Report and Reaction: Defences breached as Whitecaps and Quakes serve up six goal second half thriller

Report and Reaction: Defences breached as Whitecaps and Quakes serve up six goal second half thriller

It was a wild, wild, wild second half at BC Place on Saturday afternoon as Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes played out a 3-3 draw, with all six goals coming in the second 45 minutes.

It was a lacklustre first half, but that all quickly changed when Lucas Cavallini fired the Whitecaps ahead in the 52nd minute. The Earthquakes hit back through Jamiro Monteiro 10 minutes later then went ahead through Jeremy Ebobisse in the 73rd minute. Vancouver then hit back through Ryan Raposo, and although Ebobisse put San Jose back ahead with nine minutes to go, Erik Godoy earned a point for the ‘Caps in stoppage time.

Quite the game! Or half at least.

Vanni Sartini made five changes to the starting XI from Wednesday night’s win, with the biggest absence of note being Ryan Gauld, who was in health and safety protocols.

There was little of note from either side in the opening stages, with the first dangerous effort on goal coming from a long range Cristian Espinoza shot that a full stretch Cody Cropper turned around the post in the 21st minute.

Cropper was called into action again in the 34th minute when he did really well to get across his goal-line to keep out an Ebobisse header.

But that was pretty much it for the action from a pretty dull first half, but things certainly livened up big time after the restart.

San Jose had a spring in their step to start the second, immediately taking the game to Vancouver. They had a couple of looks on goal blocked by some dogged Whitecaps defending, but the ball eventually broke to Marcos Lopez, whose long range effort crashed off the bar.

The ‘Caps responded by forcing a save from JT Marcinkowski from a deflect effort, which they quickly followed up with the opening goal.

Cavallini had looked lively and aggressive but hadn’t had a sniff of goal. That changed in the 52nd minute when he played a give and go with Raposo on the edge of the box, collecting the return and drilling it low past Marcinkowski for the opening goal.

It felt a bit against the run of play, but neither side had really stood out to this point and it was just good to see Cavallini finally back on the scoresheet.

Cavallini had another chance to add to the ‘Caps tally in the 62nd minute when he was slipped in, in acres of room, but chose power over a chip over the keeper, and Marcinkowski came up with the block.

It was a costly miss with the Quakes going right up the pitch and levelling things when Espinoza sent a cross in from the right into the six yard box and Monteiro was allowed a free header goallside of Michael Baldisimo to tie the game up.

By the 73rd minute, Vancouver were behind.

The ‘Caps felt aggrieved at no foul being given when Deiber Caicedo was bundled over on the edge of the San Jose box, although for me it was a fair shoulder to shoulder challenge. As the crowd booed, the Quakes transitioned quickly and Cade Cowell sent a dangerous low ball into box for Ebobisse to sweep home and put the visitors ahead.

The Whitecaps came close to levelling things back up again two minutes later when Marcinkowski denied a diving Cavallini header.

Vancouver kept the pressure on and they got their reward moments later when Caicedo collected a ball from Cavallini and played a neat ball outside to Raposo, who showed great composure to drill home the equaliser at the near post.

With both defences all at sea, and both attacks now looking like they could take advantage of them at any time, it was San Jose who struck next, going back ahead in the 81st minute.

In another quick transition play, Cowell sent a cross to Espinoza at the back of the box and the Argentine easily squared it to a wide open Ebobisse to turn it home.

It was terrible defending by the Whitecaps, who were just ripped apart by the play and giving up far too much room.

Was this finally the matchwinner? Not likely with the marking these teams were adopting and with the game just clicking into stoppage time, Vancouver tied things up once again.

The ‘Caps sent in a corner from the right. Caicedo’s ball ran all the way through to Godoy, who stuck out a leg and turned the ball home.

The drama wasn’t finished, but the goals were as Cavallini had a half chance that flew over late, and then fantastically met a great ball in from Cristian Gutierrez to the back post that took a bounce and grazed the left post and behind in the last action of the match.

What a half of football, both in a good and a bad sense. Some well worked goals that both defences will certainly want back and drama till the very end, leaving the two teams to settle for a share of the spoils.

Both coaches can take some positives from this one, but there’s a lot of concerning issues to work on too. I’m not sure who will be the happiest or the most disappointed by the end result. From a Whitecaps point of view, the defence is still a major concern and the space they give up to the opposition is just not conducive to a successful season.

On the positive side, this was the best game from Cavallini in a Whitecaps shirt for a long time and Raposo seems to have really hit his stride. Caicedo was excellent and lively, and there were enough glimpses from others to suggest it may not be a lost cause just yet.

Dropping points at home is never ideal, but avoiding defeat and fighting back the way they did will give the Whitecaps a boost at least. Next up is Dallas on Wednesday. They simply can’t defend against them the way they did today.

