Report and Reaction: Whitecaps blow golden opportunity to impress as understrength Miami pile on more home woes

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps blow golden opportunity to impress as understrength Miami pile on more home woes

It wasn’t the Inter Miami side over 50,000 people had bought tickets to see. Many (the majority?) of those in attendance would have struggled to identify most of the Messi-less visiting side that took to the BC Place on Saturday evening. This wasn’t how things were meant to play out for one of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ marquee matches for their historic 50th anniversary season. But yet, here we were.

The build up to this game saw a lot of anger thrown in all directions – the Whitecaps, Miami, MLS, even Messi himself. It’s hard not to see that the debacle that played out in the 48 hours before kick off has caused irreparable damage to the Whitecaps from a number of the non-regular fans that bought tickets for this match.

All the Whitecaps could now hope to do was to put on a show. A display of the talent they have in their ranks in the hope of making some of those non-regulars come back and cheer on their local side. To send the record-setting crown home happy (happier?) and to leave their 7th home game of the season with all three points. They failed in all aspects and Miami were proved correct in leaving their stars in Florida.

Winning at home was something the Whitecaps had only managed to do twice so far this year from their first six attempts. You can make that seven now after another performance that lacked quality and a clinical finish in front of goal. You don’t need to have a big name to provide that quality. Miami’s Robert Taylor showed that in spades, scoring Miami’s first and setting up the second for Leonardo Campana to tuck away. Ryan Gauld pulled one back for Vancouver from the spot, but despite a frantic late push, the visitors held on fairly comfortably for a 2-1 victory and three important points.

Vanni Sartini once again rang the changes, as expected. Vancouver are in the midst of an eight-game month of May and squad rotation has been key. Ironically, much as Miami did for this game to much anger. The starting 11 Sartini put out is arguably the best he has at his disposal right now. For them to then perform so poorly, is just one of a number of red flags surrounding the team right now.

Miami had the first couple of chances, with Yohei Takaoka punching away a Campana header in the 4th minute, before getting down to a Matias Rojas skipper two minutes later.

Vancouver slowly started to come into the game and had a chance in the 9th minute when Fafa Picault headed a Gauld cross to the back post into the six yard area, but there were no takers.

Takaoka was called into action again in the 15th minute, saving a Jordi Alba shot at his near post.

The game fell into a lull, but it was shaken into life by a fantastic opening goal by Miami.

Alba played in Taylor and the Finnish international cut inside and curled a beauty into the far corner past a full length diving Takaoka.

The Whitecaps looked impotent in attack, putting in another lacklustre performance in front of a big crowd and they finished the half with no shots on target.

With more impetus, at least, to start the second half, Picault headed an Ali Ahmed cross just wide four minutes after the restart.

Those early half hopes were soon extinguished in the 54th minute when Miami doubled their lead.

Campana started and finished a move that saw Taylor show fancy footwork to get past Matthias Laborda and cut the ball back for the Ecuadorian to slot home.

The Whitecaps were thrown a lifeline just past the midway point of the second half when referee Joe Dickerson was called over for a video review. Replays showed Miami defender Tomas Aviles pushing over Picault in the box and the Whitecaps had a penalty.

Gauld stepped up and fired home from the spot and from nowhere, the ‘Caps were back in the game.

Picault broke through on the right in the 75th minute but his ball across the face of the goal had no takers, although the winger had probably been offside.

Picault came even closer himself six minutes later, rising brilliantly to meet a pin perfect Ryan Raposo cross, but his flying header crashed off the right post.

The Whitecaps tried to get something going but the visitors were holding firm as the game went into eight minutes of stoppage time, but despite trying to push there was no way back for Vancouver and it was three more points dropped at home.

This was a horrible performance by the Whitecaps. For Sartini to sit postgame and say it was a good performance, but a disappointing result was extremely concerning. Maybe he’ll feel differently in the cold light of day when he watches the game back, but, for me, they were lacking so much and the quality simply isn’t there in the team right now. Two shots on target in a game like this was shameful, never mind Tuesday night’s performance against Cavalry.

The tactics, formation, and current personnel aren’t working. At least Sartini saying that he understands there need to be changes gives some hope. Whether they can be put into practice going into a tricky game in Kansas City on Wednesday is a whole other matter.

