Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a restful weekend and are ready to go for the week ahead.
It was a productive weekend for the Caps, who kicked off their road trip with a 3-2 win over Portland. Despite concerns in this column on Friday that the vibes were bad and the fear that the Timbers would be in line for a new manager bump, the home side looked lost in the first half and couldn’t quite come up with enough in the second to overcome a two-goal deficit on two separate occasions, though they did trim the lead.
The upshot of the result is it moves the Caps up a position in the standings and, most importantly, means they can guarantee themselves the Cascadia Cup with a win in Seattle in a couple of weeks’ time. Seattle hasn’t quite been at their usual heights (Portland certainly hasn’t) but it would still be quite an accomplishment and one that would be deserved for the Caps.
It has to be said that the win on Saturday didn’t come easily. The Caps were somewhat fortunate to earn a penalty (thanks to some excellent work by Richie Laryea, who was as good as advertised all match) right at the moment where their grip on the match was starting to slip and the two-goal lead they worked in the first 45 minutes looked to not be enough.
Fortunately, that penalty bought them some space and deflated Portland, who looked predictable again until Evander pulled one back again.
Seeing out matches has been a difficult task for the Caps at times this season, something discussed repeatedly in this column. Whether it was the win against a 10 man LA Galaxy last month or their 3-2 win over Minnesota earlier this year, the Caps have been shaky from winning positions and while they have generally been able to hang on, it seems like we are bound for more games like their defeat to Seattle at BC Place, where a much needed result slips away.
In part, this is a simple inevitability of MLS. But it means that Vanni Sartini must be focused on getting his subs right late in games (Russell Teibert to close out a match? Maybe not the best idea).
If the Caps keep getting performances from Sam Adekugbe and Richie Laryea like they have, things will be fine. And credit to Yohei Takaoka for a gutsy performance. It may not have been his best of the season but to carry on and remain focused in front of goal after a painful save, where his fingertips were bent back, in his most pivotal moment of the match.
Or maybe they’ll just keep being the Cardiac Caps. We’re surely all used to it at this point.
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