Report and Reaction: Jekyll and Hyde Whitecaps open new MLS season with loss to TFC

Report and Reaction: Jekyll and Hyde Whitecaps open new MLS season with loss to TFC

Match report and postgame reaction following Vancouver Whitecaps’ 3-1 First Kick loss to Toronto FC in a match that was the proverbial game of two halves.

REPORT (by Steve Pandher):

It was a fast start to the match, especially for the home side who had a glorious chance in the 8th minute when Russell Teibert crossed the ball from the edge of the box and despite the ball being on a platter for Octavio Rivero, the Uruguayan was unable to corral the ball into the net from just four yards out in front of a gaping goal.

Five minutes later, Kekuta Manneh had a chance when Morales sent him on a break but a poor touch allowed TFC defenders to gather themselves. He was able to get a shot on target but Joe Bendik stood his ground and denied the goal.

TFC had their own chance when Sebastian Giovinco had the ball come to him in the box but he sent his attempt inches wide of the far post.

A minute later the Caps scored the opener as Octavio Rivero redeemed his previous miss and picked up his first of the season. The goal was setup from Pa-Modou Kah who sent the ball over the backline into the path of Rivero and the young striker waited out Bendik to give Vancouver the lead.

Despite Vancouver dominating the first half TFC was able to strike back as Jozy Altidore scored his first with Toronto. It was Sebastian Giovinco who was able to get away from Matias Laba and slip the ball to Altidore and the striker rounded David Ousted and slotted the ball inside the post.

The Whitecaps continued their strong play in the first despite the setback, with Rivero, Manneh and Morales each having their chances to get back the lead. However, none of them were able to connect and both teams went into the half drawn at one.

It was a completely different story after the break as the Caps came close in the first five minutes but conceded the rest of the half to the visitors.

Just before the hour mark Robbie Findley scored his first of the season to give Toronto the lead. Benoit Cheyrou found Justin Morrow down the left side and after beating Steven Beitashour sent a ball into the box which Findley was able to get a touch on to put it past Ousted.

The remainder of the second half saw the Caps attempt to create chances but there weren’t many in the making for the home team.

TFC clinched the win in the 89th minute when Altidore was brought down in the box by Kah and awarded the penalty. The former Sunderland striker stepped and chipped the ball down the middle of the net to secure the three points for Toronto.

Vancouver will head out east to face Chicago Fire while TFC continues their massive seven game road trip as they take on Columbus.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 3 Toronto

ATT: 21000 (sell out)

VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Russell Teibert (Gershon Koffie 64), Matías Laba (Erik Hurtado 83), Mauro Rosales (Darren Mattocks 65), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero [Subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Diego Rodriguez, Sam Adekugbe, Nicolas Mezquida]

TORONTO: Joe Bendik; Warren Creavalle, Steven Caldwell, Damien Perquis, Justin Morrow; Benoit Cheyrou, Michael Bradley, Robbie Findley (Collen Warner 77), Sebastian Giovinco (Luke Moore 80), Jonathan Osorio; Jozy Altidore [Subs Not Used: Chris Konopka, Ashtone Morgan, Nick Hagglund, Jay Chapman, Eriq Zavaleta]




Thoughts on the second half being different from the first half:

“You’re right. It certainly changed didn’t it. It was a very interesting game as I said it would be. First half I think it was really only one team in it – could have scored a couple of goals but we didn’t, scored one goal. Second half, I think they used their experience to keep the ball. They’ve got good players and we just didn’t react right in the second half.”

Thoughts on the team’s defence:

“I thought the backline played very well. I think if you look at the number of chances, we had more chances then them. They take their chances and we don’t take out chances and that’s what the game is all about. The game is not about what you do in the middle thirds, it’s about what you do in the boxes. Good thing is you get to go back to work on Monday and we go again next week.”

Thoughts on the equalizer changing the game:

“I don’t think so. I think even after they equalized in the first half, you know it was a good game. It was a very good game of football. It had a little bit of everything – it had goals, it had two teams taking the mode via possessions, it had a penalty, it had some good and some indifferent decisions. When they score their goal, suddenly obviously they get a spring in their steps and they play well for five or six minutes, but we had three or four chances after they scored to get the second goal but we didn’t take it. They hung in there in the first half and that’s credit to them. In the second half they then obviously took control when they got their second goal. It was a good goal. When they are 2-1 up you can see the experience they have in their team comes out.”

Thoughts on concerns he may have after the loss:

“Nothing gives me cause for concern. We lost the first game on the season, we were outstanding in the first half and I think we were okay in the second half. Probably the way we’ve come out in the second half if anything [is a concern]. I didn’t think we passed the ball well enough, not like we’re used to passing the ball. Players are trying things too hard maybe. We’re trying to hit a killer ball when we didn’t need to do that. We got through them in the first half but in the second half they sat with two banks of four and they’ve done very well, defended very well. In the second half coming out we had no spring in our step.”

Thoughts on disappointing sellout crowd on opening night:

“I actually enjoyed watching it the first 45 minutes. I’m probably like you in the second 45 minutes. I was pulling my little bit of hair that I’ve got out. Two halves are never the same in football. If we would have played that well in the second half we would probably be talking here with a big smile on my face and positivity and things like that but we take a defeat on the chin and we move on.”

