Report and Reaction: El Bicho’s hat-trick heroes can’t shake Vancouver Whitecaps out of home woes

Report and Reaction: El Bicho’s hat-trick heroes can’t shake Vancouver Whitecaps out of home woes

People were wanting Vancouver Whitecaps’ home games to be more entertaining, but be careful what you ask for, for you might just get it.

The Whitecaps were forced to come from behind once again in a six goal thriller against New England Revolution. In a match that had drama from start to finish, Cristian Techera hit a second half hat-trick and Kei Kamara had a pair of horror misses in front of goal, as the ‘Caps made it four draws in a row and dropped more points at home.

The visitors were never behind the whole afternoon, but some terrible defending from both teams made for an open game. Entertaining yes, but not conducive to kickstarting the Whitecaps climb back up the table.

Carl Robinson rang the changes once again, with both fullbacks and wingers switching out from last week’s draw in Dallas. The biggest surprise though was reserved for the centre of the defence with midfielder Aly Ghazal dropping back to replace Jose Aja and partner Kendall Waston in his last match before heading off to the World Cup with Costa Rica.

And it wasn’t to prove be a great day at the office for the Egyptian, nor for striker Kamara.

The Whitecaps should have been ahead in the opening seconds when Yordy Reyna hit the byeline and crossed the ball in on a plate to Kamara three yards out in front of the goal. It looked harder to miss, but the striker took a poor first touch, allowing three Revs defenders to cut down his option and he ended up firing weakly straight at New England keeper Matt Turner.

It was a horror miss, but it wasn’t to be his only one of the afternoon.

The Whitecaps were looking the more dangerous of the two sides, but the action was flowing from end to end, when from nothing, the Revolution took the lead in the 26th minute.

Cristian Penilla headed up the left wing before hitting the byeline and crossing the ball into no-one in particular in front of goal. Unfortunately for the ‘Caps it found Ghazal and the midfielder’s attempted clearance saw him slice it high into his own net past Brian Rowe for the opening goal.

Techera nearly responded right away for Vancouver but his long range dipper went wide of the right post.

Kamara had a chance to make amends for his earlier miss four minutes before half time but he headed perfect cross over from six yards out and the ‘Caps headed into the interval trailing once again and needing to fight back in the second half.

That fightback got even harder just thee minutes into the second half, when New England doubled their lead.

Diego Fagundez hit a hopeful ball forward towards Penilla. Sean Franklin was tussling with the Ecuadorian and knocked the ball on, allowing the Revs midfielder to show his strength, easily get past and hold off the ‘Caps right back, and power into the box before slotting past Rowe and into the bottom corner.

More individual errors were cost the Whitecaps dear.

But 64 seconds later and the deficit was reduced back down to one, when Marcel de Jong sent a diagonal ball into the box and Techera swept it home first time from seven yards out to make it 2-1.

It was a great cross from de Jong but one that saw him injured on the play and he was soon to leave the match.

The goal brought some life not just to the BC Place crowd but also to the Whitecaps. They stormed forward and tied things up in the 51st minute, and it was Techera again that did the damage.

Russell Teibert sent a ball in from the left and Techera’s initial shot was quite weak and straight at Turner. But the New England keeper spilled the ball. The rebound flew up into the air, and was the perfect height for the diminutive Uruguayan to head home the equaliser and send BC Place in chaotic scenes.

Three goals in three minutes from both sides and the match was now well and truly back on, and you’d have been hard pressed to put your money on the winner.

It felt that the Whitecaps were now clearly in the ascendency and Waston flashed a header narrowly wide, but Vancouver are going to Vancouver and more poor defensive play allowed New England to retake the lead once again just before the hour mark.

A poor giveaway by Ghazal 20 yards out set up the Revolution and Fagundez sent into a low ball which Teal Bunbury gleefully dispatched for his sixth of the season, getting past every Whitecap in his path to ghost in unmarked and tuck it away.

