll reassess them [Friday] to see how they are," Robinson said of Waston and Rodriguez. "Hopefully they'll both be available but if we can get one of them out of the two then I'll be delighted. We're beaten up and banged up at the moment but we'll deal with it and get on with it because we've got other players that are ready to step in." Certainly going to be interesting to see who's on that starting line-up come 6.30pm on Saturday evening.
  4. Carl Robinson went with just the one change from the team that beat Seattle last Friday, an enforced one with Johnny Leveron coming back in for the suspended Kendall Waston. The Caps went for it from the off and won an early corner in the opening 70 seconds, when an Erik Hurtado shot was deflected for a corner. The kept the pressure on for the next spell and their best opportunity came from another corner, in the 12th minute, which Jon Busch spilled but there were no takes. Khari Stephenson showed some nice control for San Jose before firing a shot off from the edge of the box in the 16th minute, but Ousted comfortably held on. But then the action died. There was some huff, but very little puff from either side. San Jose set the visitor’s pulses racing though in the final minute of the half when David Ousted was forced to produce a point blank save to keep out Chris Wondolowski from ten yards and with that the teams went in level at the half. There wasn’t a lot to write home about to start the second half either, so just past the hour mark the Whitecaps decided the freshen things up with the introduction of first Gershon Koffie and then Darren Mattocks. Sandwiched inbetween the two substitutions, Yannick Djalo curled one over for the Earthquakes from the edge of the box. The Whitecaps had their best chance of the game in the 75th minute when Kekuta Manneh twisted and turned in the box, shook of Pablo Pintos but Busch was out quick for a huge point blank block of his fierce shot. San Jose responded with a ball across goal that had no Quake takers but ex-Earthquake Steven Beitashour came dangerously close to turning it into his own net. Both sides had half chances to close out the match but ultimately, the last ever MLS game at Buck Shaw Stadium ended a goalless and pretty lifeless affair. The end result though is another crucial point for the Whitecaps and one that might seal their playoff place. They’ll take that over playing exciting football right now I’m sure. FINAL SCORE: San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT:10,525 (sell out) SAN JOSE: Jon Busch; Jordan Stewart, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Pablo Pintos (Shaun Francis 78); Atiba Harris, Shea Salinas (Matias Perez Garcia 71), Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson; Chris Wondolowski, Yannick Djalo [subs Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Tommy Thompson, Ty Harden, J.J. Koval, Cordell Cato] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Andy O’Brien, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Gershon Koffie 61), Russell Teibert, Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales (Sebastian Fernandez 71), Kekuta Manneh; Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 64) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Mehdi Ballouchy, Nicolas Mezquida] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Happy with the point? “Yeah I am, because we’re in control now of what we do. I said all along, if we can concentrate on our business and take care of our business then we’ll get to where we want to get to. So we go into the last game of the season knowing that we need to get a result to take us to where we want to get to, so pleased.” Thoughts on the overall performance: “The connection of the passes, we were a little bit off. We started the game very well in the first 15 minutes and I thought, here we go. As I said all week, it was a trap game for us. They’ve got nothing to lose, they’ve replaced their manager, players are fighting for contracts. We had everything to lose because of the 32 games we’ve had prior to this. For me, this is as important a result as it was last Friday in Seattle, because it’s a crucial point for us, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.” Was there a lack of intensity in their play? “I thought we started the game very well. As I said, it’s a difficult game. It’s never easy to play at San Jose. They’ll be the first to admit that they probably haven’t performed to the levels they should have, but they’ve got good players. Wondo’s scored 14 odd goals or whatever and he’s a danger. Maybe I wish we had someone who scored 14 odd goals then we might not be talking about this position that we’re in.” How important was it getting Gershon Koffie minutes? “Very important. I had always planned to do it. The reason I did it for Mati Laba was that he started to get tired. He’s on four yellow cards and when he gets tired, all players make wrong decisions. He was sliding in a little bit, he missed two tackles when he usually makes them, so I made the decision because I need him next week. “It was great to get Gershon. It’s a win-win really. We get a valuable point and we get Gershon some valuable minutes.” On the play of Pedro Morales and subbing him out: “I thought Pedro started brightly. The