There was thunder and lightning in the build up to Vancouver Whitecaps tilt at New England Revolution on Wednesday night. The storms only delayed kick off slightly but the ‘Caps will have been wishing it had led to a postponement after they fell to their fourth straight MLS defeat in a 4-0 trouncing.
Any postponement would have just been delaying the inevitable though you feel. A first half goal from Gustavo Bou put the home side ahead, before three goals in the last eight minutes saw the Revolution claim all three points.
The Whitecaps did at least have some life about them in the second half but if it hadn’t been for Max Crepeau’s efforts in the ‘Caps goal, the result could have been even heavier.
With three games in eight days rotation was expected by Vancouver and Marc Dos Santos made five personnel changes from Saturday’s home loss to KC and a formational change to 4-3-3. Theo Bair was handed his second straight start, with Fredy Montero reduced to a bench role and Joaquin Ardaiz not even in the gameday 18.
New England handed their new Argentine DP Bou his first start and it was a Revolution line-up that looked set to give the Whitecaps defence fits all game.
It didn’t take the home side long to get going, with Juan Fernando Caicedo coming within inches of connecting at the back post in the opening moments.
The Revs came even closer in the 15th minute when Brandon Bye got onto a ball over the top and crashed one of the left post.
The ‘Caps were being heavily outpossessed (as much as 80% to 20% at one point) and outfought, but the Revs weren’t really testing Max Crepeau. That changed in the 37th minute when the ‘Caps keeper pulled off a stunning double save to first deny leading scorer Carles Gil and then keeping out Caicedo from point blank range at the rebound.
The Revs had another great chance with five minutes remaining when a stretching Caicedo blasted over from seven yards out as he got on the end of a Bou ball into the box.
But just as it was looking like Vancouver would make it to half time on level terms, up stepped Bou to break ‘Caps spirits a minute into stoppage time, first timing a beauty from the edge of the box after getting onto a perfectly placed Gil corner.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 18, 2019
That was it for the half. A half that saw the Whitecaps down 64% to 36% in the possession stakes (it felt a lot worse), with a pass accuracy of 69% overall but only 30% in the attacking third. Oh and they mustered no shots to New England’s 17. This was a long, long, long way back for them now.
To their credit, the ‘Caps at least came out for the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and Theo Bair nearly got them back onto level terms five minutes after the restart when his first timer form a Lucas Venuto pass agonisingly crashed off the left post.
The two combined for another chance two minutes later, but this time the pass went just behind the homegrown striker and his trailing leg took it over the bar.
The ‘Caps kept the pressure on and a Scott Sutter cross got past Revs keeper Matt Turner, but wasn’t able to get to Yordy Reyna with the goal gaping.
New England survived and then started to get some of their own offense going, with Gil forcing Crepeau into tipping a free kick around the post with 20 minutes remaining.
Crepeau came up big again to deny Revs sub Cristian Penilla, who was set free and streaking in on goal in the 76th minute. Vancouver went up the pitch and their own sub, Fredy Montero, was within inches of being played in by Reyna but he was pulled back by Andrew Farrell, earning the New England centreback a booking, and close to being a last man red card.
The ‘Caps still had hopes of grabbing a point, but they were finally dashed in the 82nd minute when Fagundez ghosted in unmarked to head home an inch perfect Penilla cross.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 18, 2019
Absolutely horrible marking, but even if he had been tracked, you fancied the Revs man would still have proved deadly.
Four minutes later and it was 3-0 for New England, as Fagundez found a wide open Gil at the edge of the box, and he fired home with seemingly ease past Crepeau.
But the horror wasn’t finished yet, with Bunbury getting onto another Penilla pass on the edge of the six yard box and showed nice control to turn and fire past Crepeau.
Lovely stuff from the veteran and just adding to the desperation for the Whitecaps.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 18, 2019
A 4-0 final and without Crepeau’s huge saves this could have got even uglier and more embarrassing. It’s really hard to know where the ‘Caps go from here.
This was a match it was hard to see them getting anything from and New England’s victory takes them to nine games unbeaten and sends Vancouver winless in seven.
The ‘Caps were outshot 33 to 6 in this one, failing to force Turner into even on save.
San Jose are next up in league play, but as they sit further adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference with only 12 games left to play, anyone holding MLS playoffs hopes are fooling themselves. All the ‘Caps can now hope for, realistically or not, is a run at the Canadian Championship, but there is no doubting that Cavalry FC will fancy their chances of pulling off the shock at BC Place next Wednesday.
