Vancouver Whitecaps got back to much needed winning ways with a dominant performance against a hapless Philadelphia Union side that produced a three goal haul but should have provided a lot more.
Here’s our match report and full post-game reaction from both locker rooms.
REPORT (by Steve Pandher):
Vancouver Whitecaps took advantage of a depleted Philadelphia Union side beating them 3-0 in front of 20,000 plus at B.C. Place on Saturday afternoon. The ‘Caps took the lead in the first half from goals by Pedro Morales and Octavio Rivero with Darren Mattocks scoring in the second and David Ousted picking up his sixth cleansheet of the season.
The first 25 minutes were actually controlled by the visitors as the ‘Caps found it difficult to get forward. Then came the turning point of the match when Ousted made a diving save to deny Andrew Wenger’s volley from close in. It immediately woke the players from their slumber and they worked the ball upfield to Rivero whose shot was parried by former Whitecap Brian Sylvestre.
The Whitecaps took the lead just after the half hour mark when Morales was sent in by Cristian Techera and chipped a charging Sylvestre for his second of the season. They were able to double their lead a minute before halftime when Rivero took advantage of a poor back pass and slipped the ball past the keeper after muscling his way past Union defender Ethan White.
The Whitecaps continued their strong play after the half while not allowing the Union any sniff at their goal. Kekuta Manneh had a chance to make it three just minutes in, but Sylvestre came up big after some nice footwork in the box from the Gambian.
Morales almost picked up his brace in the 72nd minute when he forced Sylvestre into making an acrobatic save after taking on a flick from Techera.
Two minutes after taking off a central defender for an attacker it got even worse for Philadelphia when they lost their other center back, Richie Marquez, to a straight red card for a tackle on Techera, and played a man short for last twelve minutes.
It only took the Caps three minutes to take advantage when Mattocks was sent one on one with Maurice Edu and turned the holding midfielder inside out before blasting it by Sylvestre to end any hopes for the Union.
The three goals scored by Vancouver was their biggest output of the season and it could have easily been more if it was not for keeping of former Whitecaps Residency product Brian Sylvestre, who only joined the team this past week as an emergency loan.
The major turning point of the match was the Ousted save in the 26th minute. The majority of outfield players were just going through the motions at that point and were woken up by the amazing stop. Despite not being too bothered for the remainder of the match there is no doubt that the Danish keeper earned his sixth cleansheet of the season.
The Whitecaps return to MLS play next Saturday when they face Seattle Sounders but before that they will face FC Edmonton in the first leg of the Voyageurs Cup Semifinal after last week’s match was snowed out.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 – 0 Philadelphia Union
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe; Russell Teibert, Matías Laba, Mauro Rosales (Christian Techera 12), Pedro Morales (Robert Earnshaw 87), Kekuta Manneh; Octavio Rivero (Darren Mattocks 69) [Subs not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Gershon Koffie, Nicolas Mezquida]
PHILADELPHIA: Brian Sylvestre; Raymond Gaddis, Ethan White (Conor Casey 76), Richie Marquez, Sheanon Williams; Maurice Edu, Zach Pfeffer, Christian Maidana, Eric Ayuk, Andrew Wegner (Vincent Noguiera 62); Fernando Aristeguieta (Sebastian Le Toux 62) [Subs not used: Trey Mitchell, Brian Carroll, Fabinho, Fred]
On whether this was the most complete game of the season:
“No, I think that was the LA Galaxy game when we played at home. Obviously, we scored one more goal, so people will obviously assume that today’s match was the most complete game. Today was a good performance, but fine lines, this game. Because you look at David Ousted’s save just before we scored our first goal. If we go down 1-0 at home, then suddenly the dynamic of the game changes. So, we enjoy it but we don’t get carried away. It was a good performance.”
On Cristian Techera’s performance replacing Mauro Rosales:
“That’s what happens in football, when you don’t think you’re going to get an opportunity. I left players out of the 18 today that have done very well for me and will get more opportunities on Wednesday. When you least expect it, your chance comes. I thought ‘The Bug’ was excellent, I really did. I thought he caused them a problem. Over time, he’ll get a little fitter as well. But to come in and play like that, fair play, credit goes to him.”
On Cristian Techera being a natural left-sided player:
“He’s a good player. And I like good players in my team and I think I’ve shown that players that can play multiple positions are much needed. Darren Mattocks played on the left last week against Portland. He’s a centre forward. When you come in, you do a job for the team. I think he caused left back Sheanon Williams, who’s a good player as well, a lot of problems throughout the game.”
On Tim Parker’s performance:
“It was a tough decision for me to play Timmy. And I wanted to play Timmy to give him the opportunity. Tim’s going to have to play at some stage, as is Christian Dean. I wanted to get him some minutes to get him acclimatized to the group. Leaving Ethen Sampson out was tough, because Ethen did very well for me last week in Portland. But it’s not about any individual, it’s not about the manager, it’s about the team and the club and the organization. And if I feel it’s right to do it, then I’ll do it. Tim looked like he’s played a few games with them before, didn’t he?”
