Goalless at the half, still in with a chance, giving up a goal early in the second, then ending up conceding three and seeing a player sent off along the way. That was Saturday night for Vancouver Whitecaps in Seattle. Sadly it was almost déjà vu in San Jose four days later, except this time the ‘Caps finished the match with nine men on the pitch.
Second half goals from Cristian Espinoza, Andres Rios, and a third in stoppage time from Paul Marie, gave San Jose a comfortable 3-0 victory on the end, while Vancouver say Andy Rose sent off for a second bookable offence and Erik Godoy see a straight red after a tussle in the box.
Both the red cards can be argued, the loss, and the fault lines in the Whitecaps are starkly clear however.
Changes were guaranteed from Marc Dos Santos for this one with midfielder Janio Bikel and DP striker Lucas Cavallini both out through suspension.
The ‘Caps coach made five changes altogether to the team that went down 3-1 to Seattle on Saturday night, which included Leonard Owusu returning from injury, Michael Baldisimo making a welcome return to the starting line-up, and recently acquired goalkeeper Evan Bush being handed his first start for Vancouver behind an unchanged back four.
Bush was tested for the first time six minutes in when Andy Rose slipped in the box, allowing Cristian Espinoza to take a touch inside and fire one off which the ‘Caps keeper held onto at his near post.
The Whitecaps had their first chance of the match two minutes later when Cristian Dajome headed over a Russell Teibert cross.
The game soon fell into a lull but the ‘Caps turned up the pressure midway through, forcing a couple of half chances that tested James Marcinkowski in the Quakes goal.
Andy Rose forced a save from Marcinkowski in the 25th minute, powerfully meeting a corner but seeing his goalbound header tipped over.
Espinoza had a great chance to put San Jose ahead in the 31st minute when he got onto a long Marcinkowski goal kick, leaving Rose in his wake, but could only watch on as his lob over Bush, who initially hesitated before coming out, went over the bar. Route one football at its finest, but the teams were still scoreless.
San Jose should have gone ahead in the 40th minute when Espinoza sprang Judson, after Owusu and Rose were caught in no-man’s land. The Brazilian had acres of room and a lot of time as he bore down on the ‘Caps goal, but he pulled his effort inches past the far post and Vancouver breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
It was goalless at the half, which always feels like a small victory for the Whitecaps these days, but as we saw on Saturday in Seattle, things can change pretty quickly.
It took five minutes this time around, with Espinoza twisting and turning in the box, with three Whitecaps defenders just standing watching, before firing home into the far corner past Bush. It was a goal you felt was coming for the Argentine and was well deserved.
He deserved one tonight.
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) October 8, 2020
Much had been made of the Whitecaps’ stunning inability to overcome falling behind in matches these past two seasons and any hopes Vancouver may have had of shaking that off were pretty much extinguished just three minutes later when Rose, who had a pretty rough first half defensively, was sent off for picking up a second booking. A killer moment in the match.
It was going to take something to get Vancouver back into this one. At the very least they needed to make the most of the few chances they were now set to get and Dajome squandered a fantastic one two minutes past the hour mark. The Colombian headed to goal but his wild strike was nowhere near even hitting the target never mind testing the Quakes keeper.
Costly? Perhaps. But either way it was game over in the 66th minute when Rios was left unmarked in the box and finished off a Carlos Fierro cutback, with the Whitecaps defence once again just left standing watching. It was another embarrassing goal to give up.
THINGS YOU LOVE TO SEE. pic.twitter.com/mDl1bm6ZuZ
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) October 8, 2020
The Whitecaps looked beaten and the Earthquakes continued to press looking for more. How out of hand this was going to get was now the question and that was amplified further when Erik Godoy was given a straight red after a tussle in the Quakes box with Jackson Yueill. It seemed harsh, but wasn’t overturned by VAR and the ‘Caps were now without both their starting centre backs.
The Quakes sensed blood like their counterpart sharks and had a few close calls and Bush was called into action.
But they got the third their play was deserving of three minutes into stoppage time.