Thoughts on having the players to breakdown other teams:

“Yeah I think so. We’ve worked on it, and we do work on it. We know it comes down to personnel as well. We know we’ve got a fantastic personnel, young players with great transitional strengths. Obviously older players have got more guile, more experience and things like that. Credit to Toronto. They came in and sat in and when they got ahead they managed the game very well. Sometimes it’s not about what you do, it’s about what the other team do and when they went ahead they managed to see out the game.”

Thoughts on Pedro having an off day:

“I think first half all the boys played very well. Second half, not just Pedro, but a number of players did not perform to their levels. You don’t perform to your levels and the other team does perform to their levels then you don’t get the points and the performance you want. I don’t single players out as you know. Can he do better – yes he can. Everyone can do better, including myself.”


On scoring in his first game:

“I’m content I scored my first goal but very sad for the team for the result we got. We played very well in the first half and maybe I should’ve gotten another goal.”

On missing on a chance on the eighth minute:

“I tried to get the ball but it just got underneath my feet. I’m still getting used to the pitch. It was disappointing we didn’t score there.”

On the difference between the two halfs:

“The first half we played very well. It’s hard to tell what the issues are. In the first half, we got after them, in the second half, we just found it more difficult.”


On the tough loss:

“It’s a game of taking opportunities and missing opportunities. The game is won over the course of 90 minutes. Toronto was clinical with their opportunities. We did create some chances which is a positive thing. We’ll have to continue doing that. Eventually things will go our way and it will become a different match.”

On what the team can take away from the match:
“We can break down teams, we showed that in the first half. We can do it at will, I think we dominated the first half of the game. Those are all positive things, I think if we can do that over the course of 90 minutes, we can give ourselves a good chance.”

On the difference in the second half:

“It’s hard to say what happened. We went away a little bit from what we’re good at, which is passing the ball, creating chances and being clinical. It is the first game and there are a lot of positives that we can take away from that match.”


On the tough loss:

“In the first half, we played very well. We were moving the ball but in the second half, we forgot how to play. We didn’t do it well enough and we allowed them to play. When you allow teams to play, they will start to dominate. We let ourselves down because we didn’t finish our chances. If we did that, it would have been a different game. We let them back in the game and they finished their chances, and that’s the difference in the game.”

On the penalty kick call late in the match:

“Nine times out of 10, maybe they will not call it, but they called it, there’s nothing you can do about it. He was leaning so much into me, I think everybody saw that but they called it. That’s the way the game is so we have to move on.”

On Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore:

“Jozy is a good player. Besides the two goals he scored, I don’t think he put me and Kendall (Waston) in too much pressure. That’s what he’s paid for, that’s the striker’s job. He finished the two chances he had. He’s a good player and he played international for the US, I think Toronto will have a lot of fun with him.”



Thoughts on Jozy Altidore:

“He played like a monster, he showed you what he could do. He proved something today that he’s going to be a handful. And the ball he took down for the penalty kick was ridiculous. And being able to protect the ball like that was just a world class play. So I thought he was outstanding.”

Defining moments of the first half:

“With Warren there, Warren is picking up one of his first few games. And he was looking to get advanced in some attacking positions. We needed to get organized a little bit, maybe not be so aggressive on the outside. We had to drop and give ourselves a little space, and make them play in front of us and we did.”

On the substitutions:

“I thought Colin and Luke were both outstanding. Two guys fully capable of starting in this league. They came on the field and got into their positions. Great passing from Colin. Luke gave us a chance to get forward and get out of our defensive shape a bit, created some fouls and I thought he was excellent. It’s the depth we have and the guys we can grab off the bench to add to the game is excellent. I’m very pleased with that as well.”


Thoughts on last year’s opening win in Seattle compared to this year:

“I thought the performance was different in a lot of regards. I thought early on here, they caused us trouble with their speed and their athleticism and their mobility. I thought, once we got a grip on that, we handled the game professionally, and pretty well. I especially thought in the second half in terms of understanding what the game was about at that point, being able to play, find little pockets, move for each other, and then defensively control situations, I thought that part was all very good. In the end for me, great way to start the season, a great road performance.”

Happy for Jozy Altidore scoring?:

“Absolutely, nobody knows what he’s all about more than me, nobody believes in him more. He is a guy who on hard days is always going to be there, and so happy for him, but again today was more than just about him. It was 11 guys, few substitutions that stepped on the field and really understood what a difficult game was going to be like and found a way to start the season off really in a positive way. We’re mindful that that it is just one game, certainly a great way to start, but have to continue to improve, and continue to push ourselves along. In this group, we’ll do that.”

Did it feel good silencing the home crowd?

“Yeah, for sure. Atmosphere here was great. Obviously, playing in Vancouver is always special for us and so I think in the end to come away with three points like we did, it’s a great way to start.”


Odds stacked against you:

“It’s difficult to travel, it’s not easy, but it’s the things you have to deal with when you play here we’ll get used to that but I thought we battled well and showed a lot of character and we started the season off how we wanted to with 3 points.”

On his overall TFC debut:

“It was good it’s a new formation its new teammates for all of us so I think that transition will be difficult for everybody but I thought today we showed especially in the second half we have the quality when we set things and slow down to unlock the game.”

On the penalty kick:

“It was my first (chip) but it’s a little bit easier when you’re up 2-1 and there is a little bit less risk, it’s good to get the win and start the season off on the right foot.”

[*** You can hear more quotes in the AFTN postgame podcast. Listen HERE ***]

Authored by: Michael McColl

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