Report and Reaction: Goalless and meaningless – 0-0 draw in San Jose a reflection of Vancouver Whitecaps season

Report and Reaction: Goalless and meaningless – 0-0 draw in San Jose a reflection of Vancouver Whitecaps season

What could be worse than an end of season MLS game between two clubs that have already been eliminated from the playoffs? A goalless draw in the rain of course!

When you first looked at the MLS fixtures for this year, Vancouver Whitecaps end of season run-in looked tasty. Two home Cascadia Cup clashes in the last three games, and a trip to a San Jose side that would surely be battling for a top six spot. Not sure anyone thought that the Whitecaps and Earthquakes would be meeting in a meaningless match with two games of the regular season remaining.

But that’s what we got.

And to be fair, although there weren’t any goals, there were a number of chances and the first 15 minutes of the second half were at least entertaining, but with both teams shooting like they wanted to get a higher SuperDraft pick the match ended in a stalemate, leaving Vancouver still seeking their first ever win in San Jose.

Carl Robinson rang the changes, as was expected, but he also sprung a few surprises, as Fraser Aird came in at right back and Masato Kudo started up front in a 4-4-2. The biggest surprise though came in goal, with David Ousted’s four-season spanning 117 game appearance streak coming to an end and Paolo Tornaghi getting the start.

It’s been a long wait for the Italian to get a MLS start here in Vancouver. Three long seasons, with no starts in the league and limited ones in other competitions. But after making nine MLS appearances for Chicago Fire in 2012 and 2013, he’s finally got into double digits. And with Spencer Richey waiting in the wings, he made the most of the opportunity to put himself in the shop window to other teams in the league.

Any early nerves were soon gone in the sixth minute when he produced a great stop on Simon Dawkins. Three minutes later and the Italian was called into action again, diving to turn a low curler from Cordell Cato around the post.

The Whitecaps finally started to show some attack and Cristian Techera had their first shot on target in the 18th minute, although his volley lacked power and was straight at David Bingham.

The Quakes keeper was called into action a few minutes later, getting down to a low Masato Kudo shot.

Tim Parker came close to opening the scoring in the 27th minute, but his goalbound effort was blocked a few yards out by Kudo.

Both teams huffed and puffed to close out the half, with no real efforts to show for it, although Dawkins tried to go on a 43rd minute mazy but fired into the side netting.

Vancouver game out all guns blazing to start the second half, creating chance after chance in the first ten minutes.

Techera was first to try his luck with a low grasscutter, before Masato Kudo had a trio of chances that saw two saves from Bingham and one shot crash off the bar. Even Jordan Harvey got in on the act with a fierce strike that was parried by the Quakes keeper.

And then the action pretty much stopped. There were a few half chances, but neither keeper or goal were troubled all that much and the game played out to the end that in seemed inevitable and fitting.

Ah well, only 90 minutes of this season to go. Thank your chosen deity!

FINAL SCORE: San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 18,000 (sure!)

SAN JOSE David Bingham; Cordell Cato (Kofi Sarkodie 79), Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart; Tommy Thompson (Shea Salinas 70), Darwin Ceren, Anibal Godoy, Simon Dawkins; Chris Wondolowski, Henok Goitom (Chad Barrett 59) [Subs Not Used: Andrew Tarbell, Andres Imperiale, Alberto Quintero, Fatai Alashe]

VANCOUVER: Paolo Tornaghi; Fraser Aird, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Nicolas Mezquida (Giles Barnes 63), Matias Laba, Andrew Jacobson, Cristian Techera (Marcel de Jong 73); Masato Kudo (Marco Bustos 77), Erik Hurtado [Subs Not Used: David Ousted, Jordan Smith, David Edgar, Christian Dean]

FINAL SCORE: San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 18,000 (sure!)