If San Jose were getting space in their attacks before Vancouver went down to nine men, it was even more inevitable now that players would not get picked up and Frenchman Paul Marie struck his first MLS goal, with a nice finish into the bottom corner after receiving the ball in acres of space once again.
Paul Marie's first-ever @MLS goal!
What a night in San Jose! pic.twitter.com/yLg7qlwkn1
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) October 8, 2020
It capped off another miserable night at the office for Vancouver. Dos Santos said after the match that he didn’t feel the team was in a dark place and had faith in the team’s ability. Jake Nerwinski said this was a team that could win in MLS.
Watching it doesn’t feel like that and if both things are true, all that does is raise further questions as to why things are going so wrong right now.
Seven games to go, still just four points outside the playoff places. It seems a forlorn hope, but at least there’s hope. Real Salt Lake, the team immediately above Vancouver in the standings are next up. Lose that and it will certainly feel dark and lights out for the Whitecaps.
FINAL SCORE: San Jose Earthquakes 3 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps
ATT: 0 + some horny people in a car park
SAN JOSE: James Marcinkowski; Nick Lima (Paul Marie 85), Florian Jungwirth, Tanner Beason, Tommy Thompson; Judson, Jackson Yueill; Cristian Espinoza (Siad Haji 88), Chris Wondolowski (Cade Cowell 76), Carlos Fierro (Gilbert Fuentes 85); Andrés Ríos (Shea Salinas 77) [Substitutes not used: Daniel Vega, Oswaldo Alanis, Jack Skahan, Luis Felipe Fernandes]
VANCOUVER: Evan Bush; Jake Nerwinski (Ryan Raposo 72), Érik Godoy, Andy Rose, Ali Adnan; Cristian Dájome, Leonard Owusu, Michael Baldisimo (Patrick Metcalfe 73), Russell Teibert (David Milinković 46); Fredy Montero (Theo Bair 81), Tosaint Ricketts (Ranko Veselinović 55) [Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Isaac Boehmer, Derek Cornelius, Damiano Pecile]
Possession: SJ 66.1% – VAN 33.9%
Shots: SJ 17 – VAN 7
Shots on Goal: SJ 8 – VAN 5
Saves: SJ 5 – VAN 5
Fouls: SJ 11 – VAN 13
Offsides: SJ 0 – VAN 0
Corners: SJ 4 – VAN 7
MARC DOS SANTOS
Overall thoughts on the match?
I think the first half we played with an incredible energy. The guys did exactly what we wanted from them. That’s the type of team in the first half that I want us to be about. Their goalkeeper makes two very big saves and we come out zero-zero. A good game. It’s an open game between two teams that went at it. And then, even when we went down in the score, we felt that it’s a game that could have turned around. But the sending off of Andy (Rose) is totally soft. So so soft. Andy, I think he made two fouls in the game and that killed the game, that killed the game.
You’re down one-zero, ref Allen (Chapman) sends off Andy, and then kind of in an embarrassing way. And then, then Erik (Godoy) gets sent off again for? I don’t want to say much, so I don’t get in trouble but not good, not good. We don’t deserve. The result at the end is heavy for the effort of everybody in the club and everybody in the team. But we have to keep going. We have to keep pushing we have another game on Saturday.
Seemed the call on Erik could have gone another way, is that your interpretation?
From what I saw from the images, for me, it was so fast to show Erik a red card, and that not even reviewing. I don’t agree with it. I don’t agree it’s a red
Did that change the match?
Already, when it was one-zero, we get an excellent chance with Cristian Dajome to do the one-one. And then, that doesn’t happen but of course that the second red card you’re playing eight against 10, and it’s very hard. And nobody stopped running, nobody stopped working, the guys tried. Even the last goal they score, it’s in a ball that we tried to play long in the box, to try to get something out of it, and then in that counterattack they scored. That two more players than us on the field so that’s hard to deal with that. Unfortunately, I think the ref kills the game when he sends off Andy and it’s too bad for the game that it was, for the rhythm and the intensity that the game had. It’s too bad.
Impression of Evan Bush tonight?
