Report and Reaction: Whitecaps advance to Canadian Championship semi-finals despite “shameful” home loss to Cavalry

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps advance to Canadian Championship semi-finals despite “shameful” home loss to Cavalry

Sometimes when you go to a restaurant you end up having a disappointing and underwhelming starter, but that’s more than compensated for when it comes to an absolutely delicious main course. If Vancouver Whitecaps’ lacklustre performance against Cavalry FC in Tuesday night’s Canadian Championship quarter-final second leg was a disappointing soggy salad, then perhaps the ‘Caps side we see take the pitch against a star studded Inter Miami side on Saturday will be a fillet mignon cooked to perfection with all the trimmings.

We can live in hope, but right now it feels very much just that and not one based in a reality. The Whitecaps are stuttering along just now, struggling to score from open play and lacking creativity and flair. That was evident in abundance at BC Place, as CPL side Cavalry came and took the game to this home side and Vancouver put in a performance head coach Vanni Sartini later described as “shameful”.

Trailing 2-1 in the tie after the first leg in Calgary earlier this month, the Cavs knew they had to score at least two goals on the road if they were to advance. They got the first of those in the 32nd minute, when the Whitecaps’ Ranko Veselinovic turned the ball into his own net, but they couldn’t find the elusive second and were ultimately left disappointed after a 1-0 victory on the night, but a 2-2 aggregate scoreline that saw them bow out of the competition on the away goals rule.

Sartini rang the changes for this one admidst a packed schedule, opting for a young and fringe line-up. Guiseppe Bovalina was handed his first start, as was WFC2 call-up Cyprian Kachwele. In his postgame reflections, Sartini feels he got the line-up wrong for this one.

Cavalry had the first shot on target, with Isaac Boehmer easily getting down to Lleyton Brooks’ low effort 11 minutes in.

The Whitecaps slowly started to come into the game.

Levonte Johnson played in Kachwele in the 13th minute, but his low shot was tipped around the post by a diving Marco Carducci.

Three minutes later and Kachwele was in again as he ran onto a deflection, but Carducci was out quick to smother the danger.

Willie Akio brought a save out of Boehmer on the half hour mark.

Two minutes later and Akio cut in from the left again. This time his ball into the box was deflected by Veselinovic into his own net and Calgary had the lead.

Leading on the night, but behind in the tie on away goals, the match was now delicately in the balance.

The rest of the first half was pretty much a non event, but Sartini was worried enough by how the game was playing out that he brought on Ryan Gauld and Brian White for the second half.

The teams continued to cancel each other at the start of the second half, with no clear chances for either side.

The ‘Caps finally had a couple of chances just past the hour mark, with first Bovalina firing narrowly past and then Gauld bringing a save out of Carducci with a shot from the edge of the box.

Carducci was called into action again in the 76th minute, when Ryan Raposo was played in but the Cavalry keeper was quickly off his line to smother the danger.

Two minutes later and Boehmer had to save to deny Jesse Daly, who got the ball with his back to goal, but turned superbly to get off his shot.

But that was to be the closest Cavalry came to coming away with not just a famous victory on the night, but to an overall win in the tie.

The Whitecaps now move on to the semi-finals on the away goals rule, but they feel far from being winners at the end of this one. Cavalry have come to BC Place and beaten Vancouver for the second time in five years. It’s the third match the ‘Caps have lost in the competition to CPL opposition in that time and the Cavs can be very proud of their battling performance over these two legs.

Vancouver need to improve and fast if they want to obtain the threepeat in the competition they so badly crave. For now, they can breathe a huge sigh of relief to still even be in it.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 1 Cavalry FC (2-2 on aggregate – Whitecaps advance on away goals)

ATT: 11,853

32’ – CAV – Ranko Veselinović (own goal)

Possession: VAN 56% – CAV 44%
Shots: VAN 15 – CAV 8
Shots on Goal: VAN 5 – CAV 4
Saves: VAN 5 – CAV 4
Fouls: VAN 11 – CAV 12
Offsides: VAN 5 – CAV 1
Corners: VAN 9 – CAV 2

