Report and Reaction: Whitecaps stampeded out of Cup as Cavalry FC make history

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps stampeded out of Cup as Cavalry FC make history

In a season of disappointments Vancouver Whitecaps suffered a new low, dropping a 2-1 result to Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC, bowing out of the Canadian Championship in the quarter-final round and writing their name in an unwanted chapter of Canadian soccer history books.

A second half goal by former Whitecaps 2 player Dominic Zator would prove to be the winner, coming four minutes after Inbeom Hwang had given Vancouver some life with the tying goal.

It was a shambolic start to the match with Jordan Brown taking advantage of careless defending by Doneil Henry and Erik Godoy to fire the ball from the top of the box past Max Crepeau. The bounce of the ball seemed to do enough to put Godoy off for just enough time for the Englishman to pounce and give Cavalry the shock 1-0 lead.

That signalled the start of some boos around the stadium and more were to follow.

The ‘Caps had a great chance to get on the board four minutes later when the ball fell for Godoy in the six yard area but the defender was somehow unable to get a foot to it at the back post, and it was to prove a very costly miss.

Just before the half hour mark Cavalry almost doubled their lead when Sergio Camargo came close to connecting on a header sending it just over the bar.

That would have been the death knell for Vancouver, but they survived, with the fans making their feelings very much known as they headed off at half time.

The second half started stronger for the ‘Caps with halftime sub Joaquin Ardaiz setting up Theo Bair for a header that was easily handled by former ‘Caps keeper Marco Carducci.

The Whitecaps pressure then came in waves, finally getting the reward in the 67th minute when Hwang collected the ball at the top of the box after some dogged play by Bair. His shot deflected off a Cavalry defender causing the ball to loop over an outstretched Carducci, and Vancouver now sensed a road back from disaster.

It was a road that sadly proved to be a dead end.

Cavalry FC retook the lead just five minutes later, with Zator taking advantage of a corner, powerfully heading in the ball to put the visitors on top and leave the MLS side with an absolute mountain to climb and just 18 minutes to do it.

With just under 15 minutes to go, Reyna missed from a tight angle after his pressure caused Carducci to turnover the ball over in the six yard area. The Peruvian just could get a clear shot on goal and his effort flew into the side netting.

More pressure in the 80th minute led to Hwang just missing the target as his shot from outside the box sailed just over the bar.

The Caps had their chances late in the match but were unable to convert their shots or even force Carducci into making any substantial saves. He only had two to make the whole night.

The final whistle saw joy in the Cavalry bench, despair on the Whitecaps one, and disgust in the stands as the boos rained down.

Cavalry became the history boys, becoming the first CPL side to beat not only a MLS team, but a team from any other league in a competitive match. A record the Whitecaps will wish they were not a part of.

With the loss the Whitecaps are now winless in 10 matches across all competitions and suffered their first Canadian Championship loss on home turf in the MLS era.

With the Cup exit Vancouver’s only chance of success, although a longshot beyond any real likelihood, is to make the MLS Playoffs. They are in a must win situation traveling to the land of thousand lakes to take on Minnesota United on Saturday. Stranger things have happened, and if the Whitecaps do somehow pull something out of this season, that would be worthy of a Netflix show of their own.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 2 Cavalry FC [Cavalry advance 2-1 on aggregate]

ATT: 16,089

VANCOUVER: Maxime Crépeau; Jake Nerwinski (Scott Sutter 84), Érik Godoy, Doneil Henry, Ali Adnan; Felipe Martins, Inbeom Hwang, Andy Rose (Joaquín Ardaiz 46); Lass Bangoura (Lucas Venuto 27), Yordy Reyna, Theo Bair [Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Derek Cornelius, Russell Teibert, Brett Levis]

CAVALRY: Marco Carducci; Dominick Zator, Jonathan Wheeldon, Mason Trafford; Nico Pasquotti (Mauro Eustáquio 75), Nikolas Ledgerwood, Julian Büscher (Elijah Adekugbe 86), Nathan Mavila; Sergio Camargo (Oliver 90), Jordan Brown, José Escalante [Substitutes not used: Nikolas Giantsopoulos, Carlos Patiño, Malyk Hamilton, Dominique Malonga]

STATS:
Possession: VAN 67.8% – CAV 32.2%
Shots: VAN 16 – CAV 6
Shots on Goal: VAN 3 – CAV 3
Saves: VAN 1 – CAV 2
Fouls: VAN 10 – CAV 16
Offsides: VAN 0 – CAV 2
Corners: VAN 6 – CAV 4
Duels won: VAN 67 – CAV 50
Tackles won: VAN 9 – CAV 13

REACTION:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

MARC DOS SANTOS

General thoughts from the game:

“It was a night that I feel we could have stayed there another two hours and it would have been difficult to score. We were the better team on the field, more possession, more in their half, pushed, created. But we missed some empty goals that are almost more difficult to miss than to score, and when those ball don’t go your way it’s like everything is piling on, and it becomes difficult. And a player missed his assignment on the corner kick, and when you’re not focused in that moment it’s too bad, because even when Yordy gets that chance for 2-2 it’s still minute 75. Look I can’t fault the guys for not pushing, not trying, and not pushing to try to score the goals. I can’t. There’s a lack right now of quality in our last third, and if we don’t score enough goals, our defence has to be perfect, and as soon as we concede one goal it’s like a mountain for us right now. That’s the position we are right now. I want to congratulate Calgary for qualifying. I think they played us when they’re in a very good moment and we’re in a very bad moment. That’s football.”

