The fall of the Vancouver Whitecaps continued on Saturday in a 3-1 loss to the white hot San Jose Earthquakes at BC Place.
After Doniel Henry put the ‘Caps up early, the Quakes responded with goals from Vako and Cap killer Chris Wondolowski in the first, and finishing the game off with one from Magnus Eriksson late in the second.
The early goal from Henry came in the seventh minute after he received a free kick from Reyna, knocking the ball down and firing into the bottom left corner of the net.
Another goal from the backline and another defender showing the Whitecaps attackers how it should be done in the box.
Doneil Henry smashes home his third goal of the season.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) July 21, 2019
It was Henry’s third goal of the season, one more from open play than DP striker Fredy Montero. Let’s let that one sink in for a few seconds.
The positive feelings only lasted about ten minutes before Vako captalized on a rebound after Max Crepeau had denied Wondolowski, pouncing as some ball watching ‘Caps allowed the Georgian to draw the game even.
This was now the moment for the Whitecaps to show just what kind of team they were. Would heads go down or would they show heart and fight back?
We soon found out as minutes later Vako almost picked up a second when he had a free shot in the box but a reaction save from Crepeau denied the Quakes’ DP.
Vako was involved again on the game winner when his shot hit the woodwork, bounced off Crepeau’s back, only for the keeper to scramble the ball off the line into the path of Wondolowski who buried the ball to give the visitor’s a deserved lead.
A possible Save of the Week contender that also led to a goal. The whole incident pretty much summing up the breaks the ‘Caps are getting right now.
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) July 21, 2019
There were more chances to extend the lead in the half if it weren’t for the heroics of Crepeau, and it’s a scary though just what the Whitecaps goals against column would read without him in the recent matches.
The second half was more of the same and the Quakes should have received a penalty when Doniel Henry handled the ball in the box. A video review must have deemed it ball to hand but it was a rare let off for a ‘Caps defence that’s been under constant pressure of late.
San Jose did get their third of the game in the 79th minute when Eriksson found himself with acres of space in the box and beat Crepeau with ease. Replays seemed to show a possible handball by the Swede but a video review said it was chest and the goal stood.
3-1 to the Quakes and there was no way back for the ‘Caps now.
CLINICAL. JUST CLINICAL.
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) July 21, 2019
The final whistle came as a relief and was met by boos and whistles from the fans that had remained to this point. Many chose to leave and with an already falling fanbase, performances and results like this could make the ‘Caps a hard sell for the remainder of the season.
The team may also be a hard sell for Dos Santos to attract new talent right now as well. There’s simply nothing in attack, the defence have finally buckled after having to deal with so much pressure all season, and the midfield is a gaping hole that wouldn’t look out of place as a crater on the moon.
This loss is the likely death knell for any lingering postseason aspirations, of which realistically were already miniscule. It’s all about building for next year now. Players need to be properly evaluated, some moved on sooner rather than later. There’s 11 matches of the MLS season remaining and they’re going to feel like the longest stretch of games imaginable unless something can change soon.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 3 San Jose Earthquakes
VANCOUVER: Maxime Crepeau; Jake Nerwinski, Doneil Henry, Erik Godoy. Ali Adnan; Jon Erice, Inbeom Hwang, Lass Bangoura (Joaquin Ardaiz 62), Yordy Reyna, Russell Teibert (Felipe Martins 70); Fredy Montero (Theo Bair 76) [Subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Derek Cornelius, Victor “PC” Giro, Felipe Martins, Lucas Venuto]
SAN JOSE: Daniel Vega; Tommy Thompson, Harold Cummings, Florian Jungwirth, Nick Lima; Judson, Jackson Yueill, Cristian Espinoza (Paul Marie 83), Magnus Eriksson, Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili (Shea Salinas 82); Chris Wondolowski (Danny Hoesen 74) [Subs Not used: Andrew Tarbell, Francois Affolter, Eric Calvillo, Luis Felipe Fernandes]
MARC DOS SANTOS
On tonight’s loss:
“We came in well, important goal against a team that stretches the field a lot. When they got the two goals we weren’t able really to react. We had a tough time finding opportunities. Yordy has a good one. Ardaiz has a good one. But at the end of the day, they created more. Because Max did two very good saves. We felt good about our start but when they scored the two goals, we came back at half, the way the field was open, they way they man-marked, we needed a little bit more movement from our two forwards to try and attack the space behind. It didn’t happen. At the end of the day, we deserved to lose. They were the better team.”
On the busy stretch:
“Everything we show the players has to be video, recovery, it’s difficult to train right now. We play every three days. Now we have the recovery session coming up, and two days, and play again. We have to remember that the guys that are playing in different games, and one game after the other. They’re not even able to recover. After Cavalry, we have a trip to Minnesota, we go again. You can’t even train that. We’ve had a tough time establishing the model of play that I want. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even close today.”
On the upcoming week:
“It’s difficult to say, ‘come and you can expect this.’ Our work as coaches and players is to find the reaction, to improve the team and make it better. But to say that on Wednesday, we’re going to be this or that, it’s unpredictable. Now our job is to make sure that we watch the game again, we see what went wrong, and try to react from it. Right now, we’re in a bad moment.”
On how the team reacted:
“I thought in the locker room before the game, we looked very motivated to play the game. I felt in the first 15 minutes we came out and we were aggressive, we got the first goal. I felt good about the start. Then when we concede the two goals, mentally, it’s hard right now for us. To get a reaction there, it’s hard. It also gives us lots of answers for the future.”
