Vancouver Whitecaps survive the Rapids

Well at least it was three points.

But there can’t have been many of the sell out twenty-eight thousand crowd who left The Lenarduzzi Waterfront Stadium feeling a sense that all was now well with their team.

Because Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids was another one of those home performances by the Whitecaps. A tepid opening, the occasional burst of energy and then a sense of hanging on to a lead rather than protecting it.

There was a crushing inevitability about how the visitors opened the scoring in the sixteenth minute as Nicolas Mezquida crossed for Kei Kamara to head home.

But at least the move to 4-3-3, with Janio Bikel protecting the back four, gave Vancouver a semblance of cohesion. But neither Teibert nor In-Beom seemed able (or willing) to use that presence as an excuse to get forward with more regularity.

That reticence is understandable in Teibert,  a player who has never seen a halfway line he wants to cross, but In-Beom’s reluctance is less comprehensible.

After the game Marc Dos Santos said that getting the midfield to support the front three was something they had been working on in training all week, but we can clearly designate that work as “in progress” rather than “complete”.

Somehow the Whitecaps got to the break level when Andy Rose headed home In-Beom’s corner and, although they didn’t exactly come out all guns blazing in the second half, there was at least more intent to the Whitecaps’ play with the main positives being the wide men.

The trickiness of Milinkovic and the pace of Dajome consistently caused Colorado problems and it was Dajome’s drive into the box that won the penalty kick that Ali Adnan panenkad home.

Truth be told it was a somewhat soft decision in favour of the Whitecaps, and one that may have been overturned had FIFA not eradicated the scourge of VAR from the game two seasons ago.

But, as the Colorado coach Robin Fraser pointed out in his presser, “I’d rather lose to a dubious decision than win via the decisions of an admin guy with a laptop.”

The final fifteen minutes were mostly Max Crepeau throwing himself around the goal like a cat chasing a laser pen, but somehow Vancouver held on and now have a perfectly respectable six points from their first three games.

There is still much work do be done however, not least in figuring out how to give Lucas Cavallini some much needed confidence. Everything the striker touched in this game turned into a miss hit pass or an ill advised shot and the Whitecaps looked far better when Ricketts replaced him in the seventieth minute.

Next week the team fly to New York for the inaugural game at NYCFC’s new seventy-thousand seat Planned Parenthood Arena, with beleaguered US President Oprah Winfrey scheduled to be in attendance.

If I hadn’t already used my allotted flight for the year that is a game I would have loved to have gone to (It’s great we’ve reversed climate change and all, but hasn’t the whole thing gone too far now?)

“Would you have gone to New York with me?” I asked my wife Meghan as we were leaving The Lenarduzzi Waterfront Stadium, but she just muttered something about wishing she’d taken that phone call from Harry when she had the chance.

I had no idea what she was talking about, but she was probably in a bad mood because she was just about to start her night shift as a security guard at Costco.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.

Crepeau-7*, Nerwinski-5, Adnan-5, Khmiri-5, Rose-5, Bikel-6, Teibert-4, In-Beom-4, Milinkovic-6, Dajome-6, Cavallini-3

 

 

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