Let’s see what that one brings as the homestand comes to an end.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 – 3 San Jose Earthquakes

ATT: 15,087

Possession: VAN 39.1% – SJ 60.9%
Shots: VAN 15 – SJ 15
Shots on Goal: VAN 7 – SJ 6
Saves: VAN 3 – SJ 4
Fouls: VAN 13 – SJ 14
Offsides: VAN 0 – SJ 0
Corners: VAN 3 – SJ 5

VANCOUVER: Cody Cropper; Javain Brown (Cristian Gutiérrez 70), Érik Godoy, Florian Jungwirth, Jake Nerwinski; Russell Teibert (Michael Baldisimo 46), Sebastian Berhalter; Cristian Dájome, Ryan Raposo (Pedro Vite 83); Brian White (Déiber Caicedo 67), Lucas Cavallini [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Marcus Godinho, Ranko Veselinović, Luís Martins, Leonard Owusu]

SAN JOSE: JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie, Nathan, Francisco Calvo, Marcos Lopez; Jamiro Monteiro (Jack Skahan 90), Eric Remedi (Jan Gregus 54), Jackson Yueill; Cristian Espinoza, Jeremy Ebobisse (Benji Kikanovic 90), Cade Cowell (Ousseni Bouda 84) [Substitutes not used: Matt Bersano, Tanner Beason, Tommy Thompson, Oskar Agren, Niko Tsarkiris]




On Lucas Cavallini’s match:

“I think it is by far the best game he has played for the Whitecaps. As I told you a lot in the last few weeks guys, he’s a different player than last year. Mentally he is in a much better space, he works for the team, he works for the team a lot then you get back the chance, so he played very well. He could have done better probably in that one-v-one with the goalkeeper, because if we go 2-0 I think they’re going to slow down after the 2-0, maybe they will become very easy for us. But then he kept working and didn’t give up.”

On Ryan Raposo’s recent performances:

“It’s fundamental of course, the more you play, the more you begin to have rhythm, the more you have confidence and I think Ryan did very well. I took him off at the end because I wanted to add Pedro [Vite], having another like offensive player in the mix. But I think did well, scored the goal. It was harder in the second half defensively, because without the fullback behind, we have to manage when to press, when to drop. But I think that he played very well.”


On today’s performance:

“I mean each game I’m feeling better and better. I would have said it was my best game if we would have got the three points. Just all in all, happy with my performance and happy with the team spirit today.”

On squad rotation:

“We have a lot of depth in this team. So Vanni is used to making a lot of changes, there’s always players that haven’t played that can play next game or not, or we’re always having fresh legs coming off the bench. I’m not worried about it too much and I think these moments at the time of the season are the best, because players play three games or four games, and who doesn’t want to play games? Less training, more games.”


On the match:

“I’m happy to help the team to tie in the last minute, we have to expect to be better in the defensive line, because today we conceded three goals. I know that. We’ll have to keep working day by day to be better.”

On Lucas Cavallini’s performance:

“Lucas is an important player for us. Today I think that he was the best on the field. He helped the team with goals and was very good in the area. If he keeps playing like this, he will come back to the national team.”



On the result:

“First of all, one point on the road is a point. It’s something positive that we can bring home. In relation to the game, I think you’re right. We created three goals in transition. We were talking about that at halftime that we had to be more aggressive once we recovered the ball to go forward but without losing our composure.”

On Jeremy Ebobisse’s performance as the league co-leader in goals:

“I think that Jeremy [Ebobisse] is a player that tries to help us in build-up, trying to arrive to the box, he has very good feet, he has goals. Today, he helped us a lot. He helped us a lot today, and every game that he plays for us, offensively and defensively. Obviously when you are a striker, a nine, you have to be in those spaces. Sometimes the ball arrives, sometimes not. Jeremy has been good. I’m so happy for him.”


On the match:

“I thought it was a difficult match. Anytime you go away from home, you know you’re going to be in for a battle. We did a solid job to keep the game 0-0 for as long as we did. Obviously, that’s something we struggled with a bit at times early on in the year. We’re really solidifying that part of our game. And then the reaction to going down was excellent. As a team, we need to figure out how to manage games from advantageous positions, being up 2-1 and ultimately being up 3-2. We need to find a way to close games out. We know it’s never going to be easy on the road, but ultimately the type of team that we want to be and where we want to be competing at the end of the season, these are the type of results that we hope will go our way in the future with the work that we put in.”

On co-leading MLS with seven goals:

“The team achievements come first. The goals today were useful for a tie, but ultimately I want to win. I’ve been to an MLS Cup before. Unfortunately it didn’t go my team’s way and ever since, that’s been the plan, to get back there. If my goals help get us there, then I’ll be super grateful and grateful to the rest of the team who are providing the service for those goals. However we can get to the playoffs and make a run, I’m happy to play my role.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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