On team’s response to the pressure:

“I think they responded, if you look at the game again, Calgary gets a chance and a half and they score two goals. I think after the last 15 minutes of the first half and all the rest of the second half, it was us in their midfield, us in their midfield, trying to create things, things not coming out and the opportunities. Then we knew in their counterattack situations or set plays, that’s what they try to get. So look, the night was difficult for us because I can’t fault for not trying to push and not trying to score goals tonight.”

On if Cavalry had more desire to get to loose balls:

“Sometimes it’s desire and sometimes it’s profile. Maybe it’s some of the profile of players we have right now, and we’re looking at that very carefully, trust me.”

On seeing more scoring opportunities tonight:

“The possession of course was better, us in the last third and trying to create was better. But it’s different level, we can’t be delusional here. MLS is a different level, different type of opponent, and it’s more difficult to do what we did tonight in an MLS game. So we have to take the good things of this game and we have to carry on, if not it’s going to be a long season.”

*** No Whitecaps players spoke in the pressers after the match ***

CAVALRY FC

TOMMY WHEELDON JR.:

On where winning this game ranks in his achievements as a coach:

“It’s just another day at the office I guess. No, this is fantastic, I’m proud of these guys, I know [Ledgerwood] came back from injury and he’s ran his socks off and every single player out there just defies the odds over and over again, whether it’s in the guys who came with me from the PDL or whether it’s the guys that started the CPL, whether it’s the first leg at home at Spruce Meadows, this has to be up there as one of the greatest victories we’ve had.”

Was the game plan to get that early goal and put Whitecaps on back foot right away:

“Yes absolutely, [an away goal] is worth double so we knew that Whitecaps as the home team had to come out and try and score and we thought while doing that they would play a high line and Nik was smart enough, as soon as he got it he put it in for Jordan Brown and my, what a finish, and as soon as that happens, Whitecaps had to step up another gear and we wanted to engage them a little higher but we got pushed back, but as we got pushed back we had already worked with what our defensive shape would be and we’re happy to control the attacking threats they had from there.”

On the message at halftime:

“I think because we’re that excited to play and put ourselves in a defensive footprint when we didn’t have the ball, we conceded some fouls and when you concede fouls and you’re Ali Adnan whipping the balls in, his left foot is worth two million alone isn’t it, and I think we had to ease up giving them those chances to whip it in but once we did that we tried to keep the play in front of us because as soon as we had it we knew we could break, we’re very good in transition as you’ve seen with Jordan Brown, Sergio, Nico or José Escalante and [Ledgerwood] and then we knew we could get a set play in. Dominick Zator has already scored two goals on set plays and he should have scored in the first leg but it’s great for a lad that I think has come though Calgary but he had a year here, and he still has a bright future, so yeah we planned a bit of that.”

On taking the crowd out of the game early:

“What we wanted to do was to have respect for our opponent. We know they’ve been having a tough time here but sometimes if this is all they have they can come out all guns blazing. So we had to start well in the first 10 or 15 and try and silence the crowd so it then feels like it’s an exhibition game. The fact that we got an early goal played into our gameplan because it took the crowd of it.”

What was going through his head when ‘Caps tied it up?:

“Just stay calm, we’re still leading because it was a bonus goal and it counted for double, so we started planning and we wanted to strategically break up the play because the Whitecaps were in rhythm, they were sharp and they were overloading in the wide areas, so we wanted to make sure that every five minutes we put in a new player… We said just stay connected because we didn’t feel that they were going to undo us.”

On what weaknesses he’s identified in the Whitecaps:

“I’m a big believer in psychology and I think what you can see now is they’re going through a tough time. We’re going through a good time. For us we’re about let’s go and enjoy ourselves. It’s the Mike Tyson one. Everyone’s got a gameplan till you’re punched them in the face. What I wanted to do was to lay the first punch. Fortunately in this game we did. They’re trying to play. They’re trying to go through it and you can see that the guys are suffering. For us, we know they’ve vulnerable on transition because they overplay. We caught them with that goal. And we know our set plays. We know we had a chance that as soon as it went wide, our tails went up.”

NIK LEDGERWOOD:

On the gameplan and atmosphere in the stadium:

“What we talked about was that if we could come out strong in the first ten minutes and weather the storm, that might change the atmosphere of the crowd a little bit, and not let the Whitecaps get into the game. It wasn’t the loudest I’ve heard BC Place before. I think that’s something we notice as a player and it kind of pushes you when you see the fans almost going against the home team at times. We did exceptional in the first 15 to 20 minutes to get that early goal and kind of kill the atmosphere.”

On what this means for them going forward:

“I think before it kicked off in Calgary, we felt like the underdogs and I feel like that game put everything more into perspective for the guys, we gained a lot of confidence from the game in Calgary and I think our game talk, our motivational speech before the game was, we’re no longer underdogs, we’ve got something to prove, we’re hungry, everybody in the locker room thought and believed in ourselves that we could actually pull it off today so although it is a little Cinderella story that going through to the next round, I think that everybody in our locker room, deep down believed that we could pull it off tonight.”

On that team belief:

“I honestly believe that the biggest difference between both teams tonight was that every player on our team believed that we could win the game. And I don’t think that was the case on the Whitecaps. I honestly do.”

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Steve Pandher
Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Avatar
    David Kent at 10:11

    It would be intetesting how the Impact draw in Calgary, the silence from the Whitecaps president is deafening I personally will return, but feel totally let DOWN by BOB

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