Octavio Rivero had a New York City minute for Vancouver Whitecaps at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, scoring just 37 seconds into the game. It was mostly downhill for the ‘Caps after that, although they did level things up at two apiece at one point before going down to a 3-2 loss.
The game pretty much matched Vancouver’s season, very much up and down, and ultimately ending with a low.
It doesn’t seem to matter who’s playing, the Whitecaps make it difficult for themselves week in, week out, with sloppy defending at the back and a failure to be clinical up top.
Maybe next week’s Cascadia derby with Portland will snap them out of their funk and start to spur them on. Mind you, we thought that after last week’s win over the MLS leaders Dallas.
You get what you pay for I guess.
David Villa was the difference maker for New York City FC on Saturday afternoon, scoring a brace to give the home side a come from behind victory over Vancouver Whitecaps at Yankee Stadium.
Octavio Rivero finally returned to the scoresheet after only 37 seconds to give Vancouver the lead, but a later mix when in on goal was to prove costly as New York hit back with two before half time.
Christian Bolanos poked home the rebound, after his initial penalty was saved, to restore parity and give the ‘Caps hopes of a win, but Steven Mendoza drilled home the winner in the 73rd minute to get the job done for the home side.
All three New York City goals came from wide open players in the box, as Vancouver were left with only themselves to blame once again.
As expected, Carl Robinson rang the changes for the ‘Caps third game in eight days. Three came to the defence, with both full-backs rested and Kendall Waston suspended. Jordan Smith, Sam Adekugbe and Pa Modou Kah all came in, and Nicolas Mezquida and Rivero returned up top.
But it doesn’t seem to matter who is and who isn’t in the line-up, the end result is starting to look the same at both ends of the pitch.
The Whitecaps got off to the perfect dream start just 37 seconds in.
Nicolas Mezquida’s hustle took the ball of the feet of NYC keeper Josh Saunders, who struggled to deal with a poor back pass. The ball broke to Rivero in front of an open goal, and the Uruguayan couldn’t miss, although he certainly made his best attempt at it!
The goal will certainly have come as a huge relief for Rivero, ending his 16 game goal drought and was the second fastest goal in Vancouver’s MLS history.
New York came close to drawing level in the 9th minute, but Ronald Matarrita flashed his thought across goal and just past the back post.
Rivero had a great opportunity to add his, and the ‘Caps’, second in the 17th minute when Mezquida played him in with a delightful through ball. Rivero ran in on goal but tried to round the advancing Saunders instead of trying to chip him, and the danger was soon shut down.
NYC were getting forward and creating chances, without really threatening the ‘Caps goal, but the home side eventually drew level ten minutes before the break.
Andrew Jacobson took too long and the ball and was dispossessed by Khiry Shelton, who played in an open Villa, and the veteran clinically dispatched the ball past David Ousted to make it 1-1.
Villa’s importance as a difference maker came to fore once again in the 41st minute when an Andrea Pirlo corner came to the Spaniard at the back of the box. Once again he was open and once again he was clinical in front of goal, after a sensational scissor kick.
The ‘Caps came out with a positive mindset to start the second half, with Christian Bolanos forcing a straight forward leg save out of Saunders five minutes in.
Kekuta Manneh made room for himself four minutes later but Saunders dealt with his low shot with ease.
Ousted had to be quick off his line just past the hour mark to put off Matarrita, who was nearly slipped in and only moments later the Whitecaps were level.
Manneh wriggled through Ethan White and Frederico Bravo, before White tugged him down in the box. Bolanos stepped up but struck a weak penalty to Saunders right. The New York keeper saved but couldn’t hold on to the ball and the Costa Rican poked home the rebound for his second goal in four days to make it 2-2.
Vancouver should have taken the lead in the 66th minute, when Blas Perez dispossessed Matarrita in the box and cut it inside to Mezquida who blasted over from four yards out.
It was a missed opportunity that cost the ‘Caps dear in the 73rd minute, when the ball came to an open Steven Mendoza at the back of the box and the substitute’s low shot beat Ousted at his near post.
New York kept pushing and Ousted had to save a long range effort from Villa three minutes later.
The Whitecaps made a double substitution to try and get back level and Cristian Techera nearly did that with his first touch but his free kick was touched inches past the right post for a corner.
The other sub, Erik Hurtado, was next to have a chance for the ‘Caps, getting in a good position but seeing Saunders turn his 86th minute shot away for a corner.