Evan brings a calming presence. I don’t think he had any fault in the goals. He brings a calming presence. He is just getting settled with the team, and I think overall it was a positive game for him.
More on Godoy’s red card:
We’re going to fight so that the red card of Erik is reviewed, because if that is a red card, man the league is going to have to give a lot of red cards. I watch a lot of MLS games. I see a lot of hands in the face and all of that. There’s a player that plays for a team in the east coast that already slapped maybe 40 guys and never got a red card. And us, that play is bad. It’s unfair for Erik and we’re going to review it and fight that card maybe.
Do sending offs affect the team psyche when they’re already in a dark place?
It does, but we’re not. We’re disappointed, we’re upset that we lost, but we’re not in a dark place. We trust in our ability. We have a game Saturday that we want to win, and we’re going to go for it again. We’re going to bring a lot of energy on Saturday and we’re going to be ready for the game. There’s no doubt that after the talk I had with the guys and how I feel, we’re going to go for it. A dark place is people that have lost family members with Covid. Dark places is if something happens with one of my kids. That’s a dark place. We’re not in a dark place. We’re ready to go and very excited for Saturday and we won’t allow this game to bring anything down. We will review it, we’re going to reinforce what we were about in the first half, and continue growing on that. That’s what we’re going to do.
On tonight’s loss:
“I’m disappointed. We came here with a plan, we came here to get after them, press them high, make the game uncomfortable for them and really go after them. Like you saw in the first half, we created some good chances. Just disappointed.”
On the game plan:
“We came into this game, we wanted to get our lines higher, stay compact, stay tight as a team, pick the right times to press, press as a group, fight as a group. We showed a lot of positive signs back in the first half, we were really getting after them, we created some quality chances. We just have to build off that, build off that mentality, build off that effort. You can’t fault the effort.”
On his message to his teammates:
“Keep fighting. The second yellow on Andy, I think, is harsh. It’s a battle, they’re battling for the ball and to go down a man to a play like that, I think is quite harsh. I think we deserve more. Honestly being down two men, it’s tough at that point but we came in with the right mentality. I think the guys see the success we can have if we stay compact, we press as a group, we fight for the first ball, the second ball. That’s just the mentality that we’re going to have to keep going, it’s going to be a battle from here on out. Every game is crucial, every point is crucial, and it’s going to take a big effort from all of us in the final games.”
On the moment that swung the game:
“As the game goes, you expect them, if they’re not having success, they’re going to adjust. We were working, we stuck to what we were supposed to do, we pressed, we got after them. I think the first goal was kind of soft, kind of against the run of play. And then the cards after that just really crippled us but like I said, you can’t fault the effort. And I think there’s positives that we can build upon. Even after the goal, I felt that we were still in it, we could still get something out of this game. I felt for me personally, it felt like a game that we could win. And for me, I think it’s the card that is crippling. After that card, I get substituted and things change after that. And then we get another card and it’s tough at that point. So, for me personally, the first card is crucial.”
On his frustration on the evening:
“I’d like to make it clear I wasn’t frustrated that I was subbed off, I understand why. Marc and I talked about it. My frustration stems from how this game took a turn for the worse. How we were down 2-0 in a game where I thought we had a chance to win at the end of the first half. We gave up a goal early on in the second half. Andy had an unfortunate second yellow, and that’s where my frustration stems from. I know that we have more in us and I’m just upset that this is how the game went.”
On the team having enough:
“We have the players to be successful in this league. We haven’t put it together yet. We showed glimpses of it in the games that we won and in some games that we’ve lost that were close. Right now, we’re not putting it together. And we need to figure out how to do that in the remaining eight games.”
