Trips to Carson to take on the Galaxy haven’t been the happiest for Vancouver Whitecaps over the years. With just one win and two goals from their nine previous regular season matches, this felt like the ideal time for the ‘Caps to add to that tally, against a Galaxy side who look a shadow of their former selves, with just one win at home all season, and six goals given up in their last league match against RSL.
And take advantage of LA, Vancouver did, thanks to a 64th minute Tony Tchani header and an earlier highlight reel save from David Ousted, in an excellent all round performance that saw them come away with a 1-0 victory.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) July 20, 2017
It was the home side who came out quickest, with Jack McBean heading over from in front of goal just three minutes in, when he should have done better.
Then the ‘Caps took over, led by an inspired Cristian Techera.
Christian Bolanos was first to get in a good position, but couldn’t get a decent shot off. Captain for the night, Tim Parker, was next to try his luck with a header, before a Techera chip forced Brian Rowe to awkwardly turn the ball around his near post for a corner in the 13th minute.
Vancouver came their closest yet to opening the scoring four minutes later when a Techera inswinging corner crashed off the LA bar.
But despite their pressure, the ‘Caps had nothing to show for it, with their final ball lacking too often.
LA had their best chance in the 21st minute when Romain Alessandrini brought a sprawling diving save from David Ousted, and Bradley Diallo had a fierce shot across goal with eight minutes of the half remaining, as LA had their best spell of the match.
Both teams had some half chances to start the second half, with the vital clinical touch missing, before a moment of absolute brilliance from Ousted in the 51st minute when his mitt robbed Dave Romney on the goalline, with what could very well be the save of the season.
WHAT A SAVE @David_Ousted !!!!
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) July 20, 2017
The ‘Caps nearly took full advantage with a Techera shot that was turned around the post by Rowe, but they finally got their breakthrough in the 64th minute from a somewhat unlikely source, with Tchani getting his second headed goal off the season, burying a Bolanos free kick.
Another set piece goal for Vancouver and it was 1-0 to the visitors.
The ‘Caps were enjoying some quick breaks in the spaces that were now opening up as the Galaxy pushed for an equaliser and substitute Yordy Reyna had a chance to add a second but somewhat telegraphed his weak shot at Rowe.
Fellow sub Brek Shea should have grabbed the second with nine minutes remaining, firing a low shot off a Nerwinski cross just past the far post.
You were hoping these misses weren’t going to prove costly for the ‘Caps, with the Galaxy making three attacking substitutions of their own to try and salvage something from the game.
One of them, Jermaine Jones, tested Ousted with a long range drive in the closing minutes, but the Dane easily held on, before Rowe did well at the other end to grab the ball away from Bernie Ibini, when it looked like the Aussie was going to get on the end of a cross and tuck away the safety goal.
Ousted had to punch away the last LA threat in stoppage time, but Vancouver held on for a vital victory, and a well deserved one, moving up to fourth in the table and five points off first place, with two games in hand. Considering the injuries and the fact the team hasn’t been playing anywhere near their best, that’s an incredible stage to be at right now.
Next up is another team in seeming disarray this Sunday. Portland Timbers come to town, minus Fanendo Adi and Victor Arboleda, who were sent off in tonight’s 4-1 thumping by Real Salt Lake, and Darlington Nagbe, who is away with the US at the Gold Cup.
Bring them on.
FINAL SCORE: LA Galaxy 0 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps
LOS ANGELES: Brian Rowe; Bradley Diallo, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Dave Romney; Joao Pedro, Ashley Cole, Romain Alessandrini (Bradford Jamieson IV 74), Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng (Jermaine Jones 69); Jack McBean (Ariel Lassiter 70) [Subs Not Used: Jon Kempin, Pele van Anholt, Hugo Arellano, Rafael Garcia]
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Jake Nerwinski, Andrew Jacobson, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Tony Tchani, Christian Bolanos, Nicolas Mezquida (Yordy Reyna 59), Christian Techera (Brek Shea 75); Fredy Montero (Bernie Ibini 82) [Subs Not Used: Spencer Richey, Sheanon Williams, Mauro Rosales, Erik Hurtado]
On the team’s concentration:
“Concentration in football is a major thing. Mentality is a huge thing as well. If you concentrate, your mental side is right going into the game. You just have to limit your mistakes, and we did that. You’ve got to do all the nitty gritty stuff. The second balls, the headers, the tracking runners, and I made them aware of that before the game, and even at half time. Because, when you’re tired, your mind stops working. When your mind stops working, you get lazy, and when you get lazy you get done and I made sure that they didn’t do that. And all credit to every single player out there, as well as the subs.”
