Vancouver Whitecaps have certainly made the most of some home cooking this month. With three MLS matches and one game in the Canadian Championship, the ‘Caps have come away undefeated, with three wins and a draw, as their slow climb out of the basement of the Western Conference continues.
Heading into a three-game home stand, the importance of these matches was very clear. They needed to take at least seven points from the possible nine on offer, and ideally maximum points. In the end, they’ve taken seven, it could have been nine if the ball bounced the other way in stoppage time on Saturday, and they’ll be pretty happy with their lot.
The latest three point haul came at BC Place on Wednesday night, with the ‘Caps coming from behind at half time to see off FC Dallas thanks to two second half goals. The Texans took the lead in first half stoppage time after Paul Arriola capitalised on horrific Whitecaps marking, but Brian White brought the ‘Caps level with a 71st minute header, before Lucas Cavallini capped off the comeback from the spot two minutes into stoppage time.
You can say a lot of things about the Whitecaps this season, but one of them is definitely don’t leave BC Place early to beat the traffic.
Vanni Sartini made four changes to his starting line-up for this one, in a busy schedule that saw them play their fourth game in 11 days. The team also reverted to a three at the back system in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
The Whitecaps started very lively in this one, with Michael Baldisimo going for goal straight from kick off and Lucas Cavallini flashing one past the left post five minutes in.
Dallas started to get into the game and Arriola curled a free kick inches over Cody Cropper’s bar in the 16th minute, in the closest the visitors had come to opening the scoring.
Neither keeper was really tested too much for the next spell but Cropper came up with a big save in the 32nd minute when Jader O’Brian ran onto a fantastic ball from Brandon Servania to the back post, but the ‘Caps keeper’s leg save denied Dallas.
The Whitecaps had fallen out of the game as an attacking threat, but it looked like they were going to make it into half time unscathed, affording them the opportunity to regroup. Dallas had other ideas, however, and Arriola ran in unchecked to collect a Jesus Ferreira pass three minutes into stoppage time, slotting the ball through the legs of Cropper for his third goal in three games, and the Texans went into the break with a 1-0 lead, despite Ryan Raposo’s long ranger effort that landed on the top of the next with the last kick of the half.
WHEN YOU'RE HOT, YOU'RE HOT 🔥
Paul Joseph Arriola with his third goal in three games. pic.twitter.com/Z5XoDm4A3f
— FC Dallas 🙂 (@FCDallas) May 19, 2022
It was another horrible goal to lose by the Whitecaps from a defensive standpoint, with Arriola just ghosting into unchecked and allowed to run half the length of the pitch unmarked with Cristian Gutierrez absolutely nowhere in sight. Sartini was rightly furious and it was a tough task ahead for the ‘Caps now.
The second half started how the first one ended, with Raposo landing a dipping long range effort onto the top of the net.
Dallas responded with a long ranger of their own, with Cropper tipping a Marco Farfan shot over the bar.
Raposo sent a dangerous ball across the face of the Dallas goal in the 58th minute, but there were no takers, as Vancouver tried to up the tempo and the pressure and find the equaliser.
The ‘Caps got themselves back level in the 71st minute when Gutierrez sent in a perfect ball from the left for substitute White to rise and flick the ball over Jimmy Maurer in the Dallas goal from eight yards out. The keeper definitely should have done better, but Vancouver cared not a jot and it was all tied up at one.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 19, 2022
The Whitecaps nearly went ahead four minutes later when the ball came to Cristian Dajome at the back post but his shot flashed narrowly wide.
It was looking like another draw was going to be on the cards, but with the Whitecaps having one last push, Edwin Cerillo clumsily brought down Ranko Veselinovic in the box with seconds of normal time remaining and the ‘Caps had a last gasp penalty.
Up stepped Cavallini, who drilled home the spot kick to send BC Place wild.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 19, 2022
There was still time for Cavallini to pick up his customary yellow card after a coming together with Ema Twumasi in the 97th minute. A costly one for both player and club, with Cavallini now suspended for the next game in Charlotte.
But quite the comeback from Vancouver and quite the homestand. The win over Dallas moves to within four points of the playoff line. They now need to get some kind of form going on the road, with five of their next six matches away from home. Do that, get healthy, and we’ve a completely different look about this team than we had two weeks ago.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – 1 FC Dallas
Possession: VAN 42.6% – DAL 57.4%
Shots: VAN 8 – DAL 12
Shots on Goal: VAN 3 – DAL 3
Saves: VAN 2 – DAL 1
Fouls: VAN 9 – DAL 12
Offsides: VAN 1 – DAL 0
Corners: VAN 3 – DAL 6
VANCOUVER: Cody Cropper; Javain Brown, Ranko Veselinović, Jake Nerwinski; Ryan Raposo (Brian White 59), Russell Teibert, Michael Baldisimo (Leonard Owusu 68), Cristián Gutiérrez; Déiber Caicedo (Pedro Vite 82), Cristian Dájome (Marcus Godinho 82); Lucas Cavallini [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Sebastian Berhalter, Érik Godoy, Florian Jungwirth, Tosaint Ricketts]
DALLAS: Jimmy Maurer; Nanu, Matt Hedges (Joshué Quiñónez 83), Nkosi Tafari, Marco Farfan (Ema Twumasi 67); Brandon Servania, Edwin Cerrillo, Paxton Pomykal (Tsiki Ntsabeleng 74); Paul Arriola, 10.Jesús Ferreira, Jáder Obrian (Franco Jara 74) [Substitutes not used: Antonio Carrera, Eddie Munjoma, Facundo Quignon, Szabolcs Schön, Kalil ElMedkhar]
You can see all of @ResidualImage’s photos from the match on our Flickr account and in the slideshow below:
On what was said at halftime:
“I think we’ve been the best team the entire game. Not thinking about the mistake, we made a terrible mistake on the goal, and talking about that we were the best team and it was a fact. It was a fact that we were the best team. So we keep have to keep pushing to be a little more intense, and we did. I think we could have done much better in the final third. I think we had a lot of crosses where we could have attacked the space much better. But I was very pleased even if we didn’t score at the end. To be honest, we made a gift to them for the first goal, they made a gift to us for the 2-1.”
