Report and Reaction: Whitecaps leave it late but Raposo secures Cascadia derby win against Timbers

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps leave it late but Raposo secures Cascadia derby win against Timbers

Ryan Raposo was the Whitecaps’ derby day hero at BC Place on Saturday. The Canadian fired home an 88th minute winner to give Vancouver a dramatic 3-2 victory over their Cascadian rivals from Portland, after the ‘Caps threw away a two-goal first half lead and made things a lot more difficult for themselves than they should have.

Ryan Gauld gave Vancouver the lead just two minutes in before Fafa Picault doubled the Whitecaps’ lead just before the half hour mark. The second half was a whole different story as Evander and Felipe Mora led the way for the Timbers, who staged a second half comeback and tied things up in the 77th minute.

With the game in the balance, Vancouver’s substitutions brought a new spark and Raposo secured all the points for the ‘Caps moving them up to second in the standings and sending the large home crowd happy.

The Whitecaps welcomed back Andres Cubas from international duty and with Brian White out with a concussion, it was a front three of Gauld, Damir Kreilach, and the also returning Fafa Picault leading the line.

And Vancouver got off to a flying start, opening the scoring with just 91 seconds on the clock.

Ali Ahmed played a nice ball inside to Gauld. His first shot was blocked, but the rebound came back to the Scot and he fired home his first off the season to give the ‘Caps an early lead.

A great start for Vancouver, who needed to impress at home after two poor performances in front of big crowds to start the new campaign. It was also poor defending by Portland, and there was more of that to come as the half wore on.

Gauld almost grabbed his second in the 9th minute, but his effort crashed down off the bar and was scrambled clear off the goalline as it was set to bounce in.

The ‘Caps kept the pressure on and after Gauld saw another effort blocked, the rebound came back to Pedro Vite, who fired over.

Portland were enjoying the better of the possession, but were doing absolutely nothing with it. It felt important for Vancouver to grab a second before any half time reorganisation for the Timbers, and they got it in the 29th minute with another well worked goal from a quick counter.

Alessandro Schopf, who was having one of his best games as a Whitecap, played the ball in from the right. Zachery McGraw tried a casual backheeled clearance and it fell to Picault, who curled a beauty past Max Crepeau into the far corner, and the ‘Caps led by two.

That was really it for action in the half. The Timbers had 61% possession, but aside from a long range free kick straight at Yohei Takaoka, they felt devoid of ideas and the Whitecaps were looking comfortable at the break.

Portland came out on the front foot to start the second half, taking the game to Vancouver as they tried to get back into the match.

Picault fired over from distance for the ‘Caps in the 51st minute, but a minute later the Timbers reduced the deficit to one.

Cristhian Paredes ran at the ‘Caps before playing the ball inside to a wide open Evander, who blasted the ball beautifully past Takaoka and into the top left corner from the edge of the box.

It was now game very much back on.

The Whitecaps raised their game and created a slew of chances around the midway point of the half, causing a few defensive scrambles and moving the ball around well, but all without anyone being able to get onto the end of the crosses and passes and deliver the killer finish.

Santiago Moreno had a long range effort for Portland before Andres Cubas sent a 35-yard dipper towards the Timbers’ goal that didn’t miss by much.

Those missed opportunities came back to haunt Vancouver as Portland tied things up in the 77th minute.

Evander twisted and turned away from Ali Ahmed and sent a fantastic cross into the box for Mora to time his run to perfection, running in behind Tristan Blackmon to head the equaliser past Takaoka.

The goal came with some tired Vancouver legs on the pitch, as the ‘Caps had three players waiting to come on. Their eventual introduction brought some renewed Vancouver vigour and the ‘Caps grabbed a dramatic late winner.

With two minutes of regulation time Sam Adekugbe played the ball into the near post. Crepeau couldn’t hold on to the ball under pressure from Picault and the Haitian international showed great reactions to nip in and chip it goalwards, with Raposo rushing in to fire home what proved to be the winner.

Fantastic fighting spirit from Vancouver and on the overall balance of play, they were probably just about worthy of the win. It was another Jekyll and Hyde performance, however. Strong in the first half but too complacent and lacking for much of the second, throwing away what should have been a comfortable two-goal lead and letting Portland right back into the match.

