What comes up, must come down – as is always the case with the Vancouver Whitecaps. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to why their form resembles a pendulum so often, going from a good result to bad result on a whim. It’s an exciting but frustrating ride, and the game against Sporting Kansas City was no different. The Whitecaps struggled at times in what felt like an uphill climb at home.
There were questions from the outset as the lineup was revealed, with the midfield looking a little thin, and the return of White as an attacking midfielder in order to facilitate Sergio Cordova. This change brought with it a trickle down effect to the rest of the lineup, as Vite was moved into the midfield, leaving almost all of the defensive midfield play on Andres Cubas’ shoulders.
This area was the place where the Whitecaps suffered the most, as the roles of each player were all jumbled up. There was certainly a lack of cohesion in the first half, as the Whitecaps struggled to find answers to Sporting’s early goal, even though general attacking play was quite positive. A disallowed goal from Gauld aside, this match was begging for a change of tactics early on. It was obvious that one of the two strikers had to come off for this Whitecaps team to succeed, but there wasn’t one player in particular who looked worse than another. White was more on the pace, as is usually the case, but Cordova did have some dangerous chances, and his header even looked like it could have broken his goal-scoring drought. Either way, by keeping them both on the field, the Whitecaps weren’t able to improve much early on.
In the second half, however, the Whitecaps improved tremendously. Surprising star Luis Martins played impressively in a position that’s looked to be Ryan Raposo’s to lose at many times this season. He placed in precise passes and put in the best crosses of the match. Not only was the Whitecaps’ attacking play better in the second half, but the midfield was able to control the game and thus retain more possession. There were no shortage of attacks, but the problem was that the Whitecaps could not put their efforts on target, as they had only one shot that posed a true threat through the first 80 minutes.
Finally in the late stages, the Whitecaps did end up with a scoring opportunity, as Deiber Caicedo drew a penalty which Gauld converted. While SKC was hard to break down on the night, the Whitecaps showed dominance in the closing minutes of this match, which was good to see. You get the feeling the Whitecaps could have taken more out of this match, and that is a refreshing feeling, yet it also leaves some disappointment from dropping two points at home.
Vancouver won’t have time to dwell on this match, as they have the most important fixture of their season midweek, taking on CF Montreal to retain the Voyageurs Cup Trophy.
Are frustrated with the result of this one, or looking forward to Wednesday? Sound off in the comments below.