Once again Vancouver Whitecaps dropped to the level of their opponents as they drew a LA Galaxy side that was missing a significant chunk of their starting XI.
The only bright spot for the home side was they were able to keep a clean sheet, earned by Stefan Marinovic, which was their first of the season, but they had a second half scare along the way.
The first half of the match had very little to desire, with the Galaxy controlling the opening minutes, with the Whitecaps having less than 35% in the opening quarter hour.
Eventually the home side started collecting chances with Cristian Techera firing a curling shot just over the bar and Yordy Reyna being stopped by David Bingham on a 1v1 break. The Peruvian should have done better and it proved to be a crucial miss.
It was the Galaxy who almost broke the deadlock around the hour mark when Emmanuel Boateng broke free of Jose Aja but was unable to get his attempt on target, firing wide of Marinovic’s goal when it looked certain that he would fire the visitors into an unlikely lead.
With less than 20 minutes to go Kei Kamara came closest to capturing three points for the ‘Caps as he juggled the ball across the box before volleying his shot just wide of the post. A large chunk of the B.C. Place crowd thought he’d put the ball in the net, but that was the closest to joy the Whitecaps faithful were to experience.
The ‘Caps did have some pressure and close moments in the final minutes of the match as they attempted to convert several corners but were forced to settle for the single point.
It was a match where the Whitecaps showed very little creativity when it came to breaking down a team that was short handed and thus comfortable sitting deep in their own end.
They were able to extend their home undefeated to 11 matches, which is record for them playing in the MLS era, but that’s scant consolation for what could prove to be two vital points lost come the end of the season.
In a game where their opponents were very much ripe for plucking, it was the Whitecaps that were left feeling tarred and feathered.
Despite the result not being what they wanted, the Whitecaps will have a chance to get back to winning ways as they travel east to face the undefeated and Eastern conference leading Columbus Crew next week.
Saving the Crew can wait for that one.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 0 Los Angeles Galaxy
ATT: 22,120 (sell out)
VANCOUVER: Stefan Marinovic; Jake Nerwinski, Jose Aja, Aaron Maund, Marcel de Jong (Brek Shea 75); Efrain Juarez (Jordon Mutch 75), Cristian Techera, Yordy Reyna (Anthony Blondell 85), Alphonso Davies; Kei Kamara [Subs Not Used: Brian Rowe, Aly Ghazal, Russell Teibert, Nicolas Mezquida]
LOS ANGELES: David Bingham; Thomas Hilliard-Arce, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Rolf Feltscher, Perry Kitchen, Servando Carrasco (Joao Pedro 90+3), Dave Romney; Sebastian Lletget (Baggio Husidic 81), Ariel Lassiter (Chris Pontius 66), Emmanuel Boateng [Subs Not Used: Justin vom Steeg, Brian Sylvestre, Hugo Arellano]
On what he takes out of this match:
“A point. We weren’t good enough to break a team down that put seven, eight men behind the ball. It happens sometimes, the system that they played, [with] the players in certain positions. When we got our key chances, we didn’t take them. Unfortunately, when you don’t take your chances, you don’t win games.”
On if his team played well enough to win:
“I firmly believe we had enough chances, or enough ball in the final third. I don’t think our quality was nowhere near good enough. I think the wide players, we know they can be electric at times, I think they hit the first man too many times because they played three big centre backs. We weren’t getting across players, which you need to get across players to score. So we weren’t good enough in the final third. So you’ve just got to be very careful when you play a team that just sits in and tries to get you on the counter attack, which we do when we go away from home sometimes. The one chance they had, it could have bitten us on the bum. But it didn’t, thank god.”
On LA having more of the ball early on:
“They’re a good team. Don’t get fooled when they’re missing players. There’s so many games we’ve had this year, or since I’ve been here, where you’re missing a few players or you rotate. I know Sigi was missing a number of key players, but those players are fighting for jobs, they’re fighting for their careers. So they come in and they work harder. So I knew it would be a more difficult game, and I was proved right. They were putting their bodies on the line. They might not be as flashy, but they’ve got a really good squad. So as I said there, we’ll take the point, we weren’t beaten.”
On Kei Kamara returning from a one game injury absence:
“Kei will have wanted to score a goal, no doubt. I thought he did okay. He missed a chance in the last 10 minutes. But I think the team’s disappointed in there because it’s a home game, and we wanted to win a home game, and I think we probably did enough to win the home game, but we weren’t good enough. So you have to sometimes accept that, but there’s lots of positives there. The back four were really good. Stef [Marinovic] looked really solid, didn’t look in danger at all. So if you can’t score at one end, make sure you don’t concede.”
On tonight’s result:
“It wasn’t too bad. I think it was a pretty fair result. We had a couple of good chances but we’re not going to get that many against a team sitting that deep. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert.”
On playing in this type of match:
“Those are toughest type of games for a keeper, really the toughest. You’re doing nothing for 80 minutes, then all of a sudden, I had to do something. It was a one-v-one and all of a sudden, I have to get my angles right. Those are the toughest games for me to play in, for any keeper to play in.”
