The fans may have been out in numbers, but Vancouver Whitecaps didn’t roll out the red carpet for Wayne Rooney and DC United as they picked up their first home win since May 25 in a 1-0 victory at BC Place on Saturday evening.
A first half goal by Yordy Reyna would be the difference, with Max Crepeau earning his fifth cleansheet of the season, as the ‘Caps made it seven points from their last four matches, after a dismal run of form before that had basically sunk their season.
Rooney almost made an impact immediately in the 2nd minute when he set up Paolo Arriola at the far post which was denied by Crepeau, but that was about as dangerous as the former Premier League star was to prove on a frustrating outing for the Englishman.
While DC controlled the tempo of play, the Whitecaps ventured into attacking and it paid off in the 18th minute when Reyna took a pass from Teibert, cut inside, and unleashed a shot that evaded a diving Bill Hamid to give the ‘Caps the lead.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) August 18, 2019
If not for Crepeau that lead would have lasted only a minute as Ulises Segura broke free from Adnan to get one on one with the keeper only to see his shot stopped.
The ‘Caps had a chance with just over ten minutes in the half to double their lead but Ali Adnan had just missed the far post.
DC United had their fair number of quality chances in the first half with the majority of them either missing the target or being blocked by a Whitecap defender.
The visitor’s pressure continued in the first five minutes of the second half, with DC sending a couple of attempts wide of the net.
Around the hour mark, the ‘Caps pushed hard for a second goal but were denied as first Hamid reached to stop a header from Derek Cornelius, then a minute later Cornelius set up Reyna who took a couple of touches then fired a shot that banged off the bar.
You wondered if Vancouver were going to be left to rue those misses but DC were simply not testing a strong Whitecaps defence.
With just over ten minutes to go the crowd was witness to the Theo Bair show as the youngster went through and around three DC players and then sent in a cross that almost resulted in an own goal.
Crepeau was in the right place at the right time as with minutes to go when the ball bounced off the inside of the right post from a header and into the hands of the keeper.
Vancouver was able to survive the remaining regulation plus the extra seven minutes of injury time to pick up the three points and end their seven game, including the match against Cavalry, winless streak at home.
There was much better cohesion throughout the entire eleven, especially going forward in the attack as they left goals on the field.
Despite giving up a number of chances and having to make alterations minutes into the second half, Vancouver was able to earn a cleansheet blocking a number of quality chances and Crepeau making a couple of key stops in the first half.
Even with the win the ‘Caps remain at the bottom of the Western Conference but for the first time in a while there was a sense of confidence and identity coming from the players on the pitch.
They will have a chance to show more of that when they travel to Northern California to take on the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 0 D.C. United
VANCOUVER: Maxime Crépeau; Jake Nerwinski (Doneil Henry 50), Érik Godoy, Derek Cornelius, Ali Adnan; Andy Rose, Inbeom Hwang, Russell Teibert; Theo Bair, Fredy Montero (Tosaint Ricketts 79); Yordy Reyna (Scott Sutter 90) [Substitutes not used: .Zac MacMath, Jon Erice, Joaquin Ardaiz, Victor “PC” Giro]
D.C.: Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara (Emmanuel Boateng 67), Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Joseph Mora; Lucas Rodriguez, Junior Moreno, Felipe Martins, Ulises Segura (Luciano Acosta 58); Wayne Rooney (Ola Kamara 74), Paul Arriola [Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz, Jalen Robinson, Donovan Pines, Quincy Amarikwa]
MARC DOS SANTOS
On the recent turnaround:
“You have a couple of conversations with groups, with players, between us and then you need results, right. Because results build confidence and results build everything. In the last four games, going to Minnesota and getting a result, winning in Cincinnati. In Portland, we didn’t feel bad about ourselves. We said we were disappointed with the loss but we felt that we would continue growing. What I told the players before the game is, even if many people come to see Rooney, the sum of our parts have to be the difference maker. And I think that today in every facet of the game, in everything we did, there was such a commitment from everyone. And I’m proud of that, there’s no sign of this team giving up. I saw it in training during the week when I was asked about it, I felt there’s no sign, we don’t see a sign of guys’ heads down and giving up and we’re going to keep going until it’s possible, we won’t give up.”
On whether the slim playoff chances have lifted some pressure of the team and they’re playing more freely:
“We are going to be sad if the days come that we don’t make the playoffs. We are playing with the mentality and the intensity. Until it’s possible we’re going to fight. That’s how we’re playing right now.”