SAN JOSE David Bingham; Cordell Cato (Kofi Sarkodie 79), Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart; Tommy Thompson (Shea Salinas 70), Darwin Ceren, Anibal Godoy, Simon Dawkins; Chris Wondolowski, Henok Goitom (Chad Barrett 59) [Subs Not Used: Andrew Tarbell, Andres Imperiale, Alberto Quintero, Fatai Alashe]

VANCOUVER: Paolo Tornaghi; Fraser Aird, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Nicolas Mezquida (Giles Barnes 63), Matias Laba, Andrew Jacobson, Cristian Techera (Marcel de Jong 73); Masato Kudo (Marco Bustos 77), Erik Hurtado [Subs Not Used: David Ousted, Jordan Smith, David Edgar, Christian Dean]

REACTION:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

CARL ROBINSON

On what went into the decision to give Paolo Tornaghi his first start in three years:

“Well, I just spoke to the guys in there. It’s easy when you’re playing week in week out and David [Ousted] has played 99 consecutive games where Paolo has backed him up. Unfortunately we’re out of the playoffs with two games to go and I just felt he deserved to be given his chance because as a player it’s easy when you’re in the team. When you’re not in the team the mindset, the mentality of being right every day and being a good teammate is very important not just in football but in normal life and he does that. He’s not once been to see me about why he’s not playing so he deserved his chance and I’m delighted he got a clean sheet because he was excellent in the game so credit to him.”

On if he told Paolo he was starting during the week:

“I did. I did. I told both my goalkeepers, one that they were playing and one that they weren’t.”

On what Paolo’s reaction was when he told him:

“I would say he was surprised but I think in his mind he probably thought about bloody time.”

On if it was impressive that he faced five shots in the first 20 minutes:

“It was great. Listen, whenever you play San Jose we know it’s a difficult game. They play a certain way. They put balls in the box. They’ve got one of the top goal scorers in all-time history in Chris [Wondolowski]. You know the ball is going to come in and that’s what happened. They peppered us for the first 15-20 minutes, but we withstood well. One criticism of us this year which is being levied to us and rightly so, is we’ve conceded too many goals. Today we stood up. When we defend correctly individually and collectively we can keep clean sheets as we showed today so once we were out of the first 15 minutes we were fine. It was end to end. It was a typical end of season game.”

On the opportunity to knock Portland out of the playoffs next week at home:

“Well I don’t know the other results so I’ll have a look at them whenever. It’s a big game any time you play Portland or Seattle. It’s a rivalry game. We know that so lots to play for. For the players I said it still hurts that they knocked us out last year, but it’s the game of football. You’ve got to come to work every day and be professional, enjoy yourself, but work as hard as you can. Credit to both teams today because it’s not an easy game to play when both teams have been knocked out. They conducted themselves correctly. I think there was one or two missed challenges and two balls on the pitch. I’ve not seen that before when the game is going on, but we’ll be up for next week. It’s a great occasion for us, our supporters, to say thank you for sticking with us through thick and thin this year.”

On what he thinks led to the fact that Whitecaps have conceded too many goals:

“I think any goal that you can see if you analyze it and me and you analyze it, you’ll have a totally different opinion of what’s right and what’s wrong and you’ll blame someone different of who I blame so we try and keep an open mind on it but in any goal there’s three or four culprits usually. What we’ve done this year is we’ve conceded bad goals. It is individual mistakes. Whether it’s the guy letting the cross come in or the guy losing his mark in the box, set piece mark and giving away a penalty, goalkeeping mistake, we’ve done too many of them. It shows over a period of time, but when we concentrate and we did today, we’ve show what we can do but there’s no point in doing it for one or two games or 10 games because in a tough Western Conference that’s not enough as has been shown.”

On looking back if he’d change anything about the season:

“Listen, it’s easy in hindsight isn’t it? I said last year, we weren’t that good a team last year. This league is, and I’m being honest, it’s set up for everyone to beat everyone and I think this year is a perfect example of that. We got better luck last year. We really did. This year we’ve had no luck, not using it as an excuse. We haven’t been quite good enough and I don’t think we were that good last year and I don’t think we’re that bad this year. Sometimes you get breaks and sometimes you don’t and this year unfortunately we haven’t. We’ve had too many sendings off. We’ve made individual mistakes. We create a number of chances, but we haven’t scored enough goals. If you don’t score enough goals and you concede too many unfortunately you’re going to be in the position that we’re currently in. There’s four teams on each sides that are going to miss out on the playoffs, so we’re disappointed. We know that individually, collectively but it’ll make you even more determined next year to come back stronger, fitter and harder to beat.”

PAOLO TORNAGHI

On how it was getting his first MLS action in over three years:

“Well of course I was looking forward to playing another MLS game, but I think in these couple of years when I played Canadian Cup games and CONCACAF games of course they helped me to stay sharp. Finally I got my MLS game. It was a while, so I’m happy to be back in action.”

