Despite only being signed on Wednesday, recently-retired Welsh international, Robert Earnshaw, made an immediate impact for the Whitecaps scoring the winning goal in the ninetieth minute, propelling the ‘Caps to a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers. In a historic win, the goals from Nicolas Mezquida and Earnshaw led the boys in white to their first home win over the Timbers in the MLS era.
Although the Whitecaps were handicapped by the injury to Mauro Rosales, the suspensions to Kekuta Manneh and Diego Rodriguez, and international call-ups to Russell Teibert, Darren Mattocks, and Christian Dean, they still succeeded in earning another three points, to put them at nine points for the season.
Although the Timbers had the lion’s share of the shots and possession, at 15 and 65.7% respectively, keeper David Ousted bailed the ‘Caps out again, making a number of huge saves over the course of the game. Ousted is often the unsung hero for the Whitecaps, but fully deserves his title of Northern Starting XI Man of the Match for his performance against Portland.
A pleasant surprise that came for Whitecaps supporters just before the game was the announcement than Sam Adekugbe would be starting in his usual position of left-back. Adekugbe was kicked in the chest last week by former Timbers’ keeper Donavan Ricketts, and pulled out of international duty due to bruised ribs. Despite the injury, Adekugbe was able to start for the ‘Caps today, playing the full ninety minutes. Although he was able to play, he looked sensitive at times, such as when he was knocked over the signage behind the goal. Despite playing, he is out of contention for the Men’s National Team match against Puerto Rico on Monday.
One issue I have often stressed this season is the number of yellow cards the team has been collecting. With another three yellow cards being shown to Koffie, Beitashour, and Waston against Portland, it brings the season total up to fourteen yellow cards in four games. However, Robinson looks prepared for suspensions this year, bringing in extra depth such as goal-scorer Robert Earnshaw, and looking to bring in further depth such as Cristian Techera, a left-winger from Uruguay. It is notable that Robinson is looking into another South American player, with the Whitecaps already possessing six South American players, as well as a smattering of Central Americans.
Unused Subs: Paulo Tornaghi, Jordan Harvey, Tim Parker, Ethen SampsonSuper Subs: Kianz Froese for Nicolas Mezquida (58′), Deybi Flores for Gershon Koffie (72′), Robert Earnshaw for Erik Hurtado (87′)
Northern Starting XI Man of the Match: David Ousted
The Great Dane easily deserves credit for stealing the ‘Caps the three points in the close game against the Timbers. If it weren’t for his diving saves, Portland and their travelling fans could easily have travelled back home with a win. Ousted was not at fault for the goal he did let in, having already made a huge save, before Adi slotted in the rebound. Above his amazing saves, the control the Danish keeper has over his back-line is astounding. He knows how to utilize centre-backs line Waston and Kah to shut down the opposition, but has proven he can make big saves if necessary. Finally, Ousted is talented in the air too, using his 6’3″ frame to pull balls out of the air, especially on corners. His talent on shutting down corners came in handy against the Timbers, as the Whitecaps gave up 7 corners over the course of the game
Cascadia Cup Table:
In the first game of the 2015 Cascadia Cup, the ‘Caps jumped out to an early lead in the table. The next Cascadia Cup game will be in Seattle on April 26th between the Timbers and Sounders. The Whitecaps will face-off against the Timbers again in Portland on May 2nd, before their first game against the Sounders at BC Place on May 16th.
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