Happy Monday Caps fans, hope you all had a relaxing weekend and that, if you or your loved ones are in central BC, you are safe and secure amid the ongoing wildfires.
MLS is officially back, back again and its time to get mentally prepared for a frantic run in. The Caps whiffed on a golden opportunity to pick up points against a top playoff rival, falling 1-0 to San Jose Earthquakes at BC Place on a match where the home side was left to rue a wasteful first 45 minutes and a stilted final 45 minutes.
There were certainly positives. The Caps created enough chances to be two or three goals clear of the Quakes by the time Cristian Espinoza tallied his 12th of the year on a picture perfect counter-attack off a broken set piece. But some vital saves by Daniel and some missed chances or ill-timed decisions left the Caps wanting.
Richie Laryea and Sam Adekugbe both made their debuts, pulling a split shift in a nod to their lack of match sharpness. Both looked like the kinds of players the Caps envisioned when they signed them. Laryea and Sergio Cordova combined for a dangerous right side that caused the San Jose backline problems and while there were a couple passes and touches that could have been better, the danger is clear for the former Toronto man.
Adekugbe looked equally solid and actually nearly provided the equalizer off a lovely free kick that smacked the upright. He had some fine defensive moments when the Quakes moved forward and looked more dangerous than I expected on the attack. He also clearly needs time to get settled in and had a couple of slips trying to get reacquainted with BC Place’s turf. Oh, our sweet summer child.
The unavailability of Ryan Gauld to start due to injury was certainly not ideal and I thought Vanni Sartini waited too long to introduced Ali Ahmed, which complicated the Caps’ efforts to undo the Quakes, who frustrated the Caps basically the entire second half.
But, in truth, this was one where the Caps were generally unlucky, aside from the Quakes goal when basically everyone involved was caught out-of-position and too far forward. Expected goals in this clearly favored the Caps, though you ultimately have to put the ball over the line for it too count and the second half was just too predictable.
It was a bad time for the team’s luck to sputter out. Dropping points to a direct playoff rival at home, particularly in this fashion, is something that we all may well look back on in pain later this season. That is especially true as the Caps head off on their marathon road trip, hanging on barely above the playoff line.
The new additions will lead to some optimism that the Caps can reverse their mediocre road form, given that both Laryea and Adekugbe had positive debuts. But the pressure is certainly now.
Shameless Self Promotion
More on Sunday’s disappointing return to MLS action in the post match recap from our man at BC Place, Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic.
Best of the Rest
The Caps placed Thomas Hasal on the season ending injury list, marking the end of a rough campaign for the youngster, who may not be back in Vancouver next year
The Canadian Men’s National Team ripped the federation’s decision not to hold any September friendlies as a form of financial coercion
Vancouver FC nabbed their first inter-BC derby win against Pacific on Sunday in a 3-2 goalfest
With a promising (yet unheralded) newcomer from Argentina, Inter Miami claimed Leagues Cup in a PK shootout against Nashville on Saturday
(Image Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps FC)