Mendoza nearly made it four for the home side in the 90th minute but he crashed a shot off the Whitecaps bar from 12 yards out.
And that was it. Another defeat for the Whitecaps, their third straight on the road and their fifth overall this year. Frustratingly, New York only managed four shots on target and three of them went in. Vancouver had seven and managed two.
Thankfully it’s a long season, but if Vancouver don’t start to find their groove soon, it might feel like an even longer one.
FINAL SCORE: New York City FC 3 – 2 Vancouver Whitecaps
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Jordan Smith, Tim Parker, Pa-Modou Kah, Sam Adekugbe; Andrew Jacobson, Matías Laba; Christian Bolaños (Erik Hurtado 78), Nicolás Mezquida, Kekuta Manneh (Cristian Techera 78); Octavio Rivero (Blas Pérez 27) [Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Jordan Harvey, Masato Kudo, Russell Teibert]
NEW YORK: Josh Saunders; Ethan White, Frederic Brilliant, Jason Hernandez, Ronald Matarrita; Mikey Lopez, Frederico Bravo, Andrea Pirlo (Andoni Iraola 86); Khiry Shelton (Steven Mendoza 67), David Villa, Thomas McNamara (Mix Diskerud 75) [Substitutes not used: Eirik Johansen, Diego Martinez, Kwadwo Poku, Tony Taylor]
On whether he thought the team deserved more points
“Yes I did, again it is easy for me to say we deserved it but we didn’t get that from the game. Based on our performance and that’s the same for NYCFC, yeah the chances we had I am disappointed we didn’t get a point but after we actually probably scored too early in the 20th second or the 25th second, holding on the 89 min stretch was never going to be a problem for us but there a really good team and just had some really bad luck over the past couple of games with succeeding goals and things like that. I thought that we could get at them. We tried to have the upper hand from the start which we did but sometimes it’s just not your day.”
On NYCFC’s second goal
“They have good players, I mean if you look at the roster and there’s a number of good players, and a number of good players on the bench as well. And sometimes things just don’t go for you and sometimes they do. You know we haven’t scored that many goals in the first 9 some odd games that we would like. You go away from home and you don’t score that many goals that you would like which you’re never very pleased with but you try and keep it exciting and you try and keep it off the back end but you got a bit of everything today, I think it was a good game. Good things, bad things and some pretty inconsistent things as well.”
“I’m glad you saw it because I saw it too. I mentioned it to the 4th official. Great play from NYCFC, got to give them credit. If they set a pick, we were told at the beginning of the year if that happens there would be free kicks against you. It was an odd day and a little bit naive. If it was a foul then it was a foul and you saw what I saw. I saw my boy being held but I mean all I can do it complain credit to them for the set piece that worked.”
On what the trouble in the back was today
“You know coming into a small pitch a narrower pitch than were use too, we know that NYCFC likes to press and just get organized like that. We didn’t want to take too many chances and you go ahead 1-0 and I don’t know what it is about football but teams seems to sit back even though you try, even though as a coach you try to not sit back. If players give the ball away at the edge of the box, then the natural thing for a player to do is to go into a little heightened position that he doesn’t want to do on the ball and then you end up going long and then you’re not building it up from the back. It was a decent away performance for us, but we left here with nothing to show for it.”
On what New York City FC excelled at today
“I think they were able to manage the game pretty well today and I think that they knew at points when to slow it down and when to speed it back up. I think they really did that well today.”
On what positives came out of the match
“I think that one of the major things that we can take out of today is our attitude coming in to the second half. We really wanted to step our lines and step up our game and I think that we achieved that by putting pressure on New York City FC early.”
On what the home defence did well today
“I think that home field advantage ties into it a little bit. But I think that at the same time we weren’t so worried about building the ball out of the back as much as getting the possession out of the midfield and going from there.”
On what went right today
“I think that we, especially in the 2nd half, get going a little bit more and put pressure on them but unfortunately it didn’t work out for us today.”
On the way NYC looked on offence
“They have got a guy up front that is world class and you see that. He had two fantastic goals and that is something that you obviously noticed. As a team they put pressure on and played well.”
On what held the defence back today
“Not to take anything away from New York City FC but unfortunately the referees today helped them dictate the game by hurrying us up from minute 10. I wasn’t disappointed in any individual plays but I was disappointed that he dictated the tempo of the game like that. But again New York City FC scored 3 goals today and that is the reason that they won.”