Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 vs 0 LA Galaxy
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-1D) were more than fortunate to escape from their game against the LA Galaxy (2W-1L-1D) on Saturday night at BC Place with a point.
Already without striker Masato Kudo who was retroactively suspended by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for an “embellishment” against the Houston Dynamo, things got worse for the ‘Caps as Andrew Jacobson was forced to come on as a substitute for captain Pedro Morales in the 19th minute, after Morales picked up a left hip strain from a collision with Daniel Steres.
The game went from bad to worse soon after, as Matias Laba was shown red from referee Jair Marrufo after a challenge on Mike Magee, that did not appear to warrant a sending off. It looked like Marrufo was about to reach for his front pocket for a yellow card, but after incredibly unprofessional hounding by LA Galaxy players, Laba was sent off. Whitecaps supporters were shocked by the call and Magee was booed by Whitecaps faithful for the remainder of the game.
Just when it seemed like the worst was over for Vancouver, Kekuta Manneh aggravated his ankle injury from the 2015 Playoffs, and was forced off with Christian Bolanos coming on as his replacement in the 43rd minute.
Fortunately for the ‘Caps, the backline and David Ousted stood tall as they guided the club to their second clean sheet of the season. Ousted made some huge saves, and the centreback pairing of Kendall Waston and Tim Parker, fresh off of strong international performances were big. Jordan Harvey also played well at left-back, while confidence in young Canadian right-back Fraser Aird grows. Aird made a couple of defensive errors over the course of the game, but seemed to be showing signs of improvement, especially with the quality of his offensive crosses.
A major concern for the Whitecaps, however, is the challenges they’re facing finding the back of the net. Despite Robinson using a two-striker formation again with Nicolas Mezquida and Octavio Rivero up top, Vancouver still failed to get on the score sheet from the run of play, and with no penalties given, the ‘Caps were unable to score. Rivero seems to not be living up to his Designated Player paycheque, as he had a quiet game before being substituted off for Blas Perez in the 74th minute. If Rivero wants to stay a Whitecap, he needs to start scoring.
The biggest talking point of the game was, without a doubt, the red card to Laba. Whitecaps supporters and players alike blasted the call with Kendall Waston, notable for his strong challenges, going as far as saying, “I don’t understand MLS rules. Tackles are in football. Do they want us to be kids playing with Barbies?” The combination of the string of retroactive suspensions MLS has been handing out influencing referees decisions, as well as the fact that the lobbying by Galaxy players to have Laba sent off, appeared to factor in the referee’s decision is farcical. If MLS wants to be respected as a legitimate league, they need to let the players play, and not eject players for challenges such as Laba’s.
The Whitecaps continue their MLS season on Saturday, April 9th at 2:30 PM as they take on D.C. United on the road. Christian Dean, Russell Teibert, and Kianz Froese remain out with injuries and it is unknown if they will play, while Morales and Manneh’s conditions have yet to be announced.
Starting XI and Substitutes:
Substitutes: Jacobson for Morales (19’), Bolanos for Manneh (43’), Perez for Rivero (74’)
Unused Substitutes: Tornaghi, Adekugbe (CAN), Bustos (CAN), Kah
(CAN) – Canadian
Whitecaps FC 2 3 vs 1 Timbers 2
Whitecaps FC 2 (2W-0L-0D) were dominate at Merlo Field in Portland on Saturday as they took down Cascadia rivals Timbers 2 (0W-2L-0D) by a margin of 3-1 to remain perfect in USL play in 2016.
WFC2 built on their victory against the Orange County Blues with the return of players from international duty, and the addition of centreback Cole Seiler, the Whitecaps 2016 first round SuperDraft pick, and homegrown player Ben McKendry on loan from the senior team.
The match featured the professional debuts of Canadians Matthew Baldisimo, Kadin Chung, and Alphonso Davies, as well as American Seiler. It was especially notable for Davies as at only 15-years-old, he became the youngest player in the USL.
All four debutants played well, but it was Daniel Haber who stole the show, as he scored a brace in the second half to lead the Thundercaps to victory over Timbers 2. Meanwhile, the first goal of the game came from the penalty spot, as Brett Levis drew a foul in the box, allowing striker Kyle Grieg to slot the penalty away for his second goal in as many games.
Head coach Alan Koch raised some eyebrows by starting goalkeeper Spencer Richey in place of Canadian Sean Melvin who earned a clean sheet last week against the Blues, but Richey played well, despite allowing a stoppable shot to deny him his clean sheet. It will be interesting to see how the goalkeeping saga plays out for WFC2 with Melvin and Richey both serving as capable keepers for the baby ‘Caps, and senior team goalkeeper Marco Carducci looking for minutes after being pushed out of the backup job for the Whitecaps after the last-minute re-signing of Paolo Tornaghi.
2016 already looks like an incredibly positive season for the baby ‘Caps, after starting 2-0-0 with a talented team and incredibly capable loanees from the senior team ready to come down at a moment’s notice. They’ll face a challenge next week in their home opener on Sunday, April 10th at 3 PM, as the strong Sacramento Republic come to Thunderbird Stadium, but expect Alan Koch’s young and talented team to put in another strong performance.
Starting XI and Substitutes:
Substitutes: Frano (CAN) for Baldismo (CAN) (62’), McKendry (CAN) (SR) for Gardner (CAN) (70’), Serban (CAN) for Levis (CAN) (83’), Campbell (CAN) for Davies (CAN) (87’)
Unused Substitutes: Melvin (CAN), Farmer (CAN), Haynes (CAN)
(CAN) – Canadian
(SR) – Loanee from Whitecaps