Stormy Times For Thunder Defence

Vancouver Whitecaps needed a break. That’s the main thing that can be taken from last night’s game against Minnesota if the 4-0 scoreline is anything to go by.

With only one league win in their last six matches, the 16 day layoff seems to have rejuvenated the Caps and they produced a clinical and commanding victory against USL1’s bottom side, if a sluggish one at times.

Going on the game itself, it is little wonder that the Thunder are currently sitting bottom of the standings, as apart from two wasted second half chances and a dipping free kick effort which was well saved, they produced very little of note as a threat to Jay Nolly’s goal and they just can’t seem to finish what chances they do get.

With this in mind, it’s hard to perhaps read too much into Vancouver’s performance, but it was good to see the players put their Canadian Championship disappointments behind them and refocus their efforts on claiming back to back USL Championships. You could clearly see what the win meant to the Caps players, who must have been itching to get back into action.

It was the team’s first game back home after their Champions League robbery and Vancouver’s football loving public made sure it was a packed house to cheer them on. It was standing room only in the sold out 5