It’s the end of the road for Vancouver Whitecaps. For now at least. But on the showing of the team in this three game trip out east, it’s the end of their Canadian Championship hopes and very possibly their MLS playoff ones as well if they don’t see a drastic change in their performances.
Three games, three defeats, the latest of them a 2-0 loss at Montreal Impact on Tuesday evening. There were no goals scored, six conceded, and very little positives to take from the three games against their Canadian rivals.
Goals from Romell Quioto and Lassi Lappalainen had Montreal two up and coasting by the half. Vancouver came out with more fire to start the second, but a missed Lucas Cavallini penalty shaped the direction of the half, as the Whitecaps just couldn’t get any real goal threat going and the Impact seemingly settled for what they had.
Marc Dos Santos went with a 3-5-2 formation, handing homegrown midfielder Michael Baldisimo his first MLS start and minutes, as Vancouver looked to try whatever it may take to get their season back on track.
The first real scare for the Whitecaps came 10 minutes in when Victor Wanyama sent a long range dipper narrowly over Thomas Hasal’s bar.
The Impact took the lead eight minutes later when Saphir Taider got the ball wide left in acres of room and sent a delicious delivery right on to the head of Quioto who rose easily above Andy Rose to powerfully head home the opener.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 26, 2020
The closest the ‘Caps came to threatening the Impact goal came in the 34th minute when Baldisimo curled a free kick just past the left post, with Clement Diop rooted on his line.
It felt inevitable that Montreal would add to their tally and they did, with five minutes of the half remaining, when Lappalainen ran on to a long through ball, leaving Ranko Veselinovic in his wake, and coolly cut inside and curled a low one past the outstretched Hasal and into the bottom corner.
Cooool finish. 😎
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 26, 2020
It was another poor half from Vancouver, with Baldisimo the only real bright spot. The formation wasn’t working with the personnel out there, and although they enjoyed some good possession, there was never a feeling that they would actually do anything with it.
The Whitecaps needed something to change the tide and whatever was said at half time, they looked like a different team to start the second half. And it was in terms of personnel, with Jake Nerwinski and Leonard Owusu coming on for the second 45 minutes.
The ‘Caps had the Impact on the back foot, forcing a few scrambles in the Montreal box, and they earned a chance to get themselves back into the match five minutes after the restart when Derek Cornelius was felled in the box.
Cavallini stepped up to take the spot kick, but Diop read it well to make the save and make it the second penalty miss of the season for ‘Caps Designated Player. Maybe he should just picture the ball as his childhood friend Jonathan Osorio and kick it with that venom!
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 26, 2020
There was very little to write home about for the rest of the half and Montreal easily held on for the 2-0 victory in their first match back on the pitch in a month.
Winless. Goalless. Hopeless.
That pretty much sums up where the Whitecaps are right now. They have 11 days to regroup and try and do something different when they return to the BC Place pitch on September 5th against Toronto. Right now, it’s hard to see what that could possibly be.
It’s another tough year to be a Whitecaps fan. When isn’t it really?
FINAL SCORE: Montreal Impact 2 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps
MONTREAL: Clément Diop; Rudy Camacho, Luis Binks, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Jukka Raitala; Victor Wanyama; Lassi Lappalainen (Orji Okwonkwo 66), Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider (Maximiliano Urruti 55), Emanuel Maciel; Rommell Quioto (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 79) [Substitutes not used: Evan Bush, Amar Sejdic, Joel Waterman, Jorge Corrales, Clément Bayiha, Shamit Shome]
VANCOUVER: Thomas Hasal; Cristian Dájome (Yordy Reyna 66), Ranko Veselinović (Jake Nerwinski 46), Andy Rose, Derek Cornelius, Ali Adnan; Patrick Metcalfe (Leonard Owusu 46), Michael Baldisimo (Ryan Raposo 62), Russell Teibert; David Milinkovic (Tosaint Ricketts 76), Lucas Cavallini [Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Cristián Gutiérrez, Theo Bair, Jasser Khmiri}
Possession: MTL 44.6% – VAN 55.4%
Shots: MTL 12 – VAN 10
Shots on Goal: MTL 4 – VAN 2
Saves: MTL 2 – VAN 2
Fouls: MTL 19 – VAN 8
Offsides: MTL 0 – VAN 3
Corners: MTL 6 – VAN 3
MARC DOS SANTOS
On the problems in front of the goal:
“There’s this period right now with us that it’s just not getting in and I feel that it’s a heavy result because the way we came back in the second half we pushed, we pressed, we tried to create. We won a foul that led to a penalty shot, and not even that one we scored. So right now it’s a moment where it’s like that, and we have to reflect, we have to evaluate what we need to become better and go on. We have these three games in Vancouver right now as a huge opportunity for us.”
On the missed penalty:
“We knew exactly how to come back into this game. We knew if we would score the goal at any moment we would be able to put Montreal under a lot of pressure. But you know I understand, Ali [Adnan] got on the ball and he gave the ball right away to Cava [Lucas Cavallini], and Cava wants to grow in confidence, we want him to grow with confidence, and unfortunately it’s a rough night for him right now because he wanted this ball to go in and unfortunately it didn’t, and that was a blow for us. We didn’t stop pushing though. We continued going, we continued trying to play in the front foot but unfortunately, we didn’t create enough in the final third, we’re still lacking for some magic I would call it in that final third.”
