Good Monday morning Caps fans. Hope your weekend was relaxing and restful and that your workweek is fruitful and productive.
It was not a fruitful work trip for Vancouver to Portland on Saturday, with the unbeaten run finally ending with a 3-1 loss to their Cascadia Cup rivals. Some sketchy defending undid the Caps, as did some admittedly splendid play from the Timbers’ playmaker, Evander.
Usually I do some sort of exposition on the ramifications of whatever match just happened. In this case, I don’t think there is a ton to break down — it was simply a poor performance but it also came on the heels of a long midweek trip and a run of much more promising results.
The defending has been inconsistent ever since the shutout streak ended, between the two goals conceded to allow Minnesota United back in the match and the three shipped to Portland Saturday. But the Portland goals were helped along by a rare off night for Andres Cubas, which doesn’t seem likely to repeat itself on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, the attack is still crying out for someone to consistently seize the initiative. That wasn’t Sergio Cordova on Saturday, though he had moments of promise returning to the lineup from injury. The “cross and inshallah” strategy is not a real good one long term but, as I wrote in the post-match, I felt it worked on Saturday — but for the missed free headers in the box that should have been goals.
The larger concern is that only three of the Caps’ 14 points have come away from BC Place, though this is hardly a concern unique to Vancouver. Portland, for instance, has gotten only four points (out of 15) away from home; for Houston it is two (out of 14). Even San Jose has gotten only two out of their 18 points on the road, with their signature win over LAFC coming at a neutral site.
Simply put, MLS is predicated on winning your matches at home and seeing what you can scrape on the road. So far, the Caps have done an OK job of this, though the draws against LA Galaxy and Austin are looking like worse results than we might have thought at the time (while the win over Montreal has aged well). And it isn’t like they’re losing ground to their peer teams on this front.
But if Vancouver wants to get over the hump, past the teams scraping for a playoff spot and into the next tier, getting more out of their road matches will be important. They get a golden opportunity to do so against FC Dallas on Wednesday, a team they got a rather unspectacular draw against at BC Place earlier this season. The Hoops have since risen to fourth in the Western Conference and it will be a good measuring stick for how far the Caps have come in that time as well.
Shameless Self Promotion
If you want a deeper look at the 3-1 loss to Portland, well, look no further.
Best of the Rest
The Whitecaps 2 side mirrored their senior squad counterparts, losing 3-1 to the Timbers’ 2 side on Sunday. Levonte Johnson continued his goal scoring streak, however.
Pacific FC battered York United 4-1 on Sunday, in a battle of former and current Voyageurs Cup opponents
If you’ve yet to try Apple’s MLS streaming service, they are offering a month-long free trial. Make of that development what you will.