Vancouver Whitecaps were unable to make it four straight home league wins after a disappointing 1-0 loss to a disappointing D.C. United side at BC Place on Saturday afternoon.
D.C. United came away with all three points after a controversial penalty call went against Vancouver just past the hour mark when Costa Rican José Guillermo Ortiz went down unchallenged in the box and referee Sorin Stoica pointed to the spot. Lamar Neagle converted what was to be the only goal of the game from the penalty Vancouver seething.
But it wasn’t just that decision that left the ‘Caps upset, the home side should easily have picked up the three points, but three crossbars, four saves from Bill Hamid, a slew of missed chances in their 22 shots, and an injury time penalty of their own that crashed off the post were all parts of their downfall against dismal D.C.
The visitors got the first opportunity of the match when David Ousted was forced to make a save off of Luciano Acosta in the first ten minutes.
The Whitecaps finally started getting their chances just before the 20 minute mark when Cristian Techera hit the bar on a header, followed up by Kendall Waston’s shot off the bar from the subsequent corner.
Just before the half Vancouver had another couple of chances but were robbed both times by Bill Hamid as Tim Parker was denied on a header from a corner while Fredy Montero had his point blank shot from ten yards out knocked out of touch.
The Whitecaps carried the play for the first 15 minutes of the second half but it was D.C. who scored first from Neagle’s 61st minute penalty conversion after Ortiz, who was fined this week for embellishment last weekend, flopped down unchallenged in the box.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) May 28, 2017
After that the visitors were happy to sit back and see out the rest of the match. The ‘Caps buzzed around the United box finally forcing Hamid to make saves after the 80th minute when the keeper first stopped Montero from in close and then Jordan Harvey on the follow up.
It already felt like it wasn’t going to be the ‘Caps day but they were gifted one final chance to get a point in injury time when another dubious penalty was called, this time on Hamid as he collided with Brek Shea on a set piece. After a lengthy discussion between referee and linesman, Stoica pointed to the spot to the disbelief of the D.C. players.
It felt like a make up call, but the ‘Caps couldn’t take advantage of it and Vancouver’s afternoon of misery continued as Cristian Techera stepped up to the spot and crashed his shot off the right post.
The Whitecaps will have to shake off this disappointing loss as they head on the road to face Montreal in the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup semi-final on Tuesday before returning next Saturday to B.C. Place to face impressive expansion club Atlanta United.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 1 D.C. United
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Sheanon Williams (Mauro Rosales 90), Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Andrew Jacobson; Cristian Techera, Christian Bolaños, Tony Tchani (Nicolás Mezquida 79), Alphonso Davies (Brek Shea 63); Fredy Montero [Subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Marcel de Jong, Russell Teibert, Jake Nerwinski]
D.C. Bill Hamid; Chris Korb, Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Taylor Kemp; Jared Jeffrey; Sebastien Le Toux, Luciano Acosta (Marcelo Sarvas 77), Ian Harkes, Lamar Neagle; José Guillermo Ortiz (Patrick Mullins 64) [Subs Not Used: Travis Worra, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Bobby Boswell, Julian Buescher]
Thoughts on the two penalty calls:
“I haven’t seen our penalty, I’ve seen their penalty. It’s an awful call and it’s had a major impact on the game. Usually I don’t say or criticise anything that officials do because they have a hard enough job, but this official seems to cost us a lot. So it’s unfortunate. We should score one of our chances. I think D.C. United came with a game plan tonight to try to get a point, and they were gifted three by a wrong call. I could say it’s ok, it’s not ok. Because we’re talking about professional sports now. So it’s not ok.”
On the chances missed:
“It wasn’t our day. Sometimes the soccer gods don’t look out for you, and today was that day. And I had a feeling in the first half when we hit the post and the bar and missed one or two good chances. Bill’s a good goalie, we know that, arguably one of the best in the league and he’d come up big for them today. But we’re disappointed we missed a number of chances. But when you miss a number of chances and calls are made correctly, you draw the game nil-nil.”
On if a draw would have been deserved:
“It wouldn’t have been right, no. We should have got three points, we have to accept that. But we missed out opportunities and D.C. United took their one gift that they had. Credit to Benny [Olsen] and D.C. coming here in a tough environment, handled it very well, slowed the game down, managed it very well once they went one-nil ahead as well. I’ve got a lot of respect for Benny and their team. They’ve been on a difficult run, but they managed to get it.”
On Tuesday’s Canadian Championship match in Montreal:
“A great opportunity for the other guys. I’m obviously going to go with a similar squad as I did last time, give them opportunities to play, which is what it’s about. Maybe we can score a goal, because we might need to score a goal on Tuesday.”
Thoughts on both penalty calls on either end:
‘‘It’s tough. I think there’s a lot of penalty calls in this league. I’ll have to watch it again to comment on anything. I don’t want to comment too much or too little. I’ll just say that I’ll have to watch it again before I give you guys my opinion.’’