On the red card shown to Philadelphia Union:
“I’ll give my honest assessment. It looked like a tackle, whether he caught him or not, I don’t know, but one thing I’ll say to Jim Curtin, and I know Jim well, he’s a good guy, he’s got good players on his team but unfortunately, at the moment, breaks are going against him. I think you saw that today. And when you’re down, you usually get kicked when you’re down. And he probably feels like that. But he’ll be fine.”
On Cristian Techera and Tim Parker potentially being left out of Wednesday’s match:
“I’m not sure. I’ll have a glass of wine tonight and I’ll have to think about that one. But I won’t be playing the same team. That’s fair enough to say.”
On Diego Rodriguez’s injury, and whether he is able to play Wednesday:
“No, Diego’s not ready yet. Maybe for the game on the following Wednesday, he might be. My boys are fit and if Timmy needs to play three games a week, then Timmy can play three games in a week.”
On the cancelled match on Wednesday, and whether this changes the team chosen for this upcoming Wednesday:
“I actually named the team last Wednesday, so they knew what the team was and the game got called off. If you’re a player you’re assuming you are going to play this Wednesday, but if that will happen, I don’t know. Players might get left out and they haven’t even played a minute of the game. How bad is that going to be for me? But I’ll explain it to them. Timmy played today, Techera played today, so maybe I’ll pull them out and give other players the opportunity. But I’ll think about that one tomorrow.”
On the first 25 minutes of the match:
“It was okay. Okay at best. You judge it over 90 minutes and I said to the boys today, be patient, because I actually thought Philadelphia would come here and play a little deeper than they did. Full credit to Jim and Philadelphia. They came and had a go. They played quite a high line after the first 15 to 20 minutes, we realized that we changed the dynamic in the game slightly with a little bit of tactical information. But sometimes it takes a little moment like David’s save, and it did because I think the crowd got lifted as well. Our crowd is always good, we know that and they are always behind us and we try and get them up from the first minute. It doesn’t happen sometimes and David’s save, I think, ignited the crowd. Because literally 20 seconds later, Octavio Rivero could have scored so moments in games, change games.”
On David Ousted’s save and whether it was offside:
“It’s an outstanding save by my big Danish goalkeeper. I thought it was offside, I was going to shout and scream at the fourth official, which you are not allowed to do, if it went in. He makes saves like that in training and I’m very lucky he’s been at this club for a number of years while I have been here and he keeps getting better and better. It was a great reaction save and it was important because Octavio scored and then Pedro Morales scored and kept his shirt on today which is a big plus and I was delighted with that. And Darren Mattocks scoring those fine moments in games are really important. Outstanding. And David’s happy in net because he just met Eddie Lack, so the two goalkeepers are in there talking about which one’s best I think, so we will let them have the conversation.”
On Darren Mattocks’ miss before the goal:
“I think if he has that back he will score it the next time. And when you come on a substitution, it’s difficult sometimes to get into the flow of the game. Darren has been excellent in training as have a number of other players. You know, Octavio was good to go this morning, and yesterday, my mind was Darren was set to start. It was the right decision because Octavio played great for 65 minutes and got his goal and Darren came on and played well for 25 minutes and got his goal. Goalscorers are judged on goals but Darren is a threat when he comes on because the pitch was spread and open. Obviously, he is a threat like that.”
On number of chances and if more goals could have been scored:
“I think so. To score three is nice because we have only scored eight or nine in 10 games, and I keep getting reminded of that. To score three at home is important. You need to make this a fortress at home. We got a massive game on Wednesday against a very tough FC Edmonton team and we got our derby game next week which we always look forward to. It was a trap game. It was a very difficult game for us and I prepared the boys this week. It was a difficult game for us because we are expected to win and there was no expectation from Philly to come out. That’s no disrespect to them but they are struggling at the moment to get confidence and to get wins and it was a trap game. They boys handled it fantastically well today.”
On importance of getting points before the tough June schedule:
“Every month is important and when you are at home you need to pick up victories. When you are at home, you need to pick up points and pick up victories. You need to pick up points on the road. It’s going to be tough but ask any manager. The schedule is what it is. You can complain, shout and rant and rave but we’ll just get on with it.”
On Pedro Morales scoring today:
“I’ve got the utmost confidence in him as the manager of this football club. We are very lucky to have him on board. We really are. He plays with confidence and when he plays, we play as I have said to you before in the 16 months I have been here. You watch him play today, his through balls, his vision, the way he slows the game down or speeds it up for us. It’s critical to us. I’m pleased for him because he’s got another goal for him today and kept his shirt on. He’s a big part of this club moving forward.”
On the injury sustained by Mauro Rosales:
“He’s got a little twinge in his quad. I don’t think it’s too major. He didn’t want to risk it. Originally when Kendall shouted at me to take him off, he played another minute and a half, so if it was that bad and pulled it, he would have gone down. It’s not ideal for Mauro. We will reassess it tomorrow but it’s a big loss if he’s out for a while.”