On positives to build on ahead of RSL match:
“We can take some positives from the first half, how we stepped up our lines, we weren’t caught defending in our final third as much as we sometimes do in games. I thought we stepped up pretty well once we broke the initial pressure from them. We had chances in behind, and I felt we were really good on set plays today. Andy got robbed by a good save, and then his first one I think as well. We didn’t finish it but there’s things to look forward to. We know that we can play well against Salt Lake. We’ve shown that. And we just need to really buckle down. We need to get points now.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
On the team’s performance tonight:
“I think that we are forgetting about the tournament we played in Orlando. We really saw a competitive team. The restart of this season for each team was difficult. This season is unstable, just how we are living all around the world. It is difficult to train so little and play so often. Today, we had 20 players even. Many youngsters participated. But many teams are going through good moments and bad moments. There will be difficult moments and regular moments like we’ve talked about after each game, because of the way this season is. I think standing up after the previous negative performances, there is conviction and special work that we’ve done. There is good communication and adequate interpretation. We were able to overcome that negative streak at the beginning of the season. However, we cannot deny that the season is difficult for everyone.”
On forward Andy Rios’ performance:
“When the team functions as a team, we are able to achieve our style of play. Andy Rios might not have been finishing, but he is one of the players that runs the most, he’s one of the players that plays with his soul, he does work that might not be noticed, but when they score it’s a joy for the team. I don’t just focus on one player, I am convinced that when the 11 players play for one another, we play as a team. And in football you play as a team.”
On playing the Portland Timbers on Sunday:
“Today we celebrate a victory. We must make space to stay calm and the players deserve to celebrate after working hard. Tomorrow, we will begin to think about a difficult rival we will be facing, and we will figure out a game plan. We must see how the players recover and seek out any potential injuries. So today we will enjoy the victory with our families, as a family, after winning the way we did tonight.”
On what has fueled the team’s turnaround and how the team continues its momentum:
“I think it’s not getting too high or too low. As we’ve seen in this league, results dictate how things go in the locker room, and so when you win it’s a good time. We just have to keep that same mentality going forward. We can’t get too high on these wins, and we can’t get too low when we lose. It’s just trying to maintain that same equal line and consistently getting better game in and game out. It’s looking at our mistakes, looking at what we did well, and trying to improve on those things.”
On how the team feels about going against the Portland Timbers:
“I think the good thing is that we didn’t play them too long ago. There’s a lot of video we can watch and figure some things out. I think they did well. They took advantage of our mistakes, but I think that’s something we want to improve on. I think we’re in a much different spot than we were a few weeks ago when we played them. Now, we’ve kind of got back to who we are and play the Earthquakes style of soccer, and so we just have to keep that mentality going. So much of it is that group effort. It’s a team effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting or coming off the bench as you’ve seen in the past few games. Subs are scoring like tonight, Paul [Marie] with his first goal, I couldn’t be happier for him, and Gilbert [Fuentes], Siad [Haji], and Cade [Cowell] coming off the bench. I think taking that group mentality and collective effort into a tough place to play in Portland, but we just have to fight together.”
On what the absence of Florian Jungwirth means for Sunday’s game vs. Portland:
“I really don’t know who’s going to play. I think we have to get guys recovered and watch some video on them. Then we can assess where we are a few days from now. Whoever does play, I think you’ve seen that whoever comes in makes a really big impact, and it’s going to be the same mentality and same feel with whatever 11 is out there.”
On if he thought about leaving the Quakes for Europe instead of signing a new contract:
“No, not really. This is where I want to be. This is a project that I want to be a part of. From Matias to the locker room, it’s a family that I’ve grown to love and really appreciate. This is where I want to be for the future, and I’m excited to keep playing for this club and seeing how far we can go in all the years to come.”
On the team’s improvement over the last three matches:
“These three games definitely brought back some of the confidence we had in Orlando. It’s been a difficult year with all of the interruptions of playing and not playing and then the games so close together. We had a little bit of a tough month there, but I think these three games definitely helped us get a little bit of our confidence back; the way we played, the way we passed, the way we pressed. I definitely hope that we can keep building from this and get better and better each game.”
On the importance of getting into a playoff spot:
“I think we have a really strong group. We have a really deep group. You saw a lot of younger guys come in today and get minutes, which was great. The cohesion between everyone I think has been fantastic. We’re taking it one step at a time, one game at a time, and you can tell that in these games. I think each game we’re getting better and better, and you can see improvement with the ball and without the ball. That’s our focus. It’s trying to improve game in and game out and fine tune little details. Hopefully at the end, we’re where we want to be.”