Post Match: Hey, a Win!

The Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the Portland Timbers to earn their 3rd road win of the season and kick their giant road trip off to a great start. The match was mostly under control for Vancouver until a late push saw Portland make things interesting.

Overall I think this was a great road game. For much of the game, Vancouver did the good kind of bunkering. Portland had most of the ball but they did not have much success at all in terms of generating shots. The Timbers were pretty effective at using the narrow pitch to press Vancouver and force the ‘Caps into long balls. But when they won the ball back they didn’t have any ideas about how to break Vancouver down (though they would eventually start to find some success, of course). Vancouver looked deadly in transitions. Adekugbe and Lareya were quite effective at stretching the pitch and opening up channels for Gauld, Ahmed, and Schopf to move into. This is very encouraging to see, as Vancouver has hitched their wagon to the idea that these guys are going to be major difference-makers.

After Vancouver went up 3-1, things started to change a bit. The commentary team was suggesting that things had started to go Portland’s way after their first goal. But I think that’s a misreading of the situation. Portland happened to score a goal, yes, but in terms of breaking Vancouver down they weren’t really doing anything different from before and they didn’t start creating clear-cut chances until about the 75th minute. Where Portland started to do real damage was when they exploited the space between Vancouver’s centre-backs and wing-backs and then cut the ball back to Evander. Evander, who was a bit lucky to not get sent off for persistent fouling, had 5 shots in the game and racked up 1.13 xG (that’s a lot for one game). With Cubas as the only defensive midfielder and the rest of the midfield all playing quite aggressively, cutbacks to trailing runners might be an area of weakness for the 3-1-4-2.

Overall though, the ‘Caps looked really solid until score effects kicked in. If they keep playing like this they have a good chance of picking up more wins on their road trip. Next up is the Chicago Fire, who have the second-worst home-expected goal differential in the entire league. Although Vancouver will be without Andres Cubas due to yellow card accumulation. Chicago played away to the LA Galaxy (they lost 3-0) today so the teams will have similar travel and squad fitness situations.

4 thoughts on “Post Match: Hey, a Win!

  1. We were out shot, out possessed and out passed but still win LOL. I’ll take it. Smash and grab or not, it’s still 3 points.

    1. Hmmm. Really didn’t view this as a smash and grab, myself. First half Portland was (surprisingly) outshot and outscored and didn’t have a single shot on goal despite their possession ie: perfect road game.

      I expected a Portland rally in the second half anticipating Adekugbe and Laryea becoming increasingly tired (glad to see Gauld not pulling up lame) and it easily could have ended up a draw with the heat the Timbers generated late but, on the other hand, the ‘Caps had a couple chances as well and, while the final tally had PTFC doubling up on shots, shots on goal ended up 9-7, which looked about right. I think they did quite well on duels and 1 on 1’s, a good measure of their levels.

      Not a convincing thumping but a decent representation of a passionate Cascadia match with Vancouver eking out the away win. Job done.

Join the Conversation!