Report and Reaction: About damn time? Damn right!

Report and Reaction: About damn time? Damn right!

“IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME.”

Those were the first words from Russell Teibert as he met the media after Vancouver Whitecaps won the Voyageurs Cup for the first time in their history. From 2009 to the freak storm in 2011 to other close calls, the Whitecaps have experienced their share of heartbreak in this tournament.

There would be none on Wednesday night.

While a lot was naturally made of the players and how much they wanted it, the greatest joy has to be reserved to the many supporters who have waited so many years to see their club raise the trophy.

It’s doesn’t make the previous heartache suddenly better. And no, we’ll not forget. But now we finally have our moment and it’s going to be the first of many more to come for this talented squad and manager.

REPORT:

After so many heartbreaking losses in the Canadian Championship, Vancouver Whitecaps lifted their first Voyageurs Cup in front of 19,616 fans at B.C. Place. Octavio Rivero scored in the first half, Tim Parker provided the second and David Ousted earned the clean sheet in the 2-0 victory on the night and a 4-2 aggregate win over the Montreal Impact.

The Whitecaps started off the match looking for an early strike and Techera looked to set up Manneh but the attempt on goal was stopped by the keeper in the second minute.

Techera had his own chance in the 24th minute when his attempt off a free kick forced Kronberg into some quick thinking to keep it scoreless.

The turning point came on the half hour mark, when Impact defender Victor Cabrera was sent off, after picking up his second yellow, for taking down Rivero just outside the box.

The ensuing free kick by Morales was sent over the net but the Caps would make the one man advantage count when Rivero opened the scoring five minutes before half time.

It was Techera who intercepted a Reo-Coker back pass and got a shot off that deflected off Kronberg, dribbling towards the net before Rivero slammed the ball in from an inch out.

The opening five minutes of the second half saw Manneh try to double the lead but the winger was first stopped by Kronberg and then had a pass smothered by the keeper.

The match never seemed in doubt but the insurance marker came in the 53rd minute when Tim Parker connected on Pedro Morales corner and headed the ball powerfully home.

Vancouver had two to three more chances to extend the lead but two goals were enough for the Whitecaps to capture their first Voyageurs Cup and become Canadian Champions, clinching a spot in next season’s CONCACAF Champions League in the process.

The players will have very little time to enjoy the title as they will travel to Texas on Saturday where they will face the Houston Dynamo, looking for three points in the Supporters’ Shield race.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – 0 Montreal Impact [Vancouver win 4-2 on aggregate]

ATT: 19,616

VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Russell Teibert, Gershon Koffie (Matías Laba 84); Cristian Techera, Pedro Morales (Mauro Rosales 68), Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero (Darren Mattocks 72) [Subs not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Christian Dean, Robert Earnshaw, Jordan Smith]

MONTREAL: Eric Kronberg; Ambroise Oyongo, Victor Cabrera, Laurent Ciman, Donny Toia; Calum Mallace, Marco Donadel (Eric Alexander 73), Nigel Reo-Coker; Johan Venegas (Andrés Romero 64), Dominic Oduro (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 64), Justin Mapp [Subs not used: Maxime Crépeau, Eric Miller, Maxim Tissot, Wandrille Lefevre]

 
VWFC-IMFC-1664
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

CARL ROBINSON

On whether this was the strong performance he was looking for:

“I think it was, yes. Going into a cup final, second leg, I said to the guys, it’s one game. We’re one game away from making history for the club, because we’ve never won this tournament before. I didn’t know whether to put a bit of pressure on them or try and take the pressure off them, but I challenged them. I said listen, ‘They don’t come round to you too often, games like this. We’re at home, in front of our 20,000 fans, it’s in our court. Time to step up boys,’ and they certainly did, each and every single one of them. What a professional performance that was. So bloody proud of them today, really am.”

On what’s going through his head right now:

“Do you know what? If I’m being honest, it’s about my father. 18 months ago when I took the job, I lost a big part of my life and I said I was going to enjoy myself and do everything to make him proud of me. My wife and two children are here today, mom’s back home, but I miss my dad, I really do. So I’m a little bit sad, but don’t take away from how important this trophy is for the club. Because, it’s not about me. The group of players love it, love it to bits in there, the mentality they have. But it’s about the club, the club has never won it and it’s for them today. I’m delighted for every single one involved with the club.”