Crazy stuff and it wasn’t finished, with Kamara missing his second sitter of the game in the 61st minute, somehow sidefooting away an Alphonso Davies cross right in front of goal.

The Whitecaps tied it up yet again in the 74th minute when Reyna crossed to a flying Bug who hit another first timer past Turner for his first ever career hat-trick.

The ‘Caps pushed for the winner and came close to getting it when Felipe headed a Techera cross off the right post with Turner beaten, pretty much summing up the home side’s afternoon in front of goal if you weren’t the Uruguayan.

New England had a late penalty shout waved away and the ‘Caps had a couple of half chances, but there were no more goals, and Vancouver had to settle for a point and two more points lost at home.

That’s 11 points from a possible 21 dropped now by the ‘Caps at BC Place. With other teams picking up points all over the place, it’s going to be a tough ask for Vancouver to turn things around and make a concerted push for the playoffs.

These early dropped points are going to be crucial down the line you fear and the ‘Caps are already in danger of getting left behind.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 – 3 New England Revolution

ATT: 22,120

VANCOUVER: Brian Rowe; Sean Franklin, Aly Ghazal, Kendall Waston, Marcel de Jong (Brek Shea 53); Cristian Techera, Felipe, Russell Teibert (Efraín Juárez 69), Alphonso Davies (Anthony Blondell 78); Kei Kamara, Yordy Reyna [Substitutes not used: Sean Melvin, Bernie Ibini, Nicolás Mezquida, José Aja]

NEW ENGLAND: Matt Turner; Andrew Farrell, Jalil Anibaba, Claude Dielna (Brian Wright 67); Brandon Bye, Wilfried Zahibo, Diego Fagundez, Luis Caicedo, Gabriel Somi (Scott Tierney 82); Cristian Penilla, Teal Bunbury (Scott Caldwell 89) [Substitutes not used: Brad Knighton, Krisztián Németh, Kelyn Rowe, Nicolas Samayoa]

REACTION:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

CARL ROBINSON

On the ‘Caps resiliency:

“We showed good character, I know I’ve got character in that group. We didn’t go under, it would’ve been easy at 2-0, when there were a few moans and groans, and rightly so. The players stuck together. They find a way back into the game and ignited the crowd. We ourselves to 2-2 and déjà vu again.”

On learning points from the match:

“We’ve need to stop conceding silly, stupid, needless goals, and that’s just individual detail. I said to the guys, maybe the personnel isn’t right, or the shape of the team isn’t right. At the moment, we feel like we’re getting some bad luck, but I don’t blame bad luck. The defending has not been good enough and we need to address that.”

On Aly Ghazal:

“Aly has trained very well. I wanted to keep the two midfield players in there together because I thought they did very well together at Dallas last week. I need to get Aly a game as well, with Kendall going away. Aly and [Aarond] Maund are going to come into contention. I thought Jose Aja needed a rest. I was trying to find a solution to not concede six goals in three games because we’ve conceded two, two, and two. Obviously, we conceded three. I thought Aly did really well at certain times. He scored the own goal because he didn’t move his feet quick enough. That happens at times. His next clearance was good.”

On getting a result:

“The game’s about winning. People talk about styles, philosophies, entertainment. If we win 1-0 and it’s a boring game, the pessimist would say it’s not good enough. If we score three goals and draw 3-3, it’s entertaining and people go away happy, but I want to win games of football. Credit to New England, the come in with a game plan, as San Jose did, as Houston did. But we let teams off the hook too easy so that’s another area we need to address, individually, as well as collectively.”

On Kei Kamara:

“Kei’s a confident boy. Players go through ups and downs. It’s important when players do that, the coach sticks with the players. There’s been some chances that have been missed, but what’s important is you continue to back your players. That’s not just the staff and me, that’s also the supporters. Players don’t purposely go out there to miss. Sometimes they go through some confidence spurts. When that people, it’s important that people get behind people. I thought Kei reacted very well. I’m sure he’s disappointed at certain areas of his game, but he also did a lot of positive things.”

