Report and Reaction: Second half collapse of seismic proportions sees Vancouver Whitecaps fall to San Jose in MLS is Back opener

Report and Reaction: Second half collapse of seismic proportions sees Vancouver Whitecaps fall to San Jose in MLS is Back opener

After a four month hiatus, Vancouver Whitecaps finally returned to the pitch in Orlando, losing on a late winner from former Cap Shea Salinas in a 4-3 loss against San Jose in their opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament.

The whole evening was simply bananas from start to finish.

Vancouver got their goals from Ali Adnan and Cristian Dajome, either side of an own goal from Judson, while goals from Andres Rios, Chris Wondolowski, and Oswaldo Alanis had got San Jose on level terms, before Salinas became the Quakes hero eight minutes into stoppage time.

The ‘Caps were able to get on the board in the opening ten minutes of the match when Hwang In-Beom intercepted the ball and fed it to Ali Adnan, who cut into the box and unleashed a right footed shot that beat Daniel Vega to give Vancouver the early lead.

San Jose responded by forcing Max Crepeau into a couple of saves, one from Jackson Yueill at the top of the box and then one three minutes later off of Christian Espinoza from a tight angle to the right of the net.

After giving up a fifth corner in a 12 minute period, the Whitecaps were able to hit the Quakes on the counter as Reyna picked up the ball from inside their half and headed up the other end of the pitch.

The Peruvian’s attempt to get a pass to Dajome was deflected by Vega but luckily for Vancouver the pass was put into the path of Quakes defender Judson, who sent the ball into his own net.

2-0 to the ‘Caps and it was dreamland at Disney.

But there was to be no happy every after for Vancouver.

Crepeau had to come up with another couple of saves before the half hour water break with the most dangerous coming off a cross/shot from Espinoza.

The corners finally caught up with the ‘Caps as San Jose capitalized on their 12th one in the first half when Andres Rios flicked the ball to the far post past a diving Crepeau in stoppage time.

After the break, San Jose continued to apply the pressure in Vancouver’s third missing on a number of shots in addition to Crepeau denying Vako on a shot.

Just before the hour mark Vancouver were able to apply some high pressure forcing Vega into a horrendous turnover, when his pass across his goal was anticipated and pounced upon by David Milinkovic and the winger found Dajome making a run into the box and the Colombian directed the ball into the open net for his first goal as a Cap.

San Jose responded with a quadruple substitution, bringing on some veteran experienced and it turned the game.

San Jose pulled within one when one of that quartet, MLS all-time scorer Chris Wondolowski, just got his head onto the ball, sending it into the ground and bouncing it just over the line to give the Quakes some hope.

The Quakes’ Danny Hoesen looked to be in an offside position when he collected the ball to send in Wondolowski, but there was no offside given upon review and the goal stood.

The California side’s hope and belief was rewarded just nine minutes later with nine minutes remaining and on San Jose’s record-tying 19th corner of the match, when Alanis out jumped Jasser Khmiri to powerfully head the ball past Crepeau and amazingly tie things up at three apiece.

San Jose were definitely in the ascendency and were pushed hard for a dramatic late winner. With Vancouver heads down and energy levels fading, Leo Owusu, who was making his first start, went down with an injury that saw a lengthy, and perhaps too long stoppage to allow treatment.

And San Jose certainly made the most of those extra minutes when in the eighth minute of stoppage time, former Whitecap Salinas made a run through several defenders and was able to beat Crepeau for the winner, sparking wild scenes on the Earthquakes sideline.

Heading into this one, many would have taken a point, but to lose all three after being ahead for three quarters of the match will be a tough spill to swallow for the Whitecaps. There’s a couple of small positives to take from the game (scoring with no striker, the play of Ranko and Crepeau), but on the whole, questions have to be asked about the Whitecaps’ game management in this one. This was a punch to the gut and for a squad already depleted, there’s a danger this will leave them demoralised as well.

But they don’t have much time to lick their wounds. Seattle are next up on Sunday. The Sounders play their final group game knowing that they need to win to have a shot at advancing from the group.

