Highlights from yesterday’s match.
It was a closely watched nail-biter Sunday afternoon as Vancouver Whitecaps FC battled Chivas USA to a 2-2 draw, after facing the possibility of a third straight loss for much of the match.
In the beginning, it was like bad déjà vu as the Whitecaps watched the away team open up scoring at BC Place. Three minutes after kickoff, Chivas found itself up one-nil thanks to a blistering albeit talented overhead kick from young striker Erick Torres (on loan from Chivas Guadalajara). Torres would later tally his second of the game with a head-ball past David Ousted in the fourteenth minute. For the rest of the first half, the Whitecaps seemed to revert from an offense mindset to a survival one, failing to capitalize on a scarce few opportunities to score. Credit must be given in fairness however to Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s performance, whose at times acrobatic skills showed why he currently leads the MLS in saves.
Have a Ball
Once again, the Whitecaps were able to maintain good possession overall, but as many will be quick to point out, possession does not do much if the team fails to produce more chances for scoring. That being said, midfield appeared to have been in better playing form than in the past couple of matches. Seeing Daigo Kobayashi actually step up and be a bit more active and involved was reassuring, and Gershon Koffie showed he belongs in the midfield, opening up scoring for the Whitecaps in the sixty-forth minute. Tommy Heinemann also got a chance to showcase his talent from a season in the Whitecaps Reserves by scoring the equalizer in stoppage time to a thunderous ovation from fans.
Overall, it was a decent performance in midfield— not a great one perhaps, but a step in the right direction.
One other name on the Whitecaps roster deserves some attention. Kekuta Manneh got his third start of the season, and if his performance on the pitch was but a sample of his talent and potential, the future can only look bright for the young Gambian native houses. Although failing to find the back of the net, Manneh did have several great chances throughout the match, playing alongside Kenny Miller and Camilo, taking Russell Teibert’s spot (who was moved to the right midfield to fill in the void left by a suspended Nigel Reo-Coker). His furious footwork also helped in the setup and eventual execution of Vancouver’s badly needed goals in the second half. While some may feel it premature to be pencilling Manneh into the starting eleven on a more regular basis, after his performance on Sunday, it would not be a surprise to see number 23 getting more playing time in the near future.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Something is better than nothing, so the old saying goes and indeed a draw is better than a loss. That being said, the outlook for the playoffs is no brighter after Sunday’s match. Currently, the Whitecaps have thirty-six points and are sitting fifth in the Western Conference, though the argument could be made that it’s technically sixth place due to Colorado and Portland being tied for fourth.
The Whitecaps now head out on a three-game road trip, facing two Western Conference rivals along the way. If it was not do-or-die time for the ‘Caps before Sunday’s kickoff, it is now. One bad game could spell the end of the team’s post-season dreams. Hope has not been cast aside yet, there’s still almost two months left in the season. Fans everywhere will have to sit and wait with crossed fingers and hope that the Whitecaps winning ways will return and fast.