On whether this is an experience they can draw upon moving forward:

“I hope so, I really do. It’s difficult being a manager. I will say that, because you’re here to get shot down. If you rest a couple of starters or regular players, which I have done, you get criticised. I’ve never underestimated this tournament, without a doubt. I’ve been fortunate enough to win it. I think [John Molinaro] asked me a question on Tuesday about winning it, and I did but it isn’t about me. It’s about these group of players in there and this football club at this current time. Hopefully it will stand us in good stead. I told them to enjoy it tonight, because they deserve it. The performance, the way we managed the game, we didn’t get caught up in anything, because I think it could have gone overboard at times, but we didn’t. For a group so young, they showed a lot of maturity tonight. We’re still early stages, we’re still building this football club.”

Thoughts on Russell Teibert and his play throughout the tournament:

“It’s fitting, isn’t it [that Russell is a Canadian bringing home the MVP trophy]. Russell hasn’t been in the team lately because of how good Matias and Koffie have been. Team’s don’t win things, squads do. I’ve said that all along. To rest Matias today, and it was resting him, I put Russell in because this tournament means a lot to Canadian players, without a doubt. I just sensed it in training that he had a bit between his teeth. I challenged him and arguably he was the best player on the field today and really deserves the MVP and the bottle of champagne he has in there.”

On Octavio’s earlier play and getting under Montreal’s skin:

“Even though he hasn’t scored goals in the last couple of games, what he brings to the table is fantastic. His movement, his hold up play. I think he gave the two centre backs a torrid time. He gets his reward in the end from working hard and being a big contributor to the team. I pulled him off and he wasn’t too happy, because he wants to stay on and score goals, but Darren is a big part of this club as well. And Darren looked sharp when he came on and could have got himself a goal or two as well. You know, the squad depth will be tested this week. We go to Houston, a very tough game for us. We’ll go and we’ll try and win that game.”

On winning Cup as a player v a manager:

“You know what, I’m probably more pleased as a manager, even though I’ve had nothing to do with it, as funny as it sounds. Because when we won it in Toronto, everyone wrote us off and unfortunately for Vancouver, we managed to score five, six goals. It was great, because I had a big influence in that. I didn’t say I played brilliant, because DeRo scored a hat trick, but I was involved in the team. Today, it’s about that group of players in there. No glory for me whatsoever. Whichever manager is in charge, it’s about the club and it’s about the group of players today. And they should enjoy it.”

RUSSELL TEIBERT

On winning the Canadian Championship:

“It is hard to put it into words. It means so much winning this in front of friends and family. It is about time we won this. The season is not over yet, we still have a lot of work to do.”

On being MVP:

“I am grateful but it is important we won the trophy as a team. I am happy we won this championship. We have to get used to winning trophies and championships, this was our time tonight and we showed what we are capable of.”

On starting this game:

“The manager is always taking care of his players. Whether you are playing or not, we are happy that we won as a team. I would still be celebrating if I did not start this game.”

On winning as a Canadian:

“As a Canadian winning this trophy meant a lot to me. I am proud to be a Canadian champion, and I want to take part in every major competition game but this one meant a bit more to me because I am Canadian.”

On winning in front of the home crowd:

“I am proud, we have had too many heartbreaks in this tournament. The fans were always supporting us, and always having our back. We deserve this trophy and I am glad we won it.”

GERSHON KOFFIE:

On his performance:

“I did good. I did what the coach asked me today and we were able to get the victory. “

On playing against Nigel:

“It was great playing against Nigel. He is a great player and I learned from him at Vancouver. I did what I had to do get us the victory.”

On winning after losing three times previously:

“It means a lot to me. I have been with this club for a long time and this is my first trophy. I am so excited, to come up with these results, it requires a lot of team effort and we were able to win as a team.”

On winning in front of the home crowd:

“It is great. The fans made it happen and we are very thankful to have such great supportive fans.”

DAVID OUSTED:

On his thoughts this game:

“Delighted for fans, and the organization. It meant a lot and you could see the team but the fans, it means a lot to them. Hopefully one of many to come.”

On his play of his team:

“I thought we played well and were able to control the game. I think we played well, especially second half, we made sure to possess the ball more and not give them any chances to win. I think it was clear who was going to win because of our possession.”

On his thoughts on how winning can boost his confidence:

“I think the silverware is going to give us confidence going forward. It is going to make us hungry to try and win a couple more trophies. Let’s see where we get to but I think we are going in the right direction.”

MONTREAL IMPACT

FRANK KLOPAS

On tonight’s loss:

“It’s hard to swallow. There were two different games. The first 30 minutes and the next 60 minutes.”