If I’m Vanni right now, I’m worried about where this season is going, both for the team and for him as the coach.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 2 Inter Miami

ATT: 51,035

38’ – MIA – Robert Taylor (Jordi Alba)
54’ – MIA – Leonardo Campana (Robert Taylor)
72’ – VAN – Ryan Gauld (penalty kick)

Possession: VAN 50.2% – MIA 49.8%
Shots: VAN 17 – MIA 10
Shots on Goal: VAN 2 – MIA 6
Saves: VAN 4 – MIA 1
Fouls: VAN 8 – MIA 14
Offsides: VAN 2 – MIA 1
Corners: VAN 9 – MIA 5

20’ – MIA – Jordi Alba
34’ – VAN – Ali Ahmed
48’ – MIA – Yannick Bright
51’ – MIA – Tata Martino (head coach)
60’ – MIA – Marcelo Weigandt
63’ – MIA – Tomás Avilés
73’ – VAN – Alessandro Schöpf
90’ – VAN – Fafà Picault
90’ – MIA – Federico Redondo

90’+8 – MIA – Gerardo Andres Martino (assistant coach)

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Mathías Laborda (Luís Martins 58’), Ranko Veselinović (Ryan Raposo 74’), Tristan Blackmon; Ali Ahmed, Pedro Vite (Giuseppe Bovalina 58’), Andrés Cubas (Levonte Johnson 88’), Alessandro Schöpf (Sebastian Berhalter 73’); Ryan Gauld, Brian White, Fafà Picault [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Belal Halbouni, Bjørn Inge Utvik, Javain Brown]

MIAMI: Drake Callender; Marcelo Weigandt, Tomás Avilés, Sergii Kryvstov, Jordi Alba; Julian Gressel (Noah Allen 87’), Yannick Bright, Benjamin Cremaschi (Federico Redondo 65’); Matías Rojas (David Ruiz 82’), Leonardo Campana, Robert Taylor (73.Leonardo Frugis Afonso 87’) [Substitutes not used: C.J. dos Santos, Ryan Sailor, Franco Negri, Lawson Sunderland, Ryan Carmicheal]




On his team’s performance across both halves:

“I don’t think it’s a disappointing performance. I think it’s a disappointing result, to be honest. It’s a disappointing way that you lose. I think that we tried. We put a lot of effort. We did very good in getting ourselves in the right position. Today, when you guys talk about the final third and [in] the box, that’s the big reason today. We had four transitions in the first half where we had at least numerical parity, sometimes I think even numerical superiority. We arrived in the box, we arrived very close to the goal, and we didn’t even shoot. They had one, and they scored.”

On the crowd:

“Fantastic, the crowd today was amazing. From the [TIFO], it was amazing. There were a lot of people while we were doing warmup, pushing the team. It was fantastic. We are so sorry that we couldn’t at least tie at the end, because they were really helping us and we really thank them. It was special, to be honest.”


On the second half performance from his team:

“In the second half we came out way more aggressively, defensively and offensively. I think we were kind of hungry not to lose. I think we fought until the end. Gutted not to get a goal, and not even tie honestly, to not get a win with all the fans here today. I think we wanted to show that we’re a team that can win in Vancouver, so it’s unfortunate that we didn’t do that today.”

On playing in front of tonight’s record breaking crowd:

“It was really beautiful, a beautiful vibe. It was nice to see the pre-game stuff going on and the 50,000 fans coming up, seeing the upper bowl and the lower bowl packed is beautiful. As a footballer, you love to play a match like that, and it would have been super lovely to leave this day with a win with all those fans in attendance. But we’ve got to learn from it.”



On the win on the road without some of his main star players:

“I feel comforted by the effort the boys made. I think it was a very valuable win… let’s celebrate in a fitting way as it was a very difficult match. We had to run a lot and work hard, but these are three very valuable points for us.”

On if the long travel affected the team’s performance on the night:

“I don’t believe it was a factor… I think we did things better in the first half. Even until the second goal we were better, then there is an opponent who plays, applies pressure and makes changes and becomes stronger offensively, and we were forced to retreat and defend. But I don’t want to attribute the team’s dip in the last 30 minutes to something related to the trip.”


On playing for Inter Miami alongside stars:

“I feel privileged, really happy for everything that’s happening with our team in Miami. I arrived a bit ago and I’ve seen how the team is growing, how we’ve become protagonists, it makes me happy for the owners, for everybody that is part of the team. So, we’re on a good path and we have to keep going.”


On his thoughts on the match:

“It was a hard-fought game. I think we did well, we created a lot, we did great finishing our chances, and obviously we were able to battle through the final minutes, to keep [them] there and not let [them] score again.”

On quick turnaround ahead of next match:

A: “This is part of the job. We have to battle through these things, it’s going to be a long flight home but our mindset now is shifted to the next game right away and we can’t stop. Once we got the three points here we had to look at the next game, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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