The Vancouver Whitecaps earned their first win of the season versus LAFC at BC Place on Wednesday with an impressive, if tad nervy, 1-0 win.
The second half was a little too “every hand on deck in defence” for anybody’s genuine liking but there were enough positives about the whole performance to convince that this team is still very much a work in progress rather than regress.
The front three of Reyna , Venuto and PC provided far more movement than we have seen thus far this season and Reyna gave easily the most accomplished central striker performance of the campaign. Winning headers, holding up the ball and linking well with his teammates.
And the insertion of In-Beom for Felipe in the centre of midfield gave the forward three much needed support (and produced an actual goal form an actual midfielder).
Ali Adnan was great again at left back and Jake Nerwinski had his best game of the year at right back.
And while it may be too soon to say that Henry and Godoy are becoming a reliable central defensive pairing they do at least provide a degree of comfort for the anxious viewer. With Godoy in particular being the unsung hero. Henry may be all last ditch clearances and rash tackles but Godoy has an ability to simply ease through the game unnoticed.
And a word for Jon Erice too.
The captain was subbed with about ten minutes to go and immediately became an additional coach on the bench, constantly leaping up to direct teammates where to run and who to close down.
In fact, the animation of the whole bench gave an indication of just how important this win was for the team; a psychological barrier overcome for sure.
If we wanted to be critical (and of course we do) we could point out the lack of composure in possession as the pressure increased, but that desperate desire for the first three points can be taken as a mitigating factor in this instance
And, once again, more clinical finishing would have made the game far less stressful for all concerned.
But this performance felt like something to really build on and we can all finally exhale with relief at seeing Marc Dos Santos obtain his first victory as coach of the Caps
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Crepeau-6, Nerwinski-6, Adnan-6.5, Godoy-6.5, Henry-5.5, Ereice-5.5, Teibert-5.5, In-Beom-5.5, PC-5.5, Venuto-5.5, Reyna-6.5*