Report and Reaction: Whitecaps vanquished by Vela and LAFC

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps vanquished by Vela and LAFC

Vancouver Whitecaps were unable to extend their 11 game unbeaten streak at home, dropping a 2-0 result to expansion side LAFC.

Goals by the visitors top two players Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi led the visitors to snag all three points from an uninspired Vancouver side, neutered by the late injury to Kei Kamara at training yesterday.

It wasn’t a classic first half and the most dangerous chance from either side came just before half time when Walker Zimmerman directed a Benny Feilhaber free kick off the bar with a strong header.

Stefan Marinovic had to come up with a decent stop when he redirected a shot from outside the box by Canadian international Mark Anthony-Kaye over the bar.

LAFC continued to look dangerous in the later stages of the opening half with Vela just missing on a cross from Steven Beitashour.

In the opening five minutes after the break, Vancouver showed a little more urgency going forward but were unable to get ball on target for any quality chances.

The pressure from the ‘Caps didn’t last and LAFC were able to take advantage just before the hour when Vela was given acres of space at the edge of the box and curled a fantastic shot in at the far post to give the MLS rookies a lead.

Ten minutes later the ‘Caps defending sunk to the level of their attacking, as after a number of Benny Hill type errors, Diego Rossi was able to easily slot the ball past Marinovic.

The ‘Caps started to look dangerous in the closing minutes, as Nicloas Mezquida forced Tyler Miller to make a stop in injury time, but in the end it was far too little too late as the keeper secured his second cleansheet of the season.

While the home unbeaten streak ended, another troubling one has begun as Vancouver is now currently on a 200 minute goalless period at home, last scoring against Montreal in the 70th minute of the opener.

The Whitecaps will now travel to Middle America to take on Sporting Kansas City next Friday before returning the following Friday to host RSL.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 2 Los Angeles FC

ATT: 22,120

VANCOUVER: Stefan Marinovic; Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Jose Aja, Marcel de Jong (Brek Shea 70); Russell Teibert (Yordy Reyna 65), Efrain Juarez, Cristian Techera, Felipe Martins, Alphonso Davies; Erik Hurtado (Nicolas Mezquida 79) [Subs Not Used: Brian Rowe, Aaron Maund, Aly Ghazal, Bernie Ibini]

LOS ANGELES: Tyler Miller; Dejan Jakovic, Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman; Steven Beitashour, Benny Feilhaber, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jordan Harvey (Eduard Atuesta 86); Diego Rossi (Latif Blessing 75), Marco Urena (Omar Gaber 81), Carlos Vela [Subs Not Used: Charlie Lyon, Tristan Blackmon, Aaron Kovar, Rodrigo Pacheco]




On if he’s frustrated:

“Disappointed. I won’t fault the effort of the players. I thought the work rate was there. We weren’t good enough on the day, and that’s my fault, that’s my responsibility. I maybe got the team wrong. We dealt with a couple of injury blows yesterday, and it seemed to affect us. But at times during the season, we’re going to have to ask players to step up. Today we did, but we were beaten by a better team. So you have to accept that.”

On how much the team missed Kei Kamara:

“Well I could say it didn’t affect it, but clearly I’d be lying or not telling the truth. I think the way we play or the formation we play when Kei is in, and what he does off the field to bring the group together is important. I think we huffed and puffed, as you say, up front. We had Anthony [Blondell] missing as well with a concussion, and it was a thankless task for Erik [Hurtado]. They adjusted their formation, and credit to them, because they got their tactics spot on. But we weren’t sort of in the game, and there was not much in the game, to be honest, until a bit of magic by the boy – we’ve seen him do it before. But we’ve got to be better of showing him on his right foot. And he might still do it on his right foot, but he’s a strong left-footed player and he puts it in the top corner there. Then we had the uphill battle, and they kept going, we just weren’t good enough.”

On not creating enough chances:

“It’s not ideal, but we’re going to go through periods this year where you don’t create a number of chances, and we’ve had them in two consecutive games. We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and try and do it again. Whether it’s trying a different formation, whether it’s a tweak in personnel.”

On missing two striker options with Kamara and Blondell out:

“Yeah, and Yordy [Reyna] is not fully fit. I toyed with the idea of playing Yordy up top as a false nine – false nines are always talked about – and playing three at the back, and five in midfield with two up top. But we didn’t. Yordy probably couldn’t have lasted 90 minutes. It was important he got 30 minutes. He looked sharp when he’d come on. We could have played Yordy and Nico up top. Playing Erik and Brek Shea toward the end was the option we had, so we’ll have to assess that.”

On Kamara’s injury:

“He had an MRI today, so I haven’t got the results yet… I think he’ll be period of time.”

On whether he’ll look at bringing in another striker:

“We’re always looking to bring in players. We try to strengthen our team as often as we can. I’m not going to bring players in for the sake of it. They have to be better than what we have… But we’ll have to look at that depending on how bad Kei’s injury is, which I’ll probably know a little bit more about next week.”