On the defensive performance:
“That’s how we’ve been working, if you see in our model of play, we allow the opponent to get wide but we protect a lot of the central area, it’s part of how we like to defend. We’re comfortable defending crosses. Very few times [have we conceded off crosses] if you go and look at all goals we’ve conceded this year, I remember Ibrahomovic here but I don’t remember many and this is part of our model and our defensive organization. But I didn’t like how we backed off, it bothers me, I want our club to grow. In the second half, we have more moments that we stepped on the opponent, we didn’t back off. The way we defended backing off in the first half we addressed it at half time, it wasn’t something we wanted, but how we defend the penalty box that’s by design and part of our model in our defensive organization.”
On the clean sheet against Wayne Rooney and D.C. United:
“Any clean sheet feels amazing. At that point, it’s three points. After that, it’s keeping a clean sheet. If it’s against Rooney, even better. It’s a great evening.”
On the fans:
“I heard the fans, it was good that the fans were into it. It was nice to get connected with them.”
On upcoming matches:
“The home loss to San Jose is still in the back of my mind. We need to go there and play with the same mentality we had in Cincinnati when we got the result, and in Minnesota when we got a point. After that, it’s coming home for me personally. It would be nice to play in front of family and fans and friends. In the end, it’s just about focusing on one game at a time. We need to get points in San Jose and then coming to Montreal and preparing because it’s three games in seven days with a lot of travelling so it’s about taking care of ourselves and being professionals, and being fresh with our mindset.”
On important saves in the first half:
“They try to send through balls over the top. We needed to adjust ourselves. Derek [Cornelius] had a few to clear. These types of plays, you just have to be honest with the ball and stand up and react to it instead of trying to guess or anticipate.”
On his second game-winning assist in three games:
“It was a good goal by Yordy. If he can get close to the box, he can have a good strike at net. Get the ball to Yordy, he’s going to score.”
On momentum going into a road trip:
“If you look at the past four games, we’ve been playing really well. We’ve had a tough months, but I think we’re back on our feet. It was a little bit of a rope-a-dope there for a while, but we’re getting back on track. We’re building and we have seven more games to try and gain as many points as we can. If we play like this, we’ll have a good chance and a shot in every match we play.”
On defensive approach:
“Our approach to the game is we have to stick to what we do defensively. We’ve been sound defensively in the past four games, we have to keep building on that. Rooney is a big name, he attracts a lot of attention everywhere he goes but our game plan was essentially the same.”
On the result:
“We had enough chances in the game to get something out of it but the three or four looks that we had we didn’t do well enough and that’s what you have to do on the road. They get the first one which is always difficult against a team that is really comfortable sitting back with heavy numbers. Give them credit they defended the box really well all night long and made it difficult for us to get looks off. But, first half [we were] pretty sharp, a little loose in the build-up to their goal and it was a slog for us to try and find the net from there.”
On referee decisions:
“We wanted a few handballs that we thought happened in the box but the ref decided not to call those today and that’s how it goes.”
On upcoming matches:
“They’re all important, seven left, every one of them is important, and we like our depth right now. We’ve got a couple of pieces that we think will allow us to use everybody in the next two games so that was the thought behind this and it was a game that we wanted to go with the best group possible but we fell a bit short.”
On Felipe Martins:
“We liked his pulse, we think he’s a winner, we’ve seen him in this league for a long time and we also had three guys go down very quickly in that position and we needed to fill that role in the short-term. A lot goes into those type of decisions – we’re happy he’s here.”
On tonight’s performance:
“Very good, thought we were by far the better team, created the better chances and very, very unlucky not to get anything out of the game.”
On his exchange with the referee:
“Because I have my opinions on the referees and it’s not very good. So, I feel they need to improve the game – that’s my opinion. I feel like I’m entitled to my opinion. I said a couple of weeks ago, I got kicked, the referees do nothing. All I’m asking for is a bit of protection and it would be nice if Howard Webb could come to the training ground and let us speak to him over it because I feel it’s happening game after game. And to get some clarification, it would be nice if Mr. Webb came down to the training game and speak to us.”
On the Whitecaps defence:
“We knew what they would bring, they sit very deep and do it well so fair play to them. They defend deep and defend the box well but still I thought we created some very good chances to score. On another day, we’d score two or three of those chances but all credit to them, we knew that’s how they were going to play and they done it well.”.”
On positives to take from the game:
“I thought this was one of those games that we controlled. We had early chances to go ahead. We knew what Vancouver was going to bring to the table. They were very well-shaped defensively and looks for counter-attacks. They got very good players up top. Credit to them, they executed when they needed. There was a lot of possession, a lot of fluidity in the attack.”
On upcoming matches:
“It’s pretty much must-win for us if we want to stay in the top four in the Eastern Conference. Coming out of this game, looking at the possession and the chances that we created, lots of positives. We have to keep that going against a team that’s a little bit more dynamic. We’ll see if we can keep our momentum.”