If they can work on these second half performances, an exciting season certainly awaits. The win moves Vancouver up to second in the West, two points off the top spot with a game in hand. Next up is a Canadian derby against a stuttering Toronto side. Getting these early points on the board could prove massive for Vancouver. Now they need to keep this run going.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 – 2 Portland Timbers

ATT: 24,693

2’ – VAN – Ryan Gauld
29’ – VAN – Fafá Picault
52’ – POR – Evander (Cristhian Paredes)
78’ – POR – Felipe Mora (Evander)
87’ – VAN – Ryan Raposo (Fafá Picault)

Possession: VAN 43% – POR 57%
Shots: VAN 13 – POR 11
Shots on Goal: VAN 6 – POR 4
Saves: VAN 2 – POR 3
Fouls: VAN 13 – POR 6
Offsides: VAN 3 – POR 1
Corners: VAN 1 – POR 0

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Mathías Laborda (Bjørn Inge Utvik 71’), Ranko Veselinović, Tristan Blackmon; Alessandro Schöpf (Ryan Raposo 81’), Andrés Cubas, Pedro Vite (Sebastian Berhalter 81’), Ali Ahmed (Sam Adekugbe 80’); Fafà Picault, Damir Kreilach (Levonte Johnson 64’), Ryan Gauld [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Belal Halbouni, Ralph Priso, Javain Brown]

PORTLAND: Maxime Crépeau; Juan Mosquera, Zac McGraw (Dario Zuparic 45’), Kamal Miller, Eric Miller (Nathan Fogaça 94’); Cristhian Paredes (Eryk Williamson 64’), Diego Chara; Santiago Moreno (Dairon Asprilla 83’), 10.Evander, Antony (Felipe Mora 64’); 14.Jonathan Rodríguez [Substitutes not used: James Pantemis, Miguel Araujo, David Ayala]




On his team’s first half performance:

“The first half, guys, was like, I don’t know. If it was a city, it would be Florence. If it was a person, it would be my wife.  If it was an idea, it would be socialism. That was how beautiful the first half was, so I’m really happy.”

On what the last-gasp winner means for the team:

“It meant a lot. More so for our next opponents, because if we played fantastic but didn’t win, then we would be like ‘we played fantastic, but what do we have to do to win a game at home’. So the goal, I think, it gives us that, as you said, the boost of being even more conscious of what we can achieve, being even more hard on ourselves for us to be better. Again, I think today we’ve been fantastic for 75 minutes, but the first 15 minutes of the second half, they weren’t good so we need to be better in those first 15 minutes of the second half. I also think this goal, aside from giving us three points for the Cascadia Cup that our fans were sporting in the stands and that we want to keep here this year too, it gives us awareness of the fact that, if you do things properly, the points are going to come.”


On adjusting to the team after coming in this season:

“It’s been great, the locker room is great, we have an amazing group of guys. I think it was important for me to just come in and find a rhythm right away. Generally it takes me a bit of time to get on the score sheet, either five or six games when you switch teams, maybe even eight or nine, but I wanted to come here and make an immediate impact and I think this group is special and we can do a lot of great things this year.”

On tonight’s atmosphere and scoring his first goal at home:

“It was great to get my first goal at BC Place, it was an awesome feeling, in front of the home fans. And it was even better to get a win against Portland. We know what it means to our fans but also to our locker room and, it was just a big moment also because of where it puts us in the standings at the moment. It was kind of a crunch goal [at the end], but we’re very, very optimistic about what we can continue to do now.”


On starting his first match of the season:

“It felt really refreshing to be out there from minute one with the guys. Luckily, usually the kickoff was like 7:40 or 7:37, so I thought I would have to play like three minutes [before breaking fast] first. But it was like 7:41 7:42 today so I was able to get some water, some sugar in me, and I think first 15 minutes that sugar came in handy and I was very energetic. And thankfully we went up 2-0 within I think the first 20 minutes. But it felt nice to be out there with the guys to get my first start, and now just kind of build on that. I think I started to get fatigued around 65-70. Vanni asked me if I’m okay to go. A little pride of me said yeah, I’m good to go, but 90 per cent of me was ready to say get me out of here.”

On the first goal:

“I got one-v-one, which I was happy to see the space I had. I had my head up a little bit to see my options and go to Ryan [Gauld]. He’s aware of space and everything, so seeing the tight space obviously, the ability he has in tight spaces, I trusted him and just fired the pass into him. I play with Gauldy a bit on the left side, so we have that connection a bit. So I just fired a pass into the tight little space he had open and he did the rest. I told him you can’t finish it one time though, you had to take two. But happy to get the ball in.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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