Whitecaps End Pre Season Games With A Loss

Vancouver Whitecaps wrapped up their pre-season games this afternoon with a 1-0 loss against reigning MLS Cup champs Colorado Rapids.

The game was played before an invite only crowd of a few thousand and those that braved the wet and dismal Vancouver weather didn’t really have a great game to warm their cockles.

We’ve criticised the Caps FO for the ticketing shambles in the build up to this season, but we always want to give credit where credit’s due here at AFTN and we have to give a big well done to the FO for providing a number of fans with tickets as a thank you gesture for things that had gone awry with them. As we’ve said here before, we would much rather have a FO that reacts positively to criticism and solves and defuses the problems, than one who just carries on regardless.

It was exciting to be inside a blue and white bedecked Empire Field though and that more than made up for the action on the pitch.

The Whitecaps had the better first half chances and it was new DP Eric Hassli that was at the centre of much of them. He’s still finding his feet with his new team and surroundings but the signs are definitely there that he could be a very useful asset in this League.

His size and deft touches impressed those in attendance and I’d love to see what kind of a striking partnership he would form with Omar Salgado. Unfortunately we never got to find out, as the wonderkid replaced Hassli in the 58th minute.

A Hassli/Sanvezzo partnership is another I would like to see. The pace of the two could have devastating results in MLS, but the Brazilian didn’t feature at all today.

As it was, Atiba Harris shared the striking duties this afternoon. Harris is already proving a frustrating player. He’s showing some quality in bursts, but his ball control and shooting accuracy hasn’t impressed in the games I’ve seen him play in so far. Hopefully pre-season rustyness, but he wouldn’t be my number one starting choice up front.

It was a more experienced starting line up for the Caps from last week’s exciting game against Seattle and I have to say, it wasn’t anywhere near that impressive a performance.

The Caps certainly edged the scoreless first half and had the best chance of the game on 55 minutes when Russell Teibert made a great run to the byeline and flashed a shot across goal that forced the Rapids’ Matt Pickens into a diving save. The rebound fell to Terry Dunfield but he hit the ball high and over with the goal at his mercy.

Neither team really threatened to do much damage, but the pace of the Colorado attack was starting to cause the Caps defence more and more problems as the game went on.

Alain Rochat produced what must already be one of the tackles of the season to thwart one particular attack.

The only goal of the game came with eleven minutes remaining after some sloppy Caps defending allowed Sanna Nyassi to break into the box. Nyassi then found the unmarked Jamie Smith and the Scot had time to pick his spot and curl home what proved to be the winner.

It was hard to take too much out of the game and the numerous substitutions definitely played a part in breaking up the flow of the game and the team. The Rapids had pretty much what we would expect to be their first team out there and the Caps more than held their own for most of the match. Very promising stuff indeed.

I think we can probably have a rough idea of who Teitur will now go with as his starting eleven come the 19th, but there are still a few positions that could go either way.

From the three games I’ve seen in person I’d like to see Morfaw, Teibert and Sanvezzo make the first eleven. The AFTN jury is still out on a few, but in Teitur we trust.

Just one more week of training before the season finally starts. It’s felt like an age, but we’re so close you can smell the pulled pork.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at some of the logistics we picked up from being inside Empire today and we’ll have some more pics as well.

Mon the Caps.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 1 Colorado Rapids

VANCOUVER: Jay Nolly (Joe Cannon 45); Jonathan Leathers, Greg Janicki, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat (Jeb Brovsky 75); Nizar Khalfan (Wes Knight 58), Gershon Koffie (Alexandre Morfaw 58, Philippe Davies 90), Terry Dunfield, Russell Teibert (Blake Wagner 60); Atiba Harris (Long Tan 75), Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 58)

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Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Anonymous at 12:50

    …like to see Morfaw, Teibert and Sanvezzo make the first eleven…
    I'll agree to disagree on two of those three. Think Teibert is the real deal and deserves to be unleashed even at 18.
    Morfaw and Sanvezzo I'm undecided on but not sure starting 11 is in the cards for them. Sanvezzo seems to be in the mold of a late game striker replacement to add a change of pace rather than a starter and have to believe the second “forward”position is going to be Davide's (playing behind the striker and in front of the midfield) I think he may fall to no.3 on the charts.
    Morfaw just hasnt played enough this season to warrant first 11 yet.. just returning from injury and injured again he seems likely to also come off the bench to replace Koffie as the ball winner in the middle. Koffie I think is undervalued cause he isnt flash and does the ugly spade work in the middle that allows Dunnie freedom (he plays much better when not having to hold) or Thor when he's in (the fact chances start to materialize after Koffie's substitution shouldn't be overlooked)
    Don't get me wrong, think Morfaw is going to play a big role on this team but think it'll be as a sub spark plug most likely for Koffie. If the Thor/Dunnie tandem starts though all thats thrown out the window… love pre-season line-up musings.
    Have more of it at the Lamplighter if interested 🙂

    Cheers on good stuff as always.
    LWO04

  2. Krammerhead at 15:07

    What was the deal with “invited guests” only. Either you have a closed game or you don't. Or do the Whitecaps want to foster a some people are special some aren't fan base?

  3. Krammerhead at 15:34

    How is this Long Tan fellow? Any Good? Or just a signing to get out certain ethnic fans?

  4. Arne Salvesen at 17:44

    Yes Krammerhead, some people are more equal than others … or didn't you get the memo?

  5. GoF at 19:06

    It was more a chance to invite youth groups and media. A few called up and asked for tickets due to their ticketing fuck ups and the Caps seemed to oblige these requests.

    I'm not sure about Long Tan. Like Harris, he has shown good glimpses and may develop into a key players.

    Yeah, I admit I probably do undervalue Koffie. Good point about the chances drying up too after he went off.

    Keep all your line up muses coming!

  6. Krammerhead at 02:32

    Well Arne I guess I wasn't equal enough to get the memo. Wouldn't have gone anyway, too many snobs!

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