It turns out that money can buy happiness, or at least three points on the road in BC Place. In the opening game of the season for the two Canadian sides, Toronto FC took complete control of the second half in their 3-1 victory over the Whitecaps. Despite new Uruguayan Designated Player Octavio Rivero’s goal to open the scoring in the nineteenth minute, the ‘Caps could not fend off the newly rejuvenated TFC, as former Sunderland man Jozy Altidore scored a brace to lead his new team to victory.
Despite the loss, the Whitecaps managed to outplay Toronto over the ninety minutes, holding just over fifty percent of the possession, and managing to get more shots on goal than their eastern counterparts. The first half performance was promising from the boys in white, but their failure to see out the second half is what allowed TFC to leave with all three points. But the biggest problem for the ‘Caps was their failure to find the back of the net. Whether Rivero missing the sitter in front of Bendik’s goal in the eight minute was a case of nerves or unfamiliarity with the turf, it will likely weigh heavily on the young player’s mind. Manneh also came close multiple times, but failed to capitalize on his chances. It is obvious Robinson will spend some time on the training ground this week with the boys working on their finishing
New signing from the Portland Timbers, Pa-Modou Kah, was disappointing in his debut with the ‘Caps tonight. He showed his undisciplined side in the ninetieth minute when he fouled Altidore in the box, picking up a yellow card, and giving Altidore the opportunity for a cheeky chip over Ousted’s head. He also made a huge mistake along with Kendall Waston and Jordan Harvey on Toronto’s second goal, allowing Findley to score an easy one to make it 2-1 for TFC. After Kah’s disappointing performance, it is time to allow loanee Diego Rodriguez a shot against Chicago, and for Robinson to let Kah know playing like that is unacceptable.
Whitecaps Starting XI and Substitutes:
Robinson opted to go with an unsurprising 4-2-3-1 formation against TFC, with a similar lineup to the one fielded against Chicago, but Rosales replaced Mezquida on the right-wing. Ousted started in goal for the ‘Caps with a back four of Beitashour, Waston, Kah, and Harvey in front of him. Matias Laba and Canadian Russell Teibert held down the rear half of the midfield for the majority of the game, while Rosales, Morales, and Manneh started as attacking midfielders. Finally, new addition and goal-scorer Octavio Rivero led the attack as a lone striker for most of the game. After Findley’s goal to put TFC up 2-1, the Welsh manager opted to make two changes, Gershon Koffie on for Teibert in the midfield, and Mattocks on for Rosales. Due to the addition of Mattocks, Manneh was shuffled over to the right, while the Jamaican took up the left. The final substitution in the eighty-third minute prompted a change in formation for the Whitecaps, as Hurtado replaced Laba, and became the second striker as the team shifted to a 4-4-2.
Whitecaps Man of the Match: Kekuta Manneh
While Rivero scored the lone goal of the game for the Whitecaps, the young Gambian was the best player on the field in white. Wearing ‘Kekuta’ on the back of his shirt, the twenty year-old was the quickest player on the field, and had multiple attempts on Bendik over the course of the game. Despite never finding the back of goal, Manneh had many breakaways and one-on-ones with TFC and came close to capitalizing on his attempts. Provided more work on his finishing, Manneh with his speed can become one of the top players in the MLS.