start of the second half I thought he was okay, and I’m being kind there. Again, he’s on four yellow cards and I don’t want him to get booked. So I bring off my two Designated Players to protect them for next week as well. The guys that came in did fantastically well obviously to get a result.” On the performance of the returning Johnny Leveron: “It’s hard for certain players to come in at certain times. Johnny’s been out of the team for four games, obviously with Kendall coming in. He took time to settle in, but we kept a clean sheet. We’ll analyse it individually, we’ll go through the video with them but I can’t be too critical because we kept a clean sheet. On the lack of goalscoring chances created: I’m disappointed because we didn’t create enough chances higher up Darren had a half chance, Scooter maybe should have scored as well, but that’s credit to Jon Busch as well who made a fantastic save. I’m sure they’re disappointed, we’re disappointed, but I’m sure we’ll move on.” Did he watch the Portland-RSL game and will he be sending Nick Rimando a gift? “I did [watch it]. He’s a very good goalkeeper isn’t he?! It was a very intense game. Two excellent teams. You’re talking about Salt Lake, who have been in the playoffs seven consecutive years I believe, and Portland who won the Western Conference last year with the same group of players. So two fantastic teams. I watched it because I love watching football. I can’t control what goes on there. I can control what goes on with this group.” Was he more nervous watch that game on Friday or the Caps on Saturday? “Last night probably because it does have a bearing on it, but I’ve said all along, if we control out destiny going into the last game of the season, I’ll be happy and at the moment, we do. We’ll get back to work on Tuesday because it’s a big week for the football club. There’ll be a lot of work done this week in preparation for this game.” How important is it to get attack scoring against Colorado next week? “It would be nice to win 1-0 [as well]. It’s a very difficult game again where they’ve got nothing to lose and we’ve got everything to lose. They’ve beaten us twice this year and that’s why I’m not taking it lightly. It’s a very difficult game for us. I’ll make sure the guys know it. We’ll be organised, we’ll be disciplined, and we’ll go out to try and win the game because I think we’ll need to as I think Portland will go out and get a result in Dallas. Then it’s down to us to win the game. There will be a lot of work done this week in preparation for Saturday’s game.” On clinching the Champions League spot: “[it’s] very important to the club. We’ve never done it, so it was important that we tried to do that and we have done that. More games. Scheduling will be a nightmare for us no doubt. Four Champions League games minimum, then we’re talking about the Canadian Championship games as well. So there’s definitely going to be six, maybe eight games. “It’s great for my young players. I want to develop more young players. I’ve got a talented young group and it’ll give them opportunities. It’s great for the club and the organisation to be in the Champions League because only three of four teams get involved in that each year and we’re delighted for next year.” DAVID OUSTED On the performance against San Jose: “Definitely wasn’t pretty, but sometimes you won’t play pretty and you’ll get the point and that was important today. We needed that point. We can go home and win and control our own destiny. Not a pretty game, not that great to watch I imagine, but so important that we got the point. On next week’s game against Colorado: “Win it and we’re in it. As simple as that. It’s nice to control our own fate that way. We’re looking forward to that game.” On attack not producing: “Definitely we want to produce more and we want to produce chances and goals, but when we’re not doing that I’m happy to see defensively that we’re really sound and doing good work. I know the guys up front will produce, they have done. I think you’ll see more chances, and hopefully more goals on Saturday.” Any concerns over his first half injury? “The last 15 minutes of the second half my hip locked up on me. He hit me pretty hard. I told the bench to keep Paolo ready. Luckily they worked on me at half time and I felt better and I could continue, but there was a little bit where I wasn’t sure if I should be in there. I want to be 100%, I want to help the team when I’m in there and if I don’t feel 100% I won’t go in there. “They worked on me and I told Marius to keep Paolo ready. He did tremendously. He warmed up the entire half to keep ready, which is testament to the pro he is. I felt better coming out for the half and after ten minutes I felt that I could finish the game.” After 12th clean sheet, how important was it for him to put up those numbers? “It’s always important to keep clean sheets, it’s always important to put up good numbers, and I’m happy with where I am. I said at the start of the season I felt really ready for it. I was in good shape, I worked really hard in the offseason coming in and I wanted to prove myself and I think I did. I’m not done yet and we’re not done yet as a team, so hopefully we can continue.” RUSSELL TEIBERT On the next week’s massive game against Colorado: “We