Right now you wouldn’t bet against them or that Vancouver’s season could be basically over by around this time next week.
FINAL SCORE: New England Revolution 4 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps
NEW ENGLAND: Matt Turner; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Antonio Milnar Delamea, DeJuan Jones; Gustavo Bou (Diego Fagundez 79), Luis Caicedo (Scott Caldwell 88), Teal Bunbury, Carles Gil, Juan Agudelo; Juan Fernando Caicedo (Cristian Penilla 62) [Subs Not Used: Brad Knighton, Edgar Castillo, Jalil Anibaba, Justin Rennicks]
VANCOUVER: Maxime Crepeau; Jake Nerwinski, Erik Godoy, Derek Cornelius, Scott Sutter; Inbeom Hwang, Andy Rose, Russell Teibert (Lass Bangoura 62); Lucas Venuto (Victor ‘PC’ Giro 79), Theo Bair (Fredy Montero 68), Yordy Reyna [Subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Doneil Henry, Jon Erice, Felipe Martins]
MARC DOS SANTOS
On his overall thoughts on the game:
“Look, right now there is a lot of fragility on our side, mentally; you know, it’s hard to get out. So when we’re down in the score in the first half, I thought we came out well. I thought we created good chances. Theo [Bair] hits the post once, then there’s another good chance, and once they scored the second goal, it’s kind of a hard blow for us right now where we are and we have to try to get out of that mentally. These runs happen with a lot of teams in MLS; sometimes it’s just a patch you just have to try to get out of. Make sure we are strong mentally, and make sure the locker room stays together. So we have another game Saturday and we have to try to answer Saturday.”
On switching to a 4-3-3 formation in tonight’s game:
“The 4-3-3 I think is the tactical set-up that we’re more comfortable with and the one we want to build the club around. So, it was different to play with the 3-5-2, because when we came back from the international break, we had to do a lot of rotation. A lot of guys were coming from the break were not at 100 percent. We were waiting for everything to get together, so sometimes we had to play in another formation, but the 4-3-3 is where we want to build the club around.”
On the positives from the second half:
“Yeah, it was. The first half, it was just us being slow stepping up, and us being slow closing down. You know, maybe some tired elements in the team; we don’t know, we have to address that and assess that. But, we had a very tough time getting out. When we had the time to have the ball, our decision making on the ball, we give it away way too quick and then we spend a lot of time defending. Then, [Gustavo] Bou scores that great goal from outside the 18, we go out, we come to half down 1-0, and again, our reaction was good, our mentality was good; but when mentally we struggle, that second goal when it comes in, it’s hard for the group. We’ll get out of it I’m sure.”
On preparing his team for the upcoming home game on Saturday vs San Jose:
“We have to be strong, mentally. We have to just react well. It’s an opportunity to show how strong and how well we can react and I think that’s an opportunity on Saturday for us and we have to show up on that day and make sure we are ready for that game.”
On trying to even out possession in the second half:
“We needed to play our game and just go for it. We changed the point of attack. Winning some yards, because we were a little bit more in our half in the first half. We had to get back into the game as quick as possible.”
On the team’s mindset for Saturday’s match against San Jose:
“We need to hit the reset button. We all need to do an evaluation of ourselves individually to put the bad side away and focus on the good side. You know, in this league, three wins in a row and you’re up there; two or three losses in a row and you’re down there. So it can change very quick and it’s not too late in the season. It’s a brand new season, a new start on Saturday.”
On the last 10 minutes of the match:
“Yeah, we need to be strong mentally, not falling down and giving up at the end. That’s what it is. Our team in the last 10-20 minutes the last couple months, [we] have been rough in this. We need to get better at this, we know it. We need to be solid and keep playing instead of just dropping in our half and sitting there.”
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
On the team’s nine-game unbeaten run:
“Obviously, we’re real pleased with the group. I think tonight’s game, certainly some good moments but still a little sloppy, inconsistent. We conceded some chances the beginning of the second half, but as the game went on, I think we created some good chances and certainly the last 10-15 minutes was all ours. Our team’s learning how to play together. Gustavo [Bou]’s a new player and you can only do so much in training, you got to see him in a game and as the game went on we had a better feel for him, both the coaching staff and the players on the field. That’s a real positive. We’re hopeful he can get out of bed tomorrow morning and recover and give us some minutes on Sunday in Cincinnati as well. Overall the team has done well.”