Thoughts on the match:

“It’s disappointing. The locker room is disappointed, we’re all disappointed. I think that word sums it up. This is a game that you really want to completely forget about. I think the only thing you want to take forward is that it’s a 2-0 loss, and that just give you more motivation to go to KC and get points.”

On playing without Kei Kamara:

“I think Kei plays a big role in the team, but he’s not going to be the difference between us winning games and losing games. I think it’s a collective effort, and you know it’s not one player that you can say didn’t step up. It’s a team, and I don’t think the whole team played well today. And when you have a team that doesn’t play well, you’re not going to win games. That’s the simple matter. They scored more goals than us, they had more quality than us. They had more possession than us. They were better than us.”

On if the game plan was to let them possess and counter attack:

“No. We wanted to play more possession and soccer today, and we tried. But they had more quality than we did today. And that’s all you can say. Sometimes you’ve got to put your hand up and say they were better, and really today they were better than us.”


On learning from the match:

“We didn’t play well, we didn’t perform well. They were better than us tonight, but this was a learning point. We have a young group, we’re going to grow a lot, and we’re going to get better. We’re going to go to Kansas City and get three points.”

On Kei Kamara’s absence due to injury:

“Kei is a leader. He holds the ball well for us. Eric [Hurtado] is a great player. It wasn’t one guy’s fault. I think as a group we need to take more responsibility and get more personality on the field. We need to win when we’re at home. It needs to be the best place to be. We need to enjoy it as well as our fans.”

On areas of improvement:

“We all have to play better, everyone. We need to create more chances for the one guy at the top, get a better cross, get better passing to the midfield, and get the ball on the feet of the wide guys. It’s everyone, the 30 guys on the roster. We are together, and we’re going to stick together. We’re going to get back to training on Monday, and we’re going to get to Kansas City and get the three points.”

On confidence on the team:

“No, it’s two games we lost. We played well in Salt Lake, and we lost. We played bad tonight, and we lost. It’s important that no matter what, we stick together, get back to training and work harder than ever. We can’t let it become three or four losses. I’m 100 percent confident that we’re going to go to Kansas City and turn this around. Don’t create what’s not there, it’s just the beginning of the season. It’s only a month and half in. A lot of players are new. It’s a new group, guys. We need to be patient. We’re going to grow. The most important thing is how we’re going to finish, and we’re going to finish at the top. I’m confident. You guys just need to believe and trust us.”



On what the win means to the team:

“Really strong response. We talk about getting better week to week. And we talk about it from the standpoint of our football and also just having a competitive edge and knowing how to win different kind of games. Today, I think a lot goes in that second category, because Vancouver is a difficult team to play against. So I thought our competitiveness, our concentration, those things were very good today.”

On if he will stick with the same lineup:

“All year we’ve talked about building different ideas into the team, where the starting points of where we play stay the same, but you have flexibility on certain nights. We’ve done different things in training to make sure that we’ve got some of that flexibility, and I think on that end tonight that went really well.”

On Carlos Vela scoring another goal:

“Carlos is still a player who at any moment in the game can take a ball, go by people, obviously his ability when he gets closer to the goal in terms of his finishing with his left foot. And within our team, in terms of just the quality he brings every day, his personality, his professionalism, he’s been so important in the way he’s come in and embraced everybody.”


On his return to Vancouver:

“It’s been kind of strange from the moment we landed, seeing the landscape and then coming in, it was really amazing, the fans were so nice, I’m so grateful for my time here and the memories I’ve had, I really appreciate the support I got tonight.”

On the week leading to the matchup:

“It’s been great, the staff really prepared us well, and that’s what calmed the group. We felt prepared, and went into it very sound defensively. We worked as a group. For me, personally, it was a whirlwind of emotions, coming back here for my first start with the new club, wanting to make a good first impression, all those things built up, and I was just kind of able to let it out on the field and it felt really good. I had a lot of support from my teammates this week.”

On the clean sheet:

“We went back to basics. The first game we played against Seattle, it was more along the lines of this performance, getting a goal on the road and defending soundly, defending properly. We were able to do that. We know this stretch of games, we have six games on the road to begin the season, that they aren’t going to all go well. But if we play like we did tonight, it’s more than likely we’ll get some points away from home. We are always going for three points. That’s one thing I’m proud of with this club, we’re still building, it’s not an end product by any means, you see bits and pieces of it throughout the 90 minutes, but the main thing is to keep a clean sheet and we did that.”


On bouncing back:

“I think it was a big game for us. We talked about this week, and how we had to change something. We did something wrong in the past. We talked about having to defend better. We have to be a team. Up front, we have the players, we had to take chances, and we did it. It was nice.”

On the game plan:

“We know they play direct football. We worked hard to press, play easy. We played as a team. When you play on the road, you have to be a strong team, tough team. And we did it. It was a good win.”

On the LAFC attack:

“It was good. We know when we are winning and have the possession, we always have the chance to create. It’s important to us since we have quick strikers. When we have spaces and chances, we are dangerous.”

On winning the match for Jordan Harvey:

“It’s nice. We knew this guy deserved to win today. He talked with everyone, told us that this is the game we had to win. We were happy for Jordan, and [Steven] Beitashour too.”

Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

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