Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all are recovering from a nice weekend and are mentally prepared for August to be here because, like it or not, its coming.
I have noted my ambivalence for Leagues Cup before in this column and I have to say, after Ranko Veselinovic exited Sunday’s clash with LA Galaxy with a right knee contusion, the notion of a rest for the boys was pretty appealing.
So, naturally, the Caps were able to turn a fairly uninspiring performance around late in the second half, first grabbing an equalizer off an own goal and then a late winner, polished off by Brian White after a half chance was flicked on his way.
The Galaxy were certainly the better side in this one, in part due to the individual brilliance of Riqui Puig. But they weren’t able to get a second goal and, particularly in the second half, were no better at creating clear-cut chances than the Caps, despite the lion’s share of possession.
There is a lot to be said for sneaking a win when you’re not at your best. And if we think of Leagues Cup as a dry run for the playoffs (which is probably the most charitable way to approach it at this point), then it was encouraging to see Vancouver not saying die and making the most of what they were dealt, particularly after a pair of centerbacks picked up injuries (Luis Martins was yanked from the XI after a warmup injury).
And it is nice to know that some of your depth pieces can step up when needed. I was less than impressed with Ryan Raposo and Mathias Laborda in this one but JC Ngando put in a second straight solid performance in midfield. Whitecaps 2 regulars Isaac Boehmer and Karifa Yao did what was needed when called upon to spell starters because of injury or fatigue (Boehmer in particular looked composed and made a big save late to deny the Galaxy a second goal).
The Caps deserved to advance on the balance and because of that, I am glad they did. And because they are in the knockout stages, might as well give it a shot against Tigres in the next round.
This is for symbolic purposes as much as anything — the Caps were overpowered against the Mexican giant in the CCL when the two teams last met but, as we saw against Leon, this is a different team and one that will be less liable to get steamrolled by one of the top teams in North America. Not saying the Caps are on the same level as Tigres but it isn’t inconceivable that in one match they could pull off an upset.
And, worst case scenario, you still earn a couple weeks of rest before the run-in and a chance to get back up to full health.
Shameless Self Promotion
In case you missed the match and want to avoid rewatching a fairly uninteresting affair, our post match has you covered.
Best of the Rest
The notion of another date with Tigres appears to be energizing news for the Caps after their late winner
Canada was eliminated from the Women’s World Cup Monday after falling 4-0 to Australia
Swangard Stadium is due for some renovations and there are a few different options for the future of the Whitecaps 2 facility
Carlos Vela says he is nearing retirement — a loss for the league but good news for the Whitecaps, as now LAFC can find someone else to torment us