Report and Reaction: Flat ‘Caps get what they deserve in home loss to more intense RSL

Report and Reaction: Flat ‘Caps get what they deserve in home loss to more intense RSL

Vancouver Whitecaps’ unbeaten start to the season came to a shuddering halt on Saturday afternoon against a Real Salt Lake side that put on a second half clinic to deservedly come away with all three points in a 2-1 come from behind victory at BC Place.

It had all been looking so good for the Whitecaps after Damir Kreilach’s 33rd minute opener against his former side gave Vancouver the lead at the half, but RSL came out the far hungrier team in the second 45 minutes, taking the game to their hosts and carving out chance after chance, eventually putting two away from Anderson Julio and Alexandros Katranis in a deadly six minute spell, after being denied twice by the woodwork before that.

Vancouver can have little complaint, as their first match in a four-game home stand got off to the worst possible start. The visitors were the far more aggressive and dangerous looking side and the ‘Caps will now need to regroup quickly to find some of the form they showed in their last two road matches if they are to get anything from Portland Timbers in next weekend’s Cascadia Cup clash.

With Fafa Picault and Andre Cubas away on international duty, the ‘Caps brought Damir Kreilach back into the starting line-up against his old side. The hope was he’d be as inspired as Picault was against Dallas last week. And it took a while, but that thinking was proved correct, albeit short-lived.

It was a slow start by both sides, with very little attacking output from either, with the ‘Caps quickly pouncing on any loose balls in and around their box.

It took 25 minutes before there was a real shot in anger, with Ryan Raposo cutting in from the left before unleashing a curler that missed the postage stamp corner.

Two minutes later, Alessandro Schopf headed a Ryan Gauld cross wide, under pressure in front of goal, as Vancouver started to impose themselves more on the game.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 33rd and it was Kreilach that did the damage, timing his run perfectly to get onto a Brian White through ball and tuck it past Zac MacMath to give the ‘Caps the lead.

It was the culmination of a nice, quick five-pass move that started back with Yohei Takaoka, movement that was unfortunately missing from the Whitecaps for much of the match.

Gauld had a header from a tremendous Pedro Vite cross straight at MacMath to close out the half and Vancouver headed into the break with the narrow lead.

That, unfortunately, was to be as good as it got for the ‘Caps, as RSL came out for the second half hungrier, more intense, and looking far more dangerous than anything Vancouver could muster, creating chance after chance and it was a joy to watch them move the ball around as well as they did.

RSL dominated the play after the restart, putting the Vancouver defence under real pressure and getting closer and closer to levelling things up.

The excellent 17-year-old Fidel Barajas, making his MLS debut, saw his effort tipped onto the right post by Takaoka in the 54th minute, before the ‘Caps keeper had to save a low shot from Julio a minute later, as the ‘Caps went temporarily down to 10 men with Brian White taken off for a possible concussion.

Moments later and Barajas saw another effort crash off the woodwork, doing well to bring down a Bode Hidalgo pass but seeing his effort bounce back off the underside of the bar.

The Whitecaps responded with a poke by Gauld that was easily held by MacMath.

Substitute Ali Ahmed was nearly in on goal, knocking the ball past the onrushing MacMath, who was far out of his goal, before being quickly closed down by the last RSL defender before he could get a shot off.

RSL continued to have the better of the play and Andrew Brady played a nice ball in for Chicho Arango, but his looping header went just over, with Takaoka scrambling, just past the hour mark. Moments later, Julio just couldn’t get the ball out of his feet, and when he did, his shot was deflected wide for a corner.

RSL finally got the reward their play deserved in the 70th minute when Barajas played a lovely neat ball inside to Julio, finished with aplomb.

Six minutes later, and the visitors were ahead.

Arango played a great cross to the back of the box to Barajas, whose touch back to Katranis, was superbly chipped over the head of Takaoka to the back post, where it nestled in the net to give RSL the go-ahead goal and what proved to be the winner.