On scoring in the second half:
“I think, again, it shows the resiliency of the team and how good we are mentally and physically at the moment. But again, I would love to have a game where we are 2-0 at the end of the first half, and maybe we manage the second half. But you know, every game in MLS is very close. Every team is hard to beat and the fact that we did three wins and one tie in this home stretch, and we almost won against San Jose and we could have done four out of four. It shows how the team reacted very well after a very poor moment and so I’m very proud of the guys.”
On his goal:
“It’s good to get back on the scoresheet and help the team win. Obviously, it’s been a few games since I had a goal, so I’ve been really, really wanting to get on the scoresheet. It’s great to come in and help the team win.”
“Guti had the ball, took a touch out. I just made a run to the near post and I was hoping that he’d put the ball in. He did, it was a great cross, and I just got good contact on it.”
On the win:
“We needed to jump back on track in the fight to the playoffs, especially playing at home, taking advantage of these home games, no travel. So this is nice, back-to-back games. We need to rest the legs and recover nicely here at home. So we took advantage of that. Today we needed a win and we needed those three points from losing two points last game, but now we’re back on track and we’ve got to keep fighting.”
On what’s made the difference lately:
“My team, my family, being at home, being in Vancouver and playing in front of our fans, it’s always an honour. Just pushing myself to my limits, beyond my limits and working hard each day, on and off the pitch to get to my highest level.”
General thoughts on the match…
“The result was fair because we did not play well. We had a decent first half where we could have scored more than one goal. We had good attacks and good runs behind their backline. We were able to penetrate and get in good positions, but the end product was not at our finest today.”
“We went up 1-0 but we know Vancouver always shows a reaction and playing in their stadium is difficult. We gave away two goals through mistakes and not being in the right position.”
“This is a good learning experience because winning on the road is difficult. We have to maintain that focus throughout the 90 minutes, and we have to play our 100% best to get a result on the road.”
On Paul Arriola’s form…
“As a team we are finding ways to play dangerous accurate passes for Paul. In that sense, we are knowing each other more and we always figure out ways to see how we can affect opponents with these passes. The team is feeling comfortable and we are able to find those spaces for him so he can create danger.”
On the team bouncing back…
“It was a great experience for the team and the staff being out there on the road for this long. We will see when we come back who is available and good to go after missing this trip. We will prepare the best way possible to get the three points at home against Minnesota United. This has been overall a great experience for us, we will use this for when we go on another lengthy road trip again. We will use this to prepare them better for future road games.
On the team’s reaction to the match…
“We’re not happy. We wanted six points on this road trip. In the first half, we did what we had to. But in the second half they scored two goals and that’s something we’ll have to reflect on. The boys aren’t happy and rightfully so. We’re holding ourselves accountable and to a higher standard. We’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
On cleaning up individual errors going forward…
“It just happens. It’s not a lack of focus or anything or because guys aren’t trying their best. I had one against New England that led to a PK and we lost 1-0. I wasn’t trying to do that in the moment, of course. In hindsight, guys think about the decision they make, but in the heat of battle it’s just a split-second decision.”
On the two-game road trip…
“Back to back road games tough, especially with one game midweek and you don’t get to go home. But we got three points and I really feel like we could’ve gotten six. And that’s crazy to say because it’s frustrating when you win one on the road and then lose one, it just shows the level and standard that we have for ourselves as a team this year. We don’t really feel like we should lose any games and be competing on the road or at home no matter what.”
On scoring three goals in three matches…
“I think, obviously, just getting the right positions, trusting my teammates, you know. I think our front three today had a great game on the connections and, you know, those are things that that we work on throughout the weeks and, you know, (are) building on and off-the-field chemistry.
“Obviously, it’s an assist from Jesús Ferreira but, you know, it’s definitely also from Jáder (Obrian). It’s really just trying to work on being in sync and understanding, you know, we’re always looking for each other.”
“I think our job as wingers is to try and feed the ball to Jesús and he can give it back to us and we get opportunities. You know, you make the most of them and that’s what I’ve been doing as of late and, you know, that feels good.”
What happened in the last 20 minutes of the match…
“I am not quite sure. I hadn’t really processed too much of it. Obviously, it’s frustrating.
They started to load to our lines and play in between us. But, you know, to be honest with you: it’s a tough one, it’s frustrating. You know, I didn’t think that we deserved to lose. I thought we put in a very difficult shift. It’s obviously a tough place to play.
At the end, it’s just really disappointing but I think I’ll have to take a look back at the last 20-25 minutes to see, you know, kind of what we did and how we can get better.”