On Gustavo Bou feeling his way into the team:
“It takes time for any player. Very rarely do you see in any sport a player come in with a new team and not miss a beat. It takes a little time, but I thought he grew into the game.”
On the substitutes making an impact off the bench:
“Cristian Penilla’s a very talented player and we’ve got to get him a little bit more focused on understanding the role every player on the field plays. Tonight, he certainly took care of business, it was great. Diego’s [Fagundez] been real good for us over the last couple of weeks. Listen, both players would like to be playing 90 minutes every game, but to have that kind of mentality to come off the bench and contribute and get goals, it was great. I think they did an outstanding job.”
On Carles Gil and how the addition of Gustavo Bou can help him:
“I think it’ll help. It’s somebody he can play off of. They look like they have a good understanding. We saw that in training, but it’s going to take some time. I think in another month, we’ll know a lot more about that combination.”
On what a 4-0 scoreline does for the group’s confidence and goal differential:
“The goal differential is something that we can’t worry about. I think we’re in a position now, if we’re tied with somebody, we’re going to lose the goal differential. We’re not going to make up that kind of ground. I don’t even know what it is, but I think I noticed — it’s minus-10 now? We got it down a little bit, okay. I don’t think we’re going to win a whole lot of games 4-0. It’s nice, hopefully we can get it in single digits. We’re behind the eight ball in that category, so we need to win games.”
On Gustavo Bou and Teal Bunbury switching wings a couple of times during the match:
“Gustavo felt that on that side of the field with Brandon [Bye] pushing up high that he could make some runs from that position to get behind their backline.”
On Andrew Farrell and Antonio Delamea’s partnership in central defence:
“It was okay, but we conceded a few — well, we didn’t conceded some chances from them, but there were a couple balls, I have to look at the tape, that got behind us a little bit in the second half and I’ve got to see that. Toni [Antonio Delamea] is a very composed player and he helps us with his passing in the back, and is a pretty smart defender, so it’s been great to get him back. It helps strengthen our backline, which needs a little work.”
On having the space to get good crosses into the box but not receiving the final ball from the outside backs:
“Yeah, we’ve been working on that with them in training. Hopefully, it can get a little better. It’s a little bit more difficult for DeJuan [Jones] in that he’s a right-footed player. That’s why you see when [Edgar] Castillo is in the game, we’re a little bit more successful with that on that side of the field. They’ll get better. They’re still young players. These are still new positions for them as well.”
On if he thought Gustavo Bou’s goal would be disallowed during the pause in action following it:
“After the goal? We had the goal, so I wasn’t going to think we weren’t going to get it. We had it, right? It would have been a fairly disappointing first half to go in 0-0, I would say. We’re a little fortunate on that. We had a couple of chances in the first half that there’s no reason why that ball wasn’t in the back of the net. We have certainly areas to improve.”
On how many times they trained a set piece like the one that Gustavo Bou scored:
“I would say zero times. You guys always think that all this stuff is created in practice and the coach is doing it all. This game is so different [from] other sports. The players have huge responsibilities on the field. What you do in training is you give them ideas and hopefully they can execute those ideas as well as adjust accordingly. On that particular play, Carles [Gil] understood that Vancouver was really dropped off in their zone on that corner kick and if he could get it to [Gustavo Bou] he’s going to get a chance at goal. You don’t see that often, players being able to take the ball out of the air like that and strike it as clean as he did. So if you want to give me full credit for that, I would be glad to accept it, but I had nothing to do with that play, if you want the honest opinion.”
On being able to close out a game strong like tonight:
“Yeah, the end of both halves were better tonight, obviously, and that’s a real good sign. They’re aware of that. I think they understood that they had to be a little bit better. We actually, before the game, told them that the 35-minute mark, we don’t concede anything and maybe we get a goal. We’ve got to concentrate the last 10 minute of each half.”
GUSTAVO BOU (Quotes translated from Spanish through an interpreter)
On his Revolution debut:
“I’m very happy, it’s the first time I’ve played for the club and I think it happened in a great way, obviously since we won and got three points. I scored a goal in my debut and the truth is I’m just really happy about it. My teammates have helped me and have been great from the minute I got to New England and I think I have great hopes here, so it was a really sound debut.”