On Jake Nerwinski’s performance:
“He’s been in excellent form. He gets stronger and stronger each game. I think his understanding of the game has been phenomenal for someone so young. And he took his chance. We had a mix with him, with Sheanon [Williams], you know who has been really reliable for us, and Sheanon has been away for a few weeks, but he’s back now. Jake [Nerwinski] knows his competition, and I want competition for places all over my squad, and we certainly got that. He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s athletic he has good quality, and he never stops. If you look at him, he was up and down in that last few minutes of the game as well. It’s tricky, because you can try and find an attacking right back, that maybe can’t defend, and you try and find a defensive right back that can’t attack, and I think both my right backs have the ability to do both, which I’m really proud of, and I’ll let them fight it out for who starts.”
On Tim Parker as captain:
“Really strong. I think him, and AJ, both were commanding in the back there; against a very good team. You’ve got to deal with movement. You’ve got to deal with Jack [McBean] and Gio [dos Santos] popping into little holes, with Alessandrini [Romain] popping in from the outside in as well. It’s not easy. We talked about it. We showed them video, and they took it onboard. Great performance by both of the center backs, but also my goalkeeper. David [Ousted] came up with a big save down to his right hand side as well that kept us in the game.”
On the win:
“I still have international players missing, which is bad but good. When you get a chance in this team, you have to take your chance. Football is about competition, you want to keep pushing, and players don’t realize it, but the more competition they have the better they become. Not probably in the short term, but in the longer term for their development. The competition in there is strong at the moment.”
On upcoming games:
“We’re already preparing for Portland. We know it’s a massive game obviously we’ve got a lot of respect for Portland, but all games that we play in are feisty. There’s a lot of action, goals, tackles, missed tackles, and things like that. We’ll be prepared. We’ll rest up, fly out tomorrow, but we’re already preparing for that game. We’ll have a sharp session on Saturday, and then we’ll go into another fight on Sunday.”
On the save against Romain Alessandrini in the first half:
“They had the ball in front of the box and as we know they are very quick and they are good on the ball. They get through and they get him in the box on the ball and he makes a great attempt on the far corner and luckily I got a fingertip on it.”
On how he evaluates the team’s defensive play tonight:
“I thought we did tremendously well today. I thought the guys put their body on the line blocking shots and making sure to clear headers and I thought we did well tonight. Anytime you get a clean sheet in a tough place like Galaxy here I think your defense has done well.”
On the performance of Vancouver’s defensive line in particular Jake Nerwinski:
“Yeah the young man is impressive. We kind of knew that but again tonight he showed that he can deal with almost anything. He can deal with the speed, deal with a little bit more physical, and tonight he was poise and calm on the ball.”
On Vancouver’s emphasis and focus towards set plays:
“We know it’s a big strength of ours that Tony [Tchani] gets on the end of a great cross and does really well to put that in the back of the net and that’s what made the difference today. That’s the one goal we needed to get away with three points.”
On this being the first shutout since May 20 and the importance of shutouts:
“They are obviously important, I’ve said before I would rather get a win then just get a shutout, but when you can do both then that’s obviously important.”
On wearing the captain’s armband:
“I had a little warning before the game, and it was an honour, obviously, but it’s even better to come out and get those three points.”
On how special it is to get the three points tonight:
“Those three points are hard to come by, specially playing down here in LA. Obviously coming off that long break, I think it’s just a really good start for us right now.”
On the performance of Vancouver’s back line:
“I think we did really well, we had a plan. We had a plan of just defending really well, we wanted to counter with the guys going forward and create opportunities and we let them do that part. We just really wanted to focus on keeping LA off the score sheet and limiting their opportunities and I think we did a really good job with that.”
On Andrew Jacobson playing at center back:
“I thought he did excellent tonight. Me and A.J. had a good understanding when we played back there together, it’s easy going and we do well so I think as he continues to play there when Kendall [Waston] goes away for national team duties, I think he fits in very well.”
On Jake Nerwinski’s performance:
“Jakob continues to learn and continues to thrive and I think that’s important for his development. We just want him to keep doing that. I think he is figuring out, positional wise, what to do with the ball and he’s doing a great job with that.”
On the importance of keeping clean sheets:
“Very important. I think that David [Ousted] made a couple of big saves tonight but I think that by limiting their chances it makes our job a lot easier as a team. If you defend well as a team it makes the whole thing a lot easier. We just did a good job of getting that clean sheet and keeping that zero on the board today.”
On the second half performance:
“I thought the first half was a good one, at times tonight we played some good soccer. We didn’t capitalize on some key opportunities, and I thought our level dropped a little bit in the second half. We gave away a goal on a set piece and we were unable to capitalize on the chances that we had.”
