The Vancouver Whitecaps (5W-2D-3L) were fortunate to leave Providence Park on Saturday night with one point, after a 0-0 draw against the Portland Timbers (2W-4D-3L).
The first bit of fortune came for the ‘Caps in the 30th minute when a controversial penalty was called on Pa-Modou Kah from a handball. From the replays, it appeared that Kah tried to tuck his hands in behind his body, but the ball hit his elbow. While the penalty was not fortunate, the result was, as Darlington Nagbe sent David Ousted the wrong direction, but hit the post.
During a halftime interview, Kah created controversy and was blasted by Whitecaps supporters for a racially motivated comment. When asked about the handball Kah responded, “Probably somebody can’t see the difference between my leg and my arm, because, you know, I’m black.”
However, after questioning from Whitecaps journalist Marc Weber after the game, Kah explained himself saying, “I know there’s a lot of things going on in America but for me it was a joke, nothing more… So, if people want to blow up Twitter and all these things, it’s unnecessary. For me, I don’t see colour. I don’t see no race… For me, every human being is equal, so there’s nothing to talk about. It was just a fun comment.”
Despite the lack of offence from the ‘Caps as they finished the game with only two shots on target, the Whitecaps back line stood tall only allowing one Timbers’ shot on target, en route to Ousted’s fifth clean sheet only ten games into the MLS season.
Kendall Waston was the best player on the field for the Whitecaps on Saturday, neutralizing the Timbers’ attack, while going his third straight game without a yellow card. After being on the verge of suspension for yellow card accumulation, Waston had one expunged from his record after good behaviour. With Diego Rodriguez still out injured and Kah’s unpredictability, Whitecaps supporters will be please to know the big Costa Rican will remain in the lineup for a couple more games without suspension at the least
Possession remained an issue for the ‘Caps against Portland, however, only spending 35.2% of the game with the ball. When the opposition controls almost two-thirds of the possession during a game, it is difficult to create offensive opportunities and score goals.
A lot of Whitecaps supporters also questioned head coach Carl Robinson’s final substitution of the game. With Robert Earnshaw, who scored the game winning goal coming off the bench in the last game against Portland, still at his disposal on the bench, Robinson instead opted to go with defender Tim Parker to replace Ethen Sampson. With the final substitution coming in the 88th minute, it looked like Robinson was playing for the draw instead of trying to take the full three points home.
Fortunately, with the draw, the Whitecaps remain first in the Cascadia Cup standings, one point ahead of the Seattle Sounders who the Whitecaps will face off with on May 16th.
The Whitecaps will not have much of a break, as they prepare for FC Edmonton at Clarke Field on Wednesday in their opening game of the Canadian Championship. Edmonton, the NASL side, qualified for the next round against the ‘Caps by defeating the Ottawa Fury 6-2 on aggregate. With USL players unavailable for selection by Robinson, the Welsh head coach will need to use the full depth of his MLS side. Expect to see many Canadians starring in the match such as keeper Marco Carducci.
The next MLS match for the ‘Caps will be back at home against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, May 9th. Expect to see Matias Laba, Steven Beitashour, and Sam Adekugbe back in the starting eleven for the side when the Union come to town.
Super Substitutes: Kekuta Manneh for Darren Mattocks (58′), Nicolas Mezquida for Mauro Rosales (78′), Tim Parker for Ethen Sampson (88′)
Unused Substitutes: Paolo Tornaghi, Cristian Techera, Deybi Flores, Robert Earnshaw
Portland Timbers Starting Eleven and Substitutes:
Super Substitutes: Diego Valeri for Ishmael Yartey (52′), Fanendo Adi for Maximiliano Urruti (66′), Gaston Fernandez for Rodney Wallace (78′)
Unused Substitutes: Andrew Weber, Jeanderson, Norberto Paparatto, George Fochive