Thoughts on the match:
‘‘Honestly, we created the chances we needed today. We had them but just didn’t take them. And when you don’t take them, you let teams in the game. And D.C. did well to hang on and got their goal off a penalty. And at the end of the day, if you don’t take your chances, it’s going to be hard to win games. But on a positive side, we created a bunch of chances. We had three or four off a crossbar and listen, if two or three of those go in and we’re talking about something else here.’’
On Bill Hamid:
‘‘He played well tonight. And I told him after the game as well. And he’s a big reason why they got three points from here. You’re standing there at the other end trying to be ready if it goes the other way and just hoping that we sneak one by in but tonight wasn’t the night.’’
Thoughts on the match:
‘‘Crazy game. I thought we were the better team. You know, giving up a PK. It happens. It’s not on any one guy. It’s a team loss and we’ll take that and we’ll get better.’’
On the D.C. penalty kick:
‘‘When you look back at it, it’s not a PK. People make mistakes, we move on. To be honest, it’s not us. We should have been up 3-0 at that point and we have to do better in front of goal. We have to put teams away when we have the chance and then we don’t run into things like that.’’
‘‘Listen, we dominated them. I mean, we barely let them out of their own half. I don’t even think they had a chance maybe but the one shot in the first half that David saves. We hit the bar, hit the crossbar, crossbar again, crossbar again, hit the post on a PK. Some days it’s just not your day and today wasn’t our day. We know that we definitely gave one away today and we’re going to be chasing through points next week.’’
On the backline:
‘‘It’s a back line that has experience. Guys that have played in a lot of league games and a lot of important games. We’re only going to continue to get better. It’s not just the back four. It’s the guys in front of us as well that are putting in a shift and making it easy for us to see things in the front. It’s a total team effort. We can get better and we will get better.’’
On what to expect from Atlanta next weekend:
‘‘For them to attack. They’ve scored the most goals in the league I think and they’re going to come in and I doubt they’re going to change what they’ve been doing – which is try to score goals in bunches – so it’s a good test for our defence and for our team and a home game that. Like I said, we gave away three points today – so we need to go get three points next week.’’
On the late penalty call:
“What drama? I don’t know, I’ll have to look at it again. Bill [Hamid] played great, and when you have a goalkeeper with that type of presence, sometimes the post is your friend as well. Gutsy stuff from our group. They were good, they obviously put together quite a few shots, and they were dangerous throughout the game, and we hung on for three points. Sometimes that’s only what you have to do in MLS to win on the road. It was never going to be easy to stop the losing streak that we’ve been on. So we’re obviously very happy that we were able to come home with the points. And with the understanding that we’re going to continue to get some guys back this week from the injury list, and that we have to get better. There’s some guys out there are getting a lot of valuable minutes, so they can help us down the stretch.”
On team belief:
“I think belief is always shaken a little bit when you to through a stretch like that, and it’s always very difficult. So I am very proud of the guys how they held on to get three points going the whole way across the country. I don’t care how you do it, it is very difficult. It is usually never that pretty, so we’re looking forward now to getting to Seattle, then taking a flight to Orlando to see if we can grab something out of there.”
Did he have a problem with Vancouver’s penalty award?
“If our PK was a little dubious, then it all evens out and the post was on our side today. Of course I have a problem with the way that the decision went down, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. I dunno. I’m not an expert on referees.”
On what the win means:
“It means a lot. We’ve been on a slide lately. And I think, we really circled the wagons and really stuck together and grinded one out there for us. It was big.”
On message from coaches going in:
“Stick together obviously. We worked a lot this week on being a little bit more composed on the ball. I thought we had some spells this game where we did connect some passes in the first half and early in the second. But you know, the message was ‘Don’t panic, we’re fine. We’ll be alright if we keep playing hard.’ And I think we showed that a little bit today.”
On maintaining focus:
“It’s a really big field so you’ve got to be smart picking your moments. I though the game was really – like you said – back and forth. And I think the message for us was just ‘stay compact’ in whatever we were doing. And I thought we did a really good job in the second half of that, staying patient defensively and not getting exposed as much as we could have and, you know, it’s a great result for us.”
On building off the win:
“Well we’ve got a game in three days so hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling a little bit but you know, each game is different. I think we just got to keep the same mindset. Not too high, not too low. And we keep fighting and keep gathering points as much as we can.”
On what the win means:
“Huge. We just came off three bad games at home so to get one away, hopefully we can turn things around and hopefully this is a start.”
On message from coaches going in:
“Just to work together. The last few games we haven’t worked as a team. It’s been so stagnant offensively and defensively and to start moving and to start working for each other. If we don’t do that, then we have no chance.”
On the winning penalty kick goal:
“Just concentrate on hitting it hard. He’s a good goalie and I knew there was a chance he was going to guess the right way. He did, unfortunately for me. But luckily I hit it clean enough that he couldn’t get to it.”
On building off the win:
“Just take what we did well in this game and keep going. I think this is a huge game for us to – like I said – to come off three losses at home – to get one away is big. Like I said before, hopefully this is a turn-around for us.”