On playing shorthanded after Victor Cabrera’s second yellow card:

“It’s unfortunate because both teams came to play and then the game changed. We made a mistake to go down 1-0 and that changed everything. The second goal came after that and there’s not much you can do. You push the game as much as you can but when you’re playing shorthanded for 60 minutes, it makes it very difficult. It’s a whole different story.”

On the team’s chances after falling behind 1-0:

“We were organized. You have to push the game so you take more risks and you’re more open. Regardless, the whole game changed for me after the second yellow card took Cabrera out. That changed the whole game. My two centre backs got first yellows right away. It’s amazing especially when the linesman called the first.”

On the team’s performance in the first 30 minutes:

“It’s a final. We wanted to make sure we defended well in the middle. We didn’t give them opportunities in transition. They had one chance early in the game then the game settled. There were moments when we had the ball and moved the ball well but everything changed after that. Congratulations to Vancouver, they played well. It’s just unfortunate that the game would’ve been a lot more entertaining for the fans as a final. It’s a shame that the players on the field could’ve played an exciting game for 90 minutes but it was only for 30. I’m sure the fans here enjoyed it because it went their way but I’m just disappointed that we’re here talking about the referees. I’m not taking away from Vancouver, congratulations to them. It’s disappointing with those fouls and yellow cards came so easy.”

On the quick turnaround to the next match:

“We’re playing right away. We travel five hours to play, that’s what makes it difficult. We wanted to push the game and win the game, just like they did. Obviously, that became difficult after the 30-minute mark. Not only you lose the final but you play shorthanded for 60 minutes. You have to travel back, you try to make moves thinking forward to Saturday after the second goal. We thought about this game first more than anything.”

On goalkeeper Eric Kronberg’s performance:

“I thought he did a good job. I don’t think he could’ve done anything. We made a mistake on the first goal. The second goal was off a set piece. I think we were marked tight but Tim Parker somehow maybe was a little bit stronger, pushed our guy off a little bit and gets a little bit of an advantage and they scored. The first was off a mistake and the second was off a set piece.”

ERIC KRONBERG

On tonight’s loss:

“I think we’re going to look back at this game and think it was something that got away from us. Sometimes there are some extra factors that play into that. It hurts but you have to move on. We have another game on Saturday that’s important to us. You have to move forward. Going into the game, I was confident. The boys were confident. We all felt we had a shot. We get out there and some calls were made. It’s kind of strange that the referee didn’t make all the ticky-tacky calls but he called light yellows. Usually, it’s the ticky-tacky referees that call the light yellows. It was a little different from what I’ve seen. It’s just the nature of the game. You get different referees and you just have to adapt.”

On the quick turnaround to the next match:

“We’re going to have a tough time sleeping tonight. That’s the nature of the beast. You have to turn around quick and be ready for the next game quickly. I think we’re going to put it behind us quickly and work hard in the next couple of days. We’re going to get things sorted out. We don’t lose anybody so that’s good. It’s also a chance to redeem ourselves a little bit. It’s another rivalry. We get to go into Toronto and it would be awesome to get a win. We can get right back on track. The game against Toronto would be a great opportunity for that.”

On the outlook for the rest of the season:

“Now, we have to make a run for the playoffs. That’s what it comes down to. We just need to believe in ourselves. We have to play consistently and make the playoffs and make a run.”

CALUM MALLACE

On tonight’s loss:

“We came out pretty well. We knew they were at home and they were going to come out fast. We knew they were pretty comfortable with the 2-2 draw at Montreal but I thought we matched them pretty well. Our game plan was to catch them at times and play well defensively but push the game as well. I think that’s what we did. That second yellow card came and that changed the game.”

On Victor Cabrera’s yellow cards:

“I don’t know, I have to look back at it. At that time, I thought it was a little harsh. I thought the second one was definitely a yellow card. I couldn’t even see the first one. It is what it is. You have to deal with it and move forward.”

On losing another championship final:

“It’s never easy losing any game but a final is that much more difficult, especially the Canadian Championship with a few teams in it. You feel like every game is a rivalry game. This one being a cup final, it’s definitely a difficult one to swallow.”

On the quick turnaround to the next match:

“It will definitely be difficult to put this one behind us but that’s what we have to do. With the end of our season coming, we have a lot of games in a short span so regardless of the result, we have to put it behind us as soon as possible and move on to the next one. It’s going to be a tough game in Toronto.”

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Steve Pandher
Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

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