KENDALL WASTON

On today’s result:

“We wanted to win, obviously. We fought all the way to the end. We spoke about how it’s been four games in a row that we fought hard but it’s harder to score when you’re down. We want to start winning.”

On improving on defence:

“We have to be better at everything. We have to be sharper. We have capable people, even though we conceded some goals. We need to find the happiness and calmness that’s needed to win.”

On having to go away and miss matches:

“It is really hard. I told my wife I wanted to win before I left. I know there are a lot of guys working hard every day, they’ll all push each other hard. We have great players. Hopefully we can get some wins before the break.”

On when it’s going to hit him that he’s going to the World Cup:

“I think when I land in Costa Rica. Today, I was watching the Champions League and two people got injured. I said to myself, ‘I don’t want that to happen to me.’ I want to give it my everything, but I was praying that nothing bad happens to me because anything can happen in this game, you know? I’m healthy and now I’m going to start recording everything thing that happens so that I can look back on it afterward.”

CRISTIAN TECHERA

On today’s result:

“I felt extremely happy that we tied the game up but unlucky that we weren’t able to win the game.”

On the four-match draw streak:

“The good thing is that we were able to get a point out of it but it’s still that unluckiness that we can’t overcome that deficit, or be able to win the game but we’ll get there.”

On if he’s every had a hat trick in his career:

“This was the first time.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

BRAD FRIEDEL

On today’s result:

“I thought in the first half, we were by far the better team, I thought our passing was very good, I thought our pace was very good, I thought our patience was really good. I would have liked to create one or two more chances, apart from the chance Kei Kamara had at the start of the game. I don’t think they created that much in the final third in the first half. Second half, after we got the second goal, the mentality of our players was something that you don’t normally see, it’s just truly remarkable stuff to see yourselves concede two goals in such quick fashion. Then we showed great character again to go 3-2 up, and then Vancouver piled on a lot of pressure. I think it’s safe to say we should have done a much much better job at closing out the game at 2-0, but I guess we’ll always try to work on the things we did poorly and we’ll always try and take positives out the games, so scoring three goals on the road and gaining a point, we’ll take a positive out of that. Conceding three goals and just the concession of goals we’ve had on recent matches hasn’t been good enough.”

On halftime defensive adjustments:

“Well, in the first half, we hardly allowed them to get a cross in the box. In the second half, I think they had more crosses in the first five minutes than they did in the entirety of the first half. We know that they are second in the league in average crosses into the box in each match and that was something we wanted to try to alleviate. We know they have some very good players, whether they are tall or short, they are very lively in the box and it’s something that we didn’t want to happen. We felt the formation change would help us just calm down and solidify who would be closing down who in the final minutes”

On perspective whether winning a point or losing two:

“We lost two.”

DIEGO FAGUNDEZ

On today’s result:

“It was a frustrating one. We did so well to get a goal early and come back at halftime and get another one; then everything just turned around on us. It’s an awful feeling right now. We have to take what we got. We’re going to go home and prepare for our next game.”

On dealing with a team rallying back:

“It’s tough, you have to make sure when you get to that point you have to make sure they don’t score that third goal because if they score the third goal, it’s a different story. We have to be wide awake. We saw the same play three times, and they scored three times the same way. Someone needs to put a foot on the ball to make sure they’re not going down the line and crossing the ball.”

On a whirlwind of a week:

“Of course, I feel good, especially being back with the team. It’s an amazing feeling to see the birth of your child, but at the end of the day, you still have a job. As much as I would like to stay home with the baby, it’s still nice to be back with the team. I was just trying to give the team as much help as I can. I tried my best to score, but I’ll take the two assists.”

On looking forward:

“Once we watch the film, we will see the mistakes that we made, and we will be mad at ourselves. We knew what the game plan was going to be, lots of crosses early, and that’s what they were doing. We were scored on the same way, crosses, and finishing. We’re getting our chances at the end of the day, so we just have to keep doing that.”

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Authored by: Michael McColl

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