8’ – CAV – Jesse Daley
22’ – VAN – Pedro Vite
44’ – CAV – Charlie Trafford
45’ – VAN – Ali Ahmed
59’ – CAV – Daan Klomp
60’ – CAV – Sergio Camargo

VANCOUVER: Isaac Boehmer; Mathías Laborda (Ryan Gauld 46′), Ranko Veselinović, Bjørn Inge Utvik; Ali Ahmed, Sebastian Berhalter (Alessandro Schöpf 61’), Pedro Vite, Luís Martins; Giuseppe Bovalina (Ralph Priso 77’), Cyprian Kachwele (Brian White 46′), Levonte Johnson (Ryan Raposo 61’) [Substitutes not used: Yohei Takaoka, Belal Halbouni]

CAVALRY: Marco Carducci; Fraser Aird, Daan Klomp, Callum Montgomery, Bradley Kamdem; Jesse Daley (Lucas Dias 88’), Charlie Trafford (Erik Kobza 88’); Lleyton Brooks (Tobias Warschewski), Sergio Camargo (Diego Gutíerrez 66’), William Akio (Ali Musse 66’), Malcom Shaw [Substitutes not used: Jack Barrett, Tom Field]




Thoughts on the match:

“We need to apologize to our fans for our performance that was shameful, in the second half. The first half we tried at least. I have to be honest, there are very few things to comment about because when one team tries to win – them [Cavalry FC] – and the other team [Whitecaps FC] is very casual, that’s a recipe for the game that happened here. I don’t want to say we could have score or tied or whatever, but I didn’t like the attitude of the team, and that’s on me. That one hundred percent on me when it’s not just one or two players, but it’s 11 players. They played the last 15 minutes like they didn’t know that if they score another goal we get eliminated and they’re jogging on the field. It means that my message during the week hasn’t passed. When that happened, I have to take full responsibility. I think it was, by far, the lowest point of my career here at the Whitecaps today.”

On the message after the match:

“Forget tonight, completely. Tomorrow, we do something like Men in Black that makes us forget. Because if we think about tonight, a lot of bad things get into your mind… we need to forget today, and focus on what we did well in the last two games in the league in Seattle and Colorado, where we were very disciplined, very intense, and that’s the reason why we made the point in Seattle and deserved much more in Colorado. That’s what we need to do.”


On his team’s performance:

“We’re obviously feeling the same [disappointment]. A poor performance through the whole 90 minutes, the worst we’ve played in a long time. But there’s no point dwelling on it. We’re through to the next round and we have a big game coming up on Saturday, so, we just know we need to be better and work hard the next few days to make sure we don’t get performances like that again.”

On what he wants to see from his team ahead of Saturday:

“I think the big thing is we just need more energy, we need more commitment. We know that the boys in the changing room have the quality and the desire to play but we all need to step up when it’s our time to play. We’re all going to have bad games, like Vanni told us after the game. We’ve lost a lot of games but it’s not acceptable to lose when when the commitment’s not really there, so that’s the frustrating side of it tonight. But we’ve got a strong changing room, all the boys will be ready to bounce back when we get back to training on Thursday.”



Thoughts on winning the game but losing the tie:

“We were playing against a very much different Whitecaps side to what we’ve played before. I think they’re very well organised, they’re tough to break down. We had some terrific moments. I think what I’m feeing right now is proud. The disappointment will probably come through when I watch the game again about how close it could have been. We just need one more goal, one more goal. The reality is we’ve separated by the worldy from Johnston in the first leg. And to do that over two legs against a very good side shows the capability of the club we’ve got.”

On not having that attacking impetus to get that second goal:

“That’s a credit to the team we’re playing against. We’re playing in their back yard. To almost meet them 50/50 in possession shows that we had confidence and bravery to play and I think it just came down to that final act. Boehmer’s made a hell of a save near the end and the lads literally gave everything I could have asked of them. Pressed brilliantly, tried to play through, tried to have combinations, defended when they had breakaways. Yeah, we’ve got $20 million reasons why they’ve done better than us. We’ve done very well.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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