As usual, no match report in the blog, just reflection. If you want to read our report on the game then check out our piece at Prost Amerika.
Wow. What a match. I’m losing count how many times I’ve watched those last five minutes on the PVR since I got back home!
When you talk about comebacks, this one is right up there with the best of them.
I’ve some great memories of some thrilling comebacks. Best one I watched on TV was Mali’s amazing four goal comeback against Angola in the 2010 African Nations Cup. 4-0 down with 11 minutes to go. Crazy game.
Up until today, the best comeback I’d seen in person was East Fife scoring two goals in thirty seconds in injury time at Gretna to win the game 3-2 – a vital three points in what was to be a promotion season.
Today though was something else. It looked all over for the Caps when it was 3-0 to Kansas City after 62 minutes. It wasn’t from being outplayed, far from it, it was from the Caps not taking their chances, Kansas City taking theirs (aided by some sloppy defending) and Jimmy Neilsen being in fantastic form in the visitors goal.
The substitutions were the key and in the 26 minutes they were on the field together, the Nizar Khalfan and Davide Chiumiento tornado destroyed Kansas.
We all knew that Nizar was capable of such a display. He showed some fantastic glimpses in pre-season and was one of the Caps standouts early on in training. His performance this afternoon though was immense and but for a few inches, he could have seen us take the full three points from the game.
Nizar had a poor game in Philadelphia last week, but the confidence on display in the second half today was what we, and he, needed to see. He was in the centre of nearly every attack and merits inclusion in the MLS team of the week.
Chiumiento hasn’t played a full MLS game for the Caps yet but what we’ve seen so far has been game changing and every little pass, every shimmy, shows what an exciting talent the Caps have. He is going to be someone MLS fans will be long talking about. Just wait till he’s completely healthy!
And then we have Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo. It had looked like it may not be his day until those last three minutes. He had been fantastic in the first half and it had looked like only a matter of time before he would get on the scoresheet, but Neilsen and the Kansas defence kept him at bay, time and again.
We’ve been singing Camilo’s praises here at AFTN since the Cascadia Summit and were pushing for him to have a place in the starting line up. Today he earned that, but it’s also given Teitur Thordarson a massive, if pleasing, headache in the process.
Eric Hassli will be back on Wednesday against New England. Teitur must be feeling that he can’t really drop either Camilo or Atiba Harris after today’s performance.
What we’d like to see is a 4-3-1-2 formation. In the midfield, have Davide out on the right, Khalfan on the left and Terry Dunfield in the middle. Play Hassli and Camilo up front with Harris in just behind them, where we feel he can be more effective in setting up the chances and not being on the end of them. If that wouldn’t work, I’d give Harris the rest. He continued to be kicked all over the park today.
I’d drop Koffie to the bench. I felt he was almost invisible out there at times today but others felt he was the workhorse of the first half.
The defence was the weak spot today. We’ve waxed lyrical about the positives but the negatives were clearly on display.
Greg Janicki had a bit of a mare out there. After the game, he blamed himself for all three goals, but I certainly feel that Jay Nolly should have done better on the first one. He was rooted to the spot with no movement.
Janicki had a hip injury it has transpired. Bringing him off earlier could have seen us with the full three points in the bag this evening. He’ll bounce back though. He’s too good a defender not to.
With Jay deMerit hopefully back in the starting line-up again soon, we’re looking at a pretty amazing Whitecaps team taking shape. If only we can keep them free from injury and international duty and try and keep a little consistancy for the next few games.
This could all have been such a different tone had it not been for that late fightback. We can’t forget the flaws though and defending and taking of chances were the two biggies.
The other good news in all of this is that Camilo’s goals now take all the positive headlines away from Teal Bunbury. The Caps fans, especially the Southsiders greeted his every touch with a chorus of boos and chants of “traitor” for the whole game. What you won’t have seen on the TV was that he also got it tight as he went up the tunnel at half time.
I wish it had been more hostile, but unfortunately, until more fans take an interest in the Canadian national team, then that’s not likely to happen. Was great to hear though. He’s left Vancouver knowing what Canadian fans feel about his decision to be a turncoat. After the game he didn’t seem to care, not to be unexpected, but at least he knows.
I was proud of the whole team again today. The celebrations of the final goal were so pleasing to see what it meant to everyone to a man. Even Teitur was jumping around and grinning like the cat who got the cream.
We have a squad that is 100% committed and that’s all we can ask for as supporters. We’ll give our all to you, you give your all to us.
AFTN 3-2-1 for this week…
3 points – Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo
2 points – Nizar Khalfan
1 point – Davide Chiumiento
The fans were amazing again today. Empire was literally shaking after that third goal went in. Shame some decided to leave before the end. I’ve seen my team humped 7-1 (grabbing the 1 in injury time) and would never leave barring the utmost emergency. Beating traffic is not as important as supporting your team. Those that stayed – you were magnificent.
Wednesday can’t come soon enough for me. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that thinking! I’m going to be bringing my wonderful Latina friend Maria to her first ever Whitecaps match, so let’s hope for more of the same excitement. Hopefully with three points at the end of it this time!
Mon the Caps.