On Ashley Cole’s production at midfielder:
“[Dave] Romney has played very well for us, and with [Daniel] Steres coming back in to the team, we tried to get what we think is our best eleven players on the field and Ashley played there against San Jose for a little bit in the Open Cup game and did well. He’s a great soccer player you can play him anywhere and he knows how to play. I thought he did a good job of helping us keep the ball and helping us dictate the game. He wants the ball in every occasion, it’s just unfortunate we didn’t finish the chances. We played some good soccer at times tonight and that’s what we have to focus on.”
On the pressure the Galaxy applied in the first half:
“We tried to put them under pressure, and we wanted to instill our will in the game and try to get an early goal. We had chances but we didn’t capitalize on them.”
On Daniel Steres’ performance:
“He was good, it’s good to have a lot of guys back on the field but we have to get them back on the same page again and getting some continuity. We have to get on a plane tomorrow morning to New England to play a game on Saturday so it’s not going to get any easier and again we don’t make excuses we find solutions and we’re going continue to get better and the results will go our way.”
On his health:
“I feel good, but now I need minutes, that‘s the most important thing right now. We start at Manchester than we get another, now we go to New England, my ex-club.”
On the significance of playing his old team:
“It’s an ex-club and of course I still have a bunch of friends there but it’s a regular game. I think I’m out of the age where I say it’s something special.”
On if the turf field will affect his injury:
“No, that’s just an excuse. Of course I know it’s not easy to play on it. I played one and half years on it. It’s tough for teams to come there and get points but if I go of course I want to play.”
On what the team needs to change:
“It’s tough, especially the home games I think we shy away and people want to see special stuff. And then away games you can play without pressure. Of course you have to win and everybody knows the second half of the season you’re playing for playoff spots.”
On Ashley Cole playing midfield:
“We all know his best position is on the left side but right now we need him. I was not ready to go. He did an amazing job but we all know he’s still really good on the left.”
On being unable to finish his chances earned on the evening:
“Yeah. That’s exactly it. I had a clear-cut chance that I need to put away. A couple other guys did as well, but personally I want that one back. That would have changed the game, going up early like that against a team that’s kind of sitting back that’s exactly what we’re looking for. We just got to do better. We just have to finish our chances and we didn’t do that.”
On Ashley Cole’s success in the midfield role:
“I thought he was really good. He played forward and passed the ball, moved after he got it and found good spots and was pretty effective in that spot.”
On how the team keeps from putting its head down after a performance like this:
“It’s tough. We’re all bummed, but we get on a flight tomorrow to Boston for another huge game out there. It just sucks to keep losing at home.”
On if the home record is in their head or if it’s something that they’re trying not to dwell on:
“It’s something weird going on that we need to figure out and figure out fast. We need to start winning games at home and also on the road.”
On is thoughts about playing against New England and the environment there:
“I’ve never played there personally. But it’s a tough turf field and it’s all the way across the country for us after a Wednesday night game. It’ll be tough but we’ll be ready for it.”
On the positives he takes away from tonight’s match:
“I thought we played well. I thought we moved the ball well and created a lot of chances, but there’s not a lot you can take that positive from it from my perspective. As a forward, that’s my only job…to get in good positions and put the ball in the back of the net and I didn’t do that tonight.”
JELLE VAN DAMME
On being unable to capitalize on their chances:
“It was a pretty close game I think. We had a few opportunities and like I said before, in these kinds of games you have to be efficient. I don’t think we were efficient in the final third. And like you see, sadly for us, these kinds of games get decided on set pieces.”
On being 1-6-3 at home:
“It’s reality so I believe it, but it’s strange. It’s been a funny season, a strange season. We’ve had ups and downs, but a few too many ups and downs so I just want to focus on the things we need to focus on. Players are coming back fit again. A few weeks ago we only had 15 players to go on the road game so it’s a good thing. The experienced guys are coming back and being fit again. We’re bringing them in and now we just have to move on. It’s a good thing that there’s another game Saturday so we can move on to the next game. We’ll stick our heads together and get out of this situation.”
On how soon the team’s starts thinking about standings and their playoff push:
“I don’t think we have focus too much on the standings. Like I said, it’s halfway through the season so there’s enough games to work that out so we have to look at it game by game I think.”
On Ashley Cole in the midfield position:
“He asks for the ball, so he didn’t hide. I think he did well.”
On how he changes the focus and helps the team move on as a captain:
“I think first of all, by not putting my head down myself. Just move on. Tomorrow’s another day and now we have to be focused on Saturday. It’s all about regen now and in the coming guys. We travel tomorrow to a turf field, so Saturday is all about mindset I believe.”
On if the team had energy throughout the game or if they got discouraged:
“I think first of all, honestly I didn’t play my best game I think. I’ve played better. But you have to go through it. If you see the goal, that’s my man and I have to mark him so I take that responsibility. It was just a misjudgment I think. I ran with him and at one point I stopped because I thought Brian was coming, but Brian was going away. It’s my responsibility, but that’s the way it goes in life. Ups and downs. I take it and just move on.”