said that we had five cup finals to play in and we’ve won three and tied one. So we’ve doing okay in the cup finals so far. This is the last cup final that we’re going to have to play in before the playoffs and we’re going to approach it like we have the past four games. I think if we stick to our gameplan and everybody focuses on their tasks, individually and collectively, I know we can get a result. “The confidence and belief is there. We come out of here with a very professional performance, take a point and we set ourselves up nicely for next week’s match.” On finally making the Champions League after all the previous heartbreak he’s been a part of:: “It’s massive for us, not only for myself, but for the club and the entire organisation. From top to bottom everybody is thrilled and they’re going to be excited for next season. Those Champions League games are new for us and it’s going to be very exciting to play against all those different teams. It’s going to be a challenge and we’ve been taking on challenges all year long and we’ll have to do that next year as well.” What does playing in those kinds of games, atmospheres and different countries do for a young player? “I think it helps you grow for sure. I don’t want to look too much into it right now because we’ve got job to do and I want to keep my mind focussed and on task and that’s making the playoffs this season and that’s taking care of business next weekend.” ERIK HURTADO Was it a happy homecoming for the former Santa Clara Bronco? “Yeah. Love playing here, I played here for three and a half years. It was a happy homecoming.” On controlling own destiny: “That’s all we want is to be in control. It’s a massive point. I’m proud of the guys to hold it out and get that point. Obviously we were trying to get the win, but a point gets us above that red line. We are in control and we’re ready for that game on Saturday.” On the overall game and performance “It was difficult out there. We battled, we fought, we ran, we played soccer at times.” On playing one final game at Buck Shaw: “It means a lot. I was praying to god thank you for giving me one last chance to play here. It was great. I have so many memories on this field and I’m going to keep them with me forever.” On clinching Champions League spot and what it would mean to him to play in it: “It’s awesome. It’s a great opportunity and when the time comes we can talk about it, but right now we’ve got to focus on our game next week.” SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES IAN RUSSELL On how it felt being the club’s interim head coach: "It felt really nice. I was happy with the player’s energy tonight. I thought they brought it tonight. I was very happy with the effort.” On defensive effort: "The whole back four was fabulous. It started with the first line and the midfield five putting pressure on Vancouver. They made it easier for the back four and I think the defence really stood out tonight. They made it very, very difficult for Vancouver.” JASON HERNANDEZ On Buck Shaw Finale draw: “I think over the last seven years we’ve played here, more often than not it’s been a tough place for opponents to win. Defensively, we’ve been solid, although we’ve let up a little this year. For our fans to come out to Buck Shaw [stadium] one last time and see us pitch another shut out make our unit proud. We’re going to miss this place. Our fans brought a ton of energy week-in and week-out, through our ups and downs. We have a lot of respect for these fans and we’re hoping they follow us into the new stadium, on to bigger and better things. We appreciate them very much.” On 2014 play: “I was third on the depth chart at the beginning of the season, but I always made sure I’d stay ready. I’ve played a lot of games for this club, I’ve seen a lot of things here and I knew I would be called to contribute. I was able to get over my injury and personal matters off the field to establish a role with this team. I gave all I could every game and personally it’s a disappointment the way our season has ended, but I am proud of the way I played and I hope the fans are too.” JON BUSCH On match: “The boys played fantastic in front of me tonight. I really didn’t have much to see from a shot perspective, which is a testament to them. We all knew that after a disappointing season we wanted to end our run at Buck Shaw with a victory against a playoff calibre team. Although we didn’t get that goal, our work ethic was unbelievable tonight and it’s fitting we end our time here with another strong defensive showing.” On favourite Buck Shaw memories: “I’ve been here for five years now so this has become home. It’s going to be sad to leave here, but at the same time it’s going to be that much more exciting to be in our new stadium. We’ve gone through a lot on this field. From the Supporter’s Shield and Goonies magic, to me being stepped on and having part of my ear torn, there was no shortage of memories made here. My favourite moments from Buck Shaw are my first start here and Ramiro Corrales being carried off of the field last season. For all of Ramiro’s service to this community, he was deservedly honoured by the team and fans. That shows this club is more than a team, it’s a family and we can’t wait to make new memories at our new home.”