On what to focus on in the next 11 days:
“I have to focus on what currently we have and how we could become better as a team. I think one of the things that we worked a lot in the last two days was to improve our possession, to improve our team with the ball. The way that we’re going to be able to move up the field and have more numbers around the box and that part was much better from the last two games against Toronto. But at the same time we can’t really lose our defensive balance. We could have done much better challenging with Quioto in that first goal. Then Cava has a similar opportunity that we don’t score, Baldi [Michael Baldisimo] has a very good free kick that goes just wide. And then there’s this ball over the top where we have to drop when that defender is facing the play and has no pressure, our back has to drop and we didn’t do it and then it put Lappalainen in a very good position. You know, when we came back from last time, I think we could take a lot of positives from that side to build on in the 11 days that we have and to become better at home. And the other thing is, making sure that we stick the group together because we’ve had about five days before coming here and I think with the group all together and I think it’s a very good wake up call in the sense that this is how much we have to work if we want to become a better team. And again, my focus is really to improve the players we have in the club and improve the players that that are available right now for us.”
On starting Michael Baldisimo:
“Well if you go look at my interviews when I talk about young players, I always say that it has to be done in the right time. They have to prove through training every day with consistency that they want an opportunity to play, and to be in the first and the 18 or 20, and then get a sniff on the field. Baldi has done that throughout the last month. He’s been a player that has pushed in training. He’s been consistent. And what I mean by consistency is not getting injured, making sure he stays on the field in training because he had a history of training four times and then being injured two weeks and training two training sessions and being out one week. Now he’s finding consistency in training. And then, you know, some of our players had very tight muscles because of the type of, I would say bad training we had due to the quarantine and not being able to train in the way that we wanted and having to play right away. Jake Nerwinski had tight muscles and didn’t have 90 minutes in him and Leo Owusu also the same thing so when that happened we felt it’s an opportunity right away for Baldi. We made the move right away with confidence and Baldi I think his 60 minutes were very positive for him. It was 60 minutes that he got on the ball, switched a lot of the play. He has to be happy with his 60 minutes.”
On playing well in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1:
“The difficult thing for us right now is to find the best formula because of players that we lost or players that are not in, and that’s difficult for us. I feel that yeah you have answers in the second half that allows you to have an opportunity to grow as a team. But man when you have so many guys out when we went to Orlando, and then back in and selling Inbeom that is the most creative midfielder we had, you ask yourself so many questions and what’s the best formula, how can we go about things and always being on the road also. But Baldi and even Pat [Metcalfe] I would say with these two games, they’re giving us options also to be in a 4-3-3. Hopefully [Janio] Bikel is going to come in soon, hopefully Erik [Godoy] we could use him soon, but right now we have to do the best right now with the players we have and that are available.”
On differences of being in quarantine on the road versus at home:
“It’s going to affect the guys’ routine – I know and I’m sure – in a positive way. Because we’ve been locked, we’ve been inside the hotel not allowed to leave the hotel. I feel it’s been harder than Orlando mentally, because in Orlando every team was locked in. Right now teams live in a different world, if you’re Toronto and you’re home you live differently than Vancouver. The same with Montreal. And now hopefully we could go home at BC Place and take advantage out of it. But our concern more than that is again, take the bad things and the good things in the trip, and kind of hope that we could have a sequence with all of our team together. That’s what we hope right now.”
On tonight’s result:
“I’m sick of the same conversations over and over again, we’re just getting the same result every single time so it’s frustrating. We’ll look back on it and maybe we’ll find some positives but at the end of the day, we have to all take a serious look at ourselves in the mirror and see what we can all be better at so that we can finally get something to show for it because this is getting too much.”
On what has to be done:
“I’m not sure exactly, we got a lot of work to do right now. There’s no time to point fingers at anybody, we all have to, as I said, take a serious look at ourselves in the mirror. Be better. It starts from the training sessions and we move that into the game but this is not acceptable now.”
On what the team needs:
“We all need to play with that desire. We all need to fight for one another. Sometimes the goals are not going to be pretty. Right now, we’re in a slump. Stuff is not going our way. And it’s not gonna be pretty all the time. Sometimes, we just have to get the ball over the line.”
On upcoming home stand:
“They say home field is an advantage but I don’t want to make any excuses. We need to be better whether you’re home or away. There are things out there we’re just not doing, we’re not we’re not playing the way that we know how to play, we’re not getting the results that we need. And we need to be better as a whole. I don’t want to put excuses as we were away for X amount of games, we need to be better.”
On playoff outlook:
“We can’t worry about playoff spots right now, we need to worry about the next game, and be better next time out. We need to push for desire, we need to come out there hungry, we need to show that we want to, you know, get, get things going the right way. Just be better and push forward.”
“In the first 10 minutes, we didn’t do what we were supposed to, but we adjusted, and we kept our structure well afterwards. Then, we scored some good goals. We finish some great moves today, including the second goal which started from the goalkeeper. At the end, it’s always great not to concede and score two goals. Being at home and playing in our stadium is great. I like this stadium and its fans, and there’s nothing better than having fans. But what’s most important now is that we can go home, and not back to our room in the bubble. You go back to your normal routine as a player, and that’s a plus you cannot value.”
“It was great to score a goal, and even just get the start, considering it was my first start in almost 11 months. We’re very clear about the way we want to play and the tactics we need to employ. We managed to use what we do in training in the game today and get the win at the end.”
“We were happy to be back at Stade Saputo. The fans in the stadium were noisy and we heard them loud and clear. That had an effect on us, and it was really appreciated by everyone. Our chemistry was there tonight. We didn’t have the ball as much, but we were up 2-0. We applied our game plan and they couldn’t create too many opportunities.”