Defeat for Vancouver, coupled with a Chicago win over San Jose, would see the Whitecaps eliminated from the tournament with one game to play. The last team to play, they could also be the first team eliminated. That would be quite the feat.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 – 4 San Jose Earthquakes

ATT: 0

VANCOUVER: Maxime Crépeau; .Jake Nerwinski, .Jasser Khmiri, Ranko Veselinović, Ali Adnan; Inbeom Hwang, Leonard Owusu (Patrick Metcalfe 90+1), Russell Teibert; Cristian Dájome (Theo Bair 81), Yordy Reyna (Ryan Raposo 73), David Milinković [Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Cristián Gutiérrez, Derek Cornelius, Simon Colyn, Michael Baldisimo, Damiano Pecile]

SAN JOSE: Daniel Vega; Tommy Thompson (Carlos Fierro 63), Guram Kashia, Oswaldo Alanís, Nick Lima (Shea Salinas 63); Judson (Chris Wondolowski 63), Jackson Yueill; Cristian Espinoza (Paul Marie 87), Magnus Erikkson, Valeri Qazaishvili (Danny Hoesen 63); Andrés Ríos [Substitutes not used: James Marcinkowski, Tanner Beason, Jack Skahan, Florian Jungwirth, Eric Calvillo, Cade Cowell, Luis Felipe Fernandes]




Was San Jose finishing stronger due to the conditions or the lack of depth for Vancouver:

“Look, we’re talking Janio Bikel, Erik Godoy, Fredy Montero, Tos Ricketts, Andy Rose, Lucas Cavallini, it’s a lot of players. And then they had everybody, they made those subs at the end, those four subs that was a lot of fresh legs that brought a lot more intensity and more volume. We have a little bit more of a difficult time right now with our depth, that it’s normal. And I think that, you know, until the 75th minute we were able to be in the game to be ahead to even create and be dangerous in some actions. But unfortunately, then at the end we weren’t able to close the game. It is really hard right now, the players are not ready to play 90 minutes, they’re not ready to play 100 minutes with the injury time. It gets very difficult and then it’s hard to keep the composure until the end and we felt it during the game.”

On not using all substitutions:

“If we want to give an opportunity to a young player, they need to be put in an environment that they’re able to succeed. And the game was very chaotic and requires a lot of experience and we felt that the subs were the right ones. Like I said before, we have eight guys not with the roster, you know we don’t even have 23 to fill the full game roster. So our depth is not easy right now and we felt that we used the right solutions today. A player came in called Patrick Metcalfe, that was his first few minutes in MLS, so even there you know we’re not able to give the first full minutes, the first few minutes to every player. And we thought we did the most we could.”

On the feeling of the group:

“There are a lot of positives. I never felt that there was no running, there was no intensity, there was no commitment. No, it was a committed team. But we played against a good team that had everybody and when they pushed they made it hard on us. You know you feel that they’re more ready physically than us right now. It was hard that part, so you know there’s a lot of positives when it comes to the way we work, we scored three goals, we pushed. And we scored three goals without playing with a number nine, and there’s a lot of positives that we’re going to take from this game and move on. And now it’s time to think about the Seattle game, but emotionally the guys, are they angry right now, are they sad, they’re disappointed, they’re disappointed but they believe on what we did, and they believe on the things that we were able to do and they’re staying positive so it was hard, and we have days to recover from this loss.”

On decision to start Ranko Veselinovic:

not quite there tonight, because we felt that rancor was ready to play in between Ranko and Derek we just took the decision to play rankle that at a very good game overall for his first game, with the club being only 20 years old. There was a lot of positives in the game of Ranko.”

On if San Jose changed anything in the second half:

“No it was all of the same. I think that the four fresh legs helped them a lot. And that was an important move for them. Apart from that, if you look at 10 games from San Jose you’ll always see the same type of profile and identity.”

On what they will need to advance from the group:

“No, I don’t know, I don’t know it’s going depend on how the other games play out. But there’s no doubt that the only focus we should have in, the only target we should have is the game against Seattle and then see after that game we’ll see how the group shapes up. I knew it was going to be a tight group, I’ve said it from the beginning that it’s not going to be a group that the goals difference are going to be in the game so if you see it’s all ties, all one goal difference, ties, 4-3, 1-0, 0-0. And I think it’s going to continue like that until the end of the group.”

On missing Janio Bikel as an option in midfield:

“Yeah of course that a guy like Janio provides more depth even in that position, but again I think that the play from Owuso in the majority of the game was very positive for us and, and for the future and what we’re building here. I think he did a lot of good things. Of course, that the injury of Janio was hard for us. And he’s a player that could definitely provide that depth also there. So yes, look, we can only talk about the guys that are here right now. For Janio we don’t know yet the time frame, but for sure he’s not going play in the tournament here.”

On valuable and painful lessons for a young team:

“Yeah, very valuable and painful at the same time, I agree with you. There’s a lot of positives that we’re going to take from this game. We’re going to analyze the mistakes and see what we could have done better and the goals. But again, when you come out of 130 days without playing with so many guys not being here with the team, and you play against a team that’s fully equipped, it’s the first team that arrived here in Orlando, and they already have a game under their belt. You play toe-to-toe with them, face-to-face, you don’t back off, you created, you scored, unfortunately you give too many goals away. I could only be proud of the group that is here and the guys that work here. So I’m very excited with what this team can become in the future.”


Overall thoughts on the match:

“It’s disappointment because we had the lead and then we let it slip. We have to regroup, prepare for Seattle right away, turn the page. I’m just trying to do my job and keep the team in the game. I’ll rewatch the goals that I conceded tonight and I will pay attention to the small details because that makes the difference with the final result.”

On defending against set pieces:

“We need to watch it again. Goals in the set-piece situation that hurt us but the guys gave it all. We left it all on the field tonight. They got resources that helped them. It’s something that we worked on 48 hours before the game. It’s something that we need to be strong in our zone. Individual man-on-man marking is something, and zonal marking is something else. When the ball comes into our area we need to be solid and tonight was difficult to defend with the great service that they had. The quality of the service made a big difference. We are all aware, every single guy on the team, what happened tonight so we’ll turn the page and move forward as a team.”

On debut of Ranko Veselinovic:

“He adapted really quick while the game was developing and he realized to step into the space in front of him was something that we needed to expose and he did it well. Defensively he was solid as well where he was on the right spot. And he’s attacking what’s in front of him, a few good clearancez, and so he’s someone that has been with the group now for a few months but he adapted, you know, just really quick, in our system and proved it a lot as well tonight.”


Overall thoughts on the match:

“It’s an emotional one for some many different reasons. Our team has gone through a lot to get to this point. Boys played their heart out tonight. It’s really hard to take in right now. We put some much into the game and we deserve so much more out of it. We need to regroup. We got two more games to go in the group stage. We need to maximize the points out of those two games but this one hurts. We wanted to win this one for Bryan (Meredith) and his mom, that’s why we wore those armbands today. I think we showed how much we wanted it by the heart that we played with. It’s unfortunate the small errors cost us tonight.”

On Leonard Owusu:

“Leo is a great guy. He takes all information onboard. He’s open to learning, he’s not afraid to make mistakes, and he’s confident. He showed that tonight. He’s a quality player. He plays a tremendous role on our team offensively and defensively, and he puts his stamp on the match. For a young player, he’s very exciting for us and our future. He’s definitely going to be one to watch. Our entire team, it’s not only me that helps Leo. It’s the atmosphere that we have created and the culture that we have created at this club that allows players to thrive. We’re consistently pushing each other, we’re creating a positive environment, players that are not afraid to make mistakes. You can see that and it’s a testament to the youth in our squad. Guys coming in, some playing their first MLS match tonight. We’ve got a young team, it’s going to be a learning experience definitely for us tonight. But again, this isn’t the end of the world here, this is a tournament and we got two more games in the group stage. We need to get back at it as soon as possible.”

On being a veteran (example of Ryan Raposo noting Teibert helping him):

“I don’t think this comes down, or falls on my shoulders. I think this is a culture that we’ve created and I think that extends through the work ethic, from, from the equipment manager to the people working in the front office to our coaches to the players. Everybody falls into these four cornerstones, you know, and with work ethic, or you know making this a positive atmosphere so it’s not just me that these guys could potentially look up to. It’s everybody and it’s what we’re creating here. Again like Ryan, a young player who’s just open to learning and working hard and coming to do his job every day. Ryan’s a great kid and he’s going be exciting for our future as well. But again, I don’t think this falls on my shoulders, this is this is a club thing. This is a cultural thing, and this is a new Vancouver Whitecaps, and you seen that through the heart that we showed tonight and you’ll continue to see that throughout this tournament and onwards for the rest of season.”

Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

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