It was an absolutely sublime piece of skill, and although some questions can be asked of Takaoka’s positioning, it was a tremendous effort and the visitor’s deservedly had a lead they weren’t to give up.

Vancouver tried to get the equaliser, and they huffed, puffed, and showed some nice touches, but the final product simply wasn’t there and RSL put on a masterclass of game management in the closing minutes, enabled by a referee that was slowly losing control of proceedings.

But the Whitecaps can have little complaint. They were flat, lacked the intensity of their opponents, and got exactly what they deserved from the match, which was ultimately nothing. It was a performance that doesn’t undo what they achieved on the road these past two weeks but every time you drop points at home it negates what you’ve done on the road a little.

They need to be a lot better and far more creative if they want to be the top four contenders we feel that they easily can be in this conference this year. Let’s now see how their bouncebackability is after their first setback of the season.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 -2 Real Salt Lake

ATT: 22,178

33’ – VAN – Damir Kreilach (Brian White)
70’ – RSL – Anderson Julio (Fidel Barajas)
76’ – RSL – Alexandros Katranis (Fidel Barajas)

Possession: VAN 46.3% – RSL 53.7%
Shots: VAN 7 – RSL 21
Shots on Goal: VAN 3 – RSL 4
Saves: VAN 2 – RSL 2
Fouls: VAN 7 – RSL 9
Offsides: VAN 1 – RSL 3
Corners: VAN 1 – RSL 4

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Mathias Laborda, Ranko Veselinovic, Tristan Blackmon; Javain Brown (Luís Martins 66’), Alessandro Schöpf (Sebastian Berhalter 66’), Pedro Vite, Ryan Raposo (Bjørn Inge Utvik 86’); Brian White (Ali Ahmed 56’), Damir Kreilach (Levonte Johnson 74’), Ryan Gauld [Substitutes not used: Joe Bendik, Isaac Boehmer, Belal Halbouni, Ralph Priso]

SALT LAKE: Zach MacMath; Andrew Brody, Justin Glad (Marcelo Silva 90+6′), Brayan Vera, Alexandros Katranis (Bryan Oviedo 85’); Bode Hidalgo (Matt Crooks 86’), Emeka Emeli, Braian Ojeda, Fidel Barajas (Nelson Palacio 90’); Cristian Arango, Anderson Julio (Maikel Chang 84’) [Substitutes not used: Tomás Gómez, Erik Holt, Daron Iskenderian, Zavier Gozo]




On the team’s performance in the second half:

“Unfortunately, during a moment, or let’s say a time period, we needed to do the things that we do on a regular basis to a tee, both offensively and defensively. There was a few things that happened, they hit the crossbar, the post and we, for whatever reason, the boys kind of decided to try to do everything on their own and go away from the plan. Unfortunately, it happens, it’s going to happen across the course of the season but when things aren’t going our way, we almost need to reset and just go back to the tactics. Unfortunately, it didn’t really happen, and I think we got a little bit, let’s say, caught doing the kinds of things that we don’t normally do and unfortunately, they were able to maintain possession, the ball, in our half and we were scattered and we just got away from it.”

On his time as head coach during the first four games of the season:

“I think I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot. Its more difficult than it looks. I’ve been an assistant coach for a hundred and something games in MLS and its just different when you’re the one that has to make the decisions. It becomes, the word I used was, a little bit more heavy. But I think I’ve grown in a lot of ways through the experience and It’ll help me help Vanni for the remainder of the season” 


On the team’s overall performance:

“Yeah, just felt like it was pretty flat, a flat performance from us. We had bad moments, so we kind of pick things up a wee bit, but second half especially I think we didn’t have enough intensity, we didn’t keep the ball long enough. Some To be honest, I wouldn’t say we deserve much from the game.”

On making his 100th VWFC appearance across all competitions today:

“Obviously, I’ve said it 100 times already, I’ve enjoyed my time here and it’s a nice little milestone to hit and hopefully in the next 100, we can have a lot more success.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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