Thoughts on playing at right back instead of centre back:
“It’s a little bit of a new feel but I’m just adjusting. Working with the guys around me made it a lot easier. I’ve played right back in college and I played it here in pre-season for a little bit as well.”
On the early substitution in midfield:
“It affected a little bit. Mauro Rosales and I have played before so we understand each other a little bit. This was Cristian Techera and my first time together but I think we both did really well.”
On another match on Wednesday versus FC Edmonton:
“I think we are just regenerating today and tomorrow, and getting our legs back and looking forward to what we have on Wednesday. I think that’s fine.”
On last Wednesday’s postponed match versus FC Edmonton:
“We knew there was a possibility of snow on Wednesday but we didn’t realize there was a possibility of it getting snowed out so it was a little disappointing. We still have to keep plugging away and waiting for the opportunities. I think now it’s just about taking advantage of the home game. Playing the first leg at home, we have to put the pressure on them and take care of the rest in Edmonton.”
On his big save in the 26th minute:
“They get the ball right over on our left side and it goes to the back post. He sneaks around and gets a shot off. I just try to get as much of my body in the way and I got a hand to it. I think I got a knee to it as well and kept it out. It was a good time in the game to get that save. I think it was a little bit of a scare. We knew that they could hurt us and that was a little bit of a wake-up call and we got going after that. After we got the first goal I think everything flowed a lot better. We were better on the ball. The guys up front did tremendous today getting three goals.”
On the crowd chanting his name right after that save:
“It’s always nice. I love them cheering me. It builds me up and makes me play better”.
On Tim Parker’s game today:
“He was fantastic today. Tim came in and he was composed. He did his job very well together with the back-four, we kept a clean sheet today. Credit goes to Tim. He played not like a rookie but a seasoned vet.”
On getting his sixth clean sheet of the season:
“I think it’s fantastic. I think that’s a testament to the defensive work we’re doing. Not just the back, not just me, but the entire team. We defend from the front. Today, I saw 10 guys in front of me do a lot of hard work and get their rewards.”
Thoughts on the match:
“I thought after a decent first 30 minutes, we should have gone up 1-0 on that one cross that came to Andrew Wenger. David Ousted made a great save. I think Andrew could’ve received it a little bit better but I think it deflected off his shin. If you don’t take your chances against a very good team, you’re going to get punished. I thought we gifted them two goals. Ethan White has a free header to head the ball forward uncontested but he heads it back and creates a bit of mess from there. It’s close to offside but I think he’s actually on if you look at it. On the second goal, Cristian Maidana makes a mistake playing a back pass. It’s unnecessary. Is it a foul on Octavio Rivero? Maybe, but at the same time, you can’t give quality players and a quality team two goals because they’ll punish you.”
On Brian Sylvestre’s debut:
“He actually had a very good game, all things considered. We hung him out to dry on the first two goals, the third one as well. Point-blank shots on all of them. He made some good saves for us, he did everything we could’ve asked for. It was a good day overall for him. After a good 30 minutes, it was disappointing to have a letdown like we had. You can’t give two goals to a good team.”
On Andrew Wenger’s performance:
“Andrew’s going through some tough times. It’s a matter of confidence with Andrew. He’s going to battle through it. If we’re going to be a good team, Andrew’s going to have to get going. We have to find a way to get him going. He’s one of our most talented players. We’re going to stick by him.”
On Zach Pfeffer’s role:
“He can play in a lot of different spots. He’s a good all-around soccer player that can score from midfield so that’s something you look for.”
On how to learn from the loss:
“It’s obviously a difficult result when you give up three goals. I thought the red card was a bit harsh. I’m not even sure it was a yellow card, to be honest. I just watched the replay, it wasn’t the best call. Maybe they’ll review it because I thought Richie Marquez actually had another good game. It’s difficult. You have to know that in this league, nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. Next week will be difficult, we have D.C. United at home, so we have to get ready for that one.”
On the three goals allowed:
“It’s a team effort. We miscommunicated on both situations. It was frustrating.”
On his individual performance:
“It’s a team effort. We lost as a group so we just need to continue working hard.”
On being back in Vancouver:
“It’s a blessing to be back in the MLS. I’ve been through a tough road in the past three years. It’s a blessing to come back to my first club.”
On the team’s attitude:
On what it took to get back to the MLS:
“I’ve just been training. Hard work and dedication gets you where you need to be. Have faith and put God first. I’ve always had confidence in myself, I just needed an opportunity.”
On being a late addition to the team:
“Basically, it’s been pretty hectic. I was with D.C. for a little bit, then I flew in from D.C. to L.A., then went straight from L.A. to here in Vancouver.”
On his reaction when starter Brian Sylvestre went down:
“Whenever I suit up, I always think that I’m going in. I always have that mindset that I’m going in and I’ll be ready no matter what happens. Brian had a great game. He did fantastic. When he went down, he made a good play. Whether he gets up and goes back in, or whether he’s injured and goes off, I’m ready to play.”