On when coach Carl Robinson told him he was starting:

“In the beginning of the week. We came back and I was thinking maybe with the playoff chances gone probably I will have my start.”

On not getting too many chances in Chicago either:

“Yeah I remember when I came just in the beginning I played the first three games, the opening in Montreal and at home so it was a very positive beginning and then of course when Sean Johnson was the national team goalie at the time I was playing when he was away, so it was tough. It has been tough, but this is the game right now and I have to deal with it.”

On if it was exciting to get five shots at him in the first 20 minutes:

“Yeah when you play this kind of game I think it’s better to have action early on. I think we played a couple of games like the CONCACAF game when I had to wait maybe the second half to get any action and that is a little bit frustrating in the head because to always to keep you awake, focused. When you start having many shots, if you don’t allow any one to go in it’s a really positive thing.”

On how much they look forward to the idea of maybe keeping Portland out of the playoffs:

“Yeah well of course the results of the Cascadia Cup may be on the line. I know we have to score many goals, but it doesn’t matter what’s going to be the result. We want to win so it can be 1-0, it can be 4-0, we don’t care. We really want to beat Portland, because the fans probably they’re feeling a lot, and us remembering the last year when we went out from the playoff against Portland so I think it will be a supporter revenge.”

On how much it meant to put up a clean sheet:

“It’s crucial. It’s crucial for self confidence especially when you’re a goalie that doesn’t play for almost three years in a row in the MLS. If you let yourself down when you go out you’re going to shake. I think that it’s important to have self confidence and remember what have you done in the past good. If it’s maybe a long time ago, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it again so I was thinking about that and I stepped on the field ready to play.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

DOMINIC KINNEAR

On the first half:

“The first 30 minutes, I thought we were excellent. We should have been good for a goal. We had some good moments, really got ourselves in good positions. Quality was lacking a little bit. I’ll give credit to them, they had one spell where I think they blocked maybe three shots in a row with some good defending, but I thought the first 30 minutes we were really good and should have been good for a goal and we weren’t. We didn’t score and that’s unfortunate.”

On the Earthquakes’ finishing throughout the season:

“You look at the stats and the stats don’t lie. We haven’t scored enough goals this year. I’m not going to hide from it. We need to score more goals. We said last year that we thought we needed goals after the opening goal to put teams away. This year we lack the first goal and a lot of times in MLS, when you look at the crazy stats, the team that scores the first goal I think wins like 70 percent of the games almost, so that first goal is crucial. It’s not that we’re not trying to score. It’s just the quality in the last little bit has escaped us today and for quite a few games this year.”

On the sentiment in the locker room going into halftime scoreless:,br>

“Just frustration, not let down. Let down would be if guys weren’t trying, so for me frustration is the point of being right there. We were getting clear looks, but like I said, we just needed a little bit better of a cross, a little bit better of a run. [Earthquakes midfielder] Simon [Dawkins] had a good chance and [Vancouver goalkeeper Paolo] Tornaghi made a couple of decent saves as well, but that’s what they’re supposed to do. But not let down because I thought the guys were visibly frustrated and the one thing we said was, ‘we don’t come here losing this game’ because I think we played well enough to win it and it’s a game of two halves. Our effort and our mentality should be the same as it was in the first.”

CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI

On the season:

“We feel that we have a very strong team and we didn’t play up to our expectations. It is a very fine line in the league between winning and losing and making the playoffs or not. There is so much parity in the league, if you are not bringing it every week then its tough.”

On the first 15 minutes against Vancouver:

“We still have a lot of pride in our soccer and we wanted to come out right from the start and I think we did. It has kind of been the theme for this season. I think we played well at times, had some chances and created a lot of things, but did not quite have that final product, that final pass or that final touch. It ended up hurting us.”

DAVID BINGHAM

On frustration of missing playoffs with talented roster:

“There’s no potential about it, we have a good enough team to make the playoffs. It’s really frustrating that we’ve kind of had the season that we’ve had, especially with these players and the quality of this locker room. I think we definitely should be in the playoffs, but that’s not the situation we’re in now. We need to keep fighting and come out with a win on Sunday.”

On the goal for the season finale:

“To win. I’m here to win. I don’t like losing. We have 14 ties this year. It’s frustrating. I don’t think anyone’s more frustrated than the players in this locker room. So we have to put our heads down and go to Kansas City and get a result.”

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