  5. Carl Robinson has already indicated that the Honduran will get the start for Waston, ahead of other choices Christian Dean and Carlyle Mitchell. It's a bit of a downgrade on Waston in terms of aerial presence, but then who wouldn't be?! Leveron though bring a calm, steady and usually reliable mindset to the backline. Just what the Caps could be needing in what could be a night of hot heads in Northern California. "He's ready, he's fine," Robinson said of Leveron's return to the team. "Johnny lost his place, not because he was playing poorly but because he went away with the national team, so sometimes you get penalised for being a top quality player unfortunately. "He was playing probably as well as he's played in the last two years. Unfortunately he picked up an injury, he's come back and Andy and Kendall have done great. "Kendall being suspended is a big loss for us. Johnny is a different kind of player but I've got no worries about him stepping in. He'll be confident as always, he'll defend right and hopefully he can fit in with the team we're going to pick." There is no doubting that Vancouver will miss Waston's presence, as I covered over on MLSsoccer.com earlier in the week, but having an international player like Leveron at your disposal to replace him, is a nice luxury for Robinson to have at this key stage of the season. It may not feel like it, but Leveron has made only three fewer appearances (15 in total) for the Whitecaps this season than he did last year. Robinson had been keen to keep as settled a side as possible down the stretch. Sometimes his hand is forced, but having that settled backline the last couple of games has been important. Leveron now has to come in, readjust and settle back into the swing of things pretty quickly, with a lot on the line. The man that will be directly behind him, goalkeeper David Ousted, is unconcerned about the enforced change. "The continuity's nice and you get to learn the people in there," Ousted admitted. "But Johnny's a good player and Johnny's shown before that he can go in and fill that spot. Like I said last week with Seba out, where's there's people out, others need to step up and Johnny has to step up now and we know he can do that." His centre half partner Andy O'Brien has been getting used to partner swapping these past two seasons, but O'Brien and Leveron have played multiple games together now and know each other's game inside out. "I played with Johnny before so hopefully we can get back in the groove we had prior to Kendall coming in," O'Brien told reporters at training. "That's what we've done well in recent weeks, the relationships across the whole team. Not only in the 11 that have started but the whole 18 squad and the guys that are not involved. They may have played together before, but defenders get a familiarity built up with each other. How they're going to play and move and pass. O'Brien has had that with Waston over the last eight games, so what kind of extra challenge does having to adjust to a new partner pose for the veteran? "It is different," O'Brien admitted to AFTN. "They're very different players in terms of their style. As I've said before, it sometimes isn't who you're playing with but who you're playing against and what do you need to do to counteract what they're doing. "I think there's a real team ethic that even if you're marking but you can intercept the ball, don't think you're happy enough just doing your job. Guys are filling in and there's been times where I've been playing a little bit higher than I normally would do, but guys are filling in. Whether it be a full back or whether it be Rusty, and likewise if strikers drop short the pocket in front of us is getting well protected in terms of the defensive screening. "Sometimes you have to do other people's jobs and I think a lot of the guys are doing that and when they are doing that, other lads are filling in, so it's working well." Exactly how much the Caps will be tested by the Quakes tonight is the unknown commodity. San Jose are a bit of a shambles of a team at the moment. A 13 game winless streak, two goals in their last four games, they've just sacked their manager and looked woefully out of form the last couple of matches. Can they find the scoresheet no matter who is playing in the defence? Can the Caps? 0-0 would do the job! There's always a danger going in to a game like this that last weeks heroics against Seattle could lead to a flatter performance against a weaker team. We have seen it all season from Vancouver. Having the pressure of knowing that they have to come away with at least a point is another factor as well. Robinson knows the pitfalls and admits to a little apprehension. "For me, this is a more difficult game than against Seattle away," Robinson told reporters. "At Seattle, no-one expects anything from us, obviously everybody expects us to go there [to San Jose] and get a result. But all the information we're getting out of San Jose is that they've nothing to lose. They're fighting for contracts those players. Dominic's going to be going in for next season, so they're going to be wanting to prove a point to him." The Whitecaps themselves would no doubt settle for a point tonight. But if they can get all three, then next week is set to be a barnstorming season finale. To get there, the defence will likely be the key. So keep calm and Leveron.
  6. Have a listen! You can listen to this week's podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we've joined Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 15,000 shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
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