On types of shots he’s seeing:
“There’s a lot of blocked shots out of the 18, knowing that we are facing teams as well that are going forward with the one mentality to crash the net, like that’s what San Jose do, in LA that’s what – I don’t even want to talk about it – but it was a kind of game, New England, KC. I think sometimes we definitely sit too low, where we can step and we need to do a little bit better, Doneil and Erik did it a lot today, some blocked shots, Jake as well so I think we need to defend a little bit higher.”
On mood in the locker:
“We know it’s not good enough, we all know it, we’re not hiding, we all know it, everyone deserves better from this club. We need to be better, bottom line.”
On thoughts on third goal:
“It hurts because I always want to [make] the game even and always keep the team in and when it was that 3-1, it was a goal that hurt a lot where; when it’s 2-1, the next goal is so critical and 3-1 late in the game like this, makes it even a bit heavier for the guys on the field and the next goal at 2-1, it switches everything, if we get the 2-2 game on and we can even win this, but it went the other way and the first thing on my mind was just frustration, and it hurts.”
On the accumulation of goals against:
“I’m good because I move on from things, I analyze every game, everything that I can do better, I do a lot of video and filling myself on inches and details to be better every day so when there’s a game like that, I just move on right away and next 24 hours I’ll do an introspection and after that Monday, I’m fresh, new day and I think for the team it’s not a good moment mentally, yes because we’ve conceded a lot of goals but that kind of stuff happens with every team, every season and right now it’s been happening the past weeks and we know it, like to talk about it is just pounding on it, you know what I mean, I think it’s now correcting on video what we can do better, pushing, covering each other and fighting for each other instead of just saying ‘oh damn, we lost, a lot of goals conceded.’ It’s just about positivity, about that because you know when we start to drown ourselves, we aren’t going to get up from this, so we need to be positive and to be honest with you guys, the room was more positive today than any other past game, the vibe was better.”
On where did the transition point happen:
“Well first I think we sometimes respect too much the opposition where we can see it, we defend on top of the 18 and sometimes we’re even in our 18 and we can see some plays, I think before we just held the line before the 18 and not dropping, we’re just staying there and defending forward instead of back.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
On tonight’s win:
“When everyone is victorious, that’s a possibility to celebrate, enjoy, and be happy, especially the last few that they’ve had which was very difficult. I saw that this game, we played pretty well. In certain moments, we got into some trouble, we got down 1-0. We were able to maintain calm, play our game, and little by little, the goals came.”
On the key to their success:
“Just the perseverance that this group has, they’re working as a family, that was the idea and the objective since the first moment. And apart from the passion, something we’re adding, it’s love for what you do, respect for your opponent, and credibility in themselves. ”
On the turnaround:
“We knew that it was going to be a process and every process takes time. First we had to change our mentality, then we had to install our system of play, and showing that each and everyone of them can do it. That’s why I accepted his challenge when I had the possibility of going elsewhere. I chose them because I studied them and knew they had a lot more to give.”
On excellent mood in the locker room:
“Yes, absolutely, I think that to be honest, not to be too cliché but we felt it from day one, things were really rolling our way, you know we got off to a really poor start but now the confidence is building, it’s kind of snowballing in there and I think that something that coach Matías has told us from day one, is enjoy the special moments that football brings to you, and if you win on the road, enjoy it, it’s done tomorrow, we’re back to work but we always put in a hard weeks work but enjoy today.”
On coach believing in the team:
“I think that’s huge, I think that it’s momentous and that it helps us, we know each other, we know what our potential was, we didn’t play up to it and weren’t doing the little things last year and getting punished and rightfully so and again with coach Matías and his staff, he’s been able to iron out a lot of those details and really give us an identity of who we want to be and how we want to play and I think you’re starting to see it.”
On tonight’s match:
“I thought that it was pretty good all over the field, I think that we need a little bit more clinical in front of the goal and punish if we do get those opportunities, we got a couple pretty good looks that we weren’t able to finish, it was nice to get that third one, it definitely helped but I thought overall it was a pretty good night.”
On coming back from 0-1:
“It’s our belief in the locker room, we went against Galaxy 1-0 and kind of the same thing, we’re just going to be relentless from the start, we got to make sure we get off to better starts, and not be a little sleepy, to be fair Doneil had a pedigree finish on that one and punished us and did a great job.”
On the team’s strong performance tonight compared to past visits to Vancouver:
“Yeah, absolutely – I think we’ve struggled in the past a lot of places away but this year, we have a confidence about us that we play the same at home as we do away. We came in here tonight knowing that Vancouver’s a tough team and thinking that they should have more points than they do – so we didn’t take them lightly and we were able to come out of here with three points. It was great for us.”
On what helped turn their season around:
“I think it was a bunch, a combination of things. I think it took us a little bit to get used to the system, and honestly to buy into the system and have confidence in it. And then once we were able to all buy in and everyone get on the same page, we just had a team belief about us that keeps us in games, that keeps us tough. We want to be a team that’s very difficult to play against and I think we’ve become that.”
On how Coach Almeyda’s belief in the team has propelled them this season:
“He could have come in, and just totally cleaned house and change personnel – and he didn’t do that. So that, as a player, that gives you confidence that you’re wanted – and even after the first four games, after losing those four games, he said this is my group of guys, this team can win games, and it’s been awesome to see that belief turn into reality.”