On playing without Kendall Waston:
“Kendall is Kendall. He’s the captain, seen as the heart of the defence. [Aaron] Maund and Jose [Aja] did a really a good job. I thought they dealt with the two strikers really well. They were always trying to get in behind, aside from that one-v-one that’s bound to happen in a 90-minute game, they did a really solid job.”
On whether the mindset changes when facing an undermanned opponent:
“I don’t think so at all. I think the boys didn’t take them lightly at all. You concentrate even more when you don’t play their star players. Those players on the field are hungry, they did a good defensive job today, unfortunately for us.”
On Jake Nerwinski’s performance:
“It just shows teams change over time, kudos to him. He played almost a full season last year. He’s done his job. I think everyone who doesn’t have as many caps as him did a really good job as well.”
On tonight’s result:
“I felt that it was a very good performance by the team. It was a shame that we couldn’t score on our chances. Everyone was playing well, the atmosphere was great. I’m thankful for the supporters. They were great from the first minute to the end. I know they were missing a lot of players, but I’m still happy with our performance, just disappointed that we could not score.”
On not being able to convert:
“It’s part of football. We had great chances. We created, we just couldn’t get the final touch. The season is so long. Obviously, I wish we won, but we will take the point.”
On the team’s effort:
“Our team worked really hard tonight. We are disappointed for the final score, not for the performance. If you watch the game, you could see everyone had a chance to score, just couldn’t finish. We just need to keep moving forward.”
On tonight’s result:
“We’re happy. I thought we did a good job. Obviously we were on our heels a little bit at certain times and they were sending in a lot of crosses, because their game is based on flick-ons and crosses, and things like that. But I thought we dealt with it well. I thought we had the best chance of the game, Ema [Boateng]’s chance, we could have walked out of here winners. But a tie is probably well deserved and we’re happy with that.”
On playing a young team boding well for the future:
“Definitely. We came out and we played three in the back tonight because we felt we needed that extra defender in there and that extra ability to head the ball and deal with those things. For Tomas Hilliard-Arce, it was a great debut game for him. So when you look at our team and the age of our team, I think the oldest player on the field when we started was Servando Carrasco, and the rest of the team was pretty young. We’re a much more hardened team than we were last year. Last year we would have come in here and we wouldn’t have gotten a result. So we went for a win, we went for a game plan that we thought could give us a win, and we said that if we don’t get the win we’ll walk away with the tie.”
On if there was a sense that some players were playing for their jobs:
“Every time you play you’re playing for your job. It’s a situation [where] obviously we hope to get some guys back next week, in terms of the injuries. We also get Zlatan in. Exactly when he’s coming, we’re not 100 per cent sure and we’ve got to see where he’s at fitness-wise. But things are looking up for next week. Guys acquitted themselves very well today and said ‘hey, I’m ready if you need me’.”
On having two goalkeepers on a bench of six players:
“We only had so many players, so we took every player that was available. So we brought them all. We figured it would be nice for him to make the trip and be part of the group.”
On tonight’s result:
“It’s an important game for us, coming here on the road against a Western Conference opponent, we always want to come out with three points, but at the end of the day with our situation coming into the game, one point on the road is a good result for us.”
On the mindset of going for the win:
“At the end of the day, if you go in with that mindset [of going for a draw], you’re doomed. Your best case is a tie, and most likely, you come out with a loss. We showed our depth tonight. A lot of the guys that played tonight, played a lot last year. You saw the experience in some difficult moments for us. We came here with the intention to win. Obviously, that didn’t work out for us, but a tie on the road is a good thing.”
On the first-half save versus Yordy Reyna:
“Obviously, he’s a great player. When the ball comes over the top, you just want him to beat you. You don’t want to give him anything. And on the second touch, his head dropped so I tried to close as much ground as I could, and I was lucky enough to stay big and make the save.”
On the team effort:
“The most important thing is the work rate from everyone tonight. We weathered the storm well and we limited them to a few chances. On those chances, we were able to make saves together.”
On Tomas Hillard-Arce’s debut:
“I think he had a good debut. He’s a young kid and we don’t want to put too much pressure on him too soon, but he had a very good performance tonight and I’m sure he’s very excited for it, and we’re excited for him, and we look to build on it going forward as well.”
On Ibrahimovic coming in:
“It’s always an exciting time, but at the end of the day we have jobs to do and we’ve got to win games. All that stuff, when that whistle blows, the other teams don’t care that Ibra’s coming in. We’ve got to perform on the field and you can’t let that stuff distract you, Vancouver’s more than happy to come in here and take three points at home. So for us, you just have to block that out and really try and perform your job.”
Can bringing in a big name player like that upset chemistry?:
“Anything can happen, but I know this year we’re really focused and our goal this year is to get to the playoffs and win the MLS Cup and that’s what everyone’s working towards right now.”