On his transition from Liga MX to MLS:
“I met with a few people when I was in Mexico and I know a lot of people here in this league from the Mexican league, Liga MX. So from the first day I got here, everyone has treated me very well and I just wanted to enjoy my debut. I feel really good here, I’m just really happy to score in my debut and over everything I’m just happy the team won and to be a part of the team and get the three points.”
On his goal and the corner kick from Carles Gil:
“I think it was a great connection on that play, because Carles [Gil] told me on a couple of the first corners that there was nobody hanging back in the larger area behind the box. So in the specific moment, I wanted to go backwards a bit and Carles screamed to me, I screamed to him. Then I think it’s a connection that had a lot of quality and it went really well and we finished really well, so I’m happy.”
On his choice of moving to MLS:
“I think I said before, it was a project Bruce [Arena] and his technical staff had told me about and the team wanted to get better results with some more support up front. So it was really what interested me, Bruce and his technical staff and I’m really interested in the league itself. I have a lot of colleagues and friends who have talked about how great the league is. There are a lot of great names here specifically from Argentina. Also, because it is a country that has a lot of great spots for vacation. It’s also just a calm country, but most importantly I know my family would be very happy here as well.”
On how he felt after his first game in a while:
“To be honest, I’m a little tired. My legs hurt a little bit, but I’ve spoken with the staff, and it was obviously a long game. But thankfully it ended well without any issues and I’ll definitely be ready for the next game without any issues.”
On his reaction to the supporters:
“Yeah, it was really good. It surprised me because it was so hot outside and the conditions weren’t great. They were shouting Pantera, which made me feel really good inside. So I look forward to playing in front of them in the future as well.”
CARLES GIL (Quotes translated from Spanish through an interpreter)
On his impressions of Gustavo Bou and their chemistry tonight:
“I took the corner and initially I tried to put it high, but I ended up putting it in the proper zone and Gustavo [Bou] scored a great goal. So the game finished with a lot of goals, but I look forward to working with Gustavo in the future too.”
On if he intended to play the ball to Bou in that spot:
“Yes, it was the plan so I took that corner and I put it high, and he made a good finish on it.”
On his relationship with his teammates off the field:
“So off the field, obviously we have a great big group and we just try to do our best as a team.”
On the addition of Gustavo Bou:
“For the whole team, it’s going to help us a lot. There’s a lot that’s going to change, there’s a lot more spaces. We’re all just happy that he’s here.”
On how Gustavo Bou will help the team continue their success:
“He’s going to help us a lot. Like I said, he’s a player who scores a lot of goals, he tallies lots of assists, and I think he’s going to be one of the stronger players in the league.”
On scoring his first goal of the season:
“I don’t remember the last time I even scored, so it’s been awhile; but I needed this one. I think I’ve been working hard in training and some of those things. The ball isn’t really going my way, and today I got lucky and I finally got one. I think this is the day I can say maybe more will come. I know from before, the first one is always the hardest for me. But, now I just need to keep looking forward and keep working hard and make sure when I get opportunities like this to try and go in the game, and change them.”
On how this affects his confidence:
Fagundez: “I think my confidence is definitely going to boost up now. No matter if I’m starting or if I’m on the bench; sometimes you only get ten minutes, sometimes you only get five, sometimes you get 90. Whatever chance I get or opportunity, I’m just going to go out there and make sure I have fun and make sure I do everything I can to help out the Revs.”
On his view of Gustavo’s Bou’s goal:
“I didn’t see that in the playbook, that’s for sure. It was an unbelievable goal. Something they planned, I think with each other, but it came out nice. An amazing goal and well-deserved. I think it’s a good thing to put his name out there at Gillette Stadium.”
On Bruce Arena’s message to him:
“I think when you come off the bench, that’s the first thing you want to do, is bring energy, bring spark to the team. When I had my chance, I tried to do everything that I can to help out. Today, I was trying to look for a goal, for sure. I was trying to take some shots. [Cristian] Penilla definitely gave a great cross and all I had to do was put my head on it and make sure it went in. It was perfect because it was a way to try and finish off the team.”
On the recent success the team has had:
“Yeah, especially when you go nine games unbeaten. You think you know you have a great team and I think we all knew that from the beginning; it’s just putting in the pieces the right way. Right now, I think that’s what we’re doing. I think everybody is working for each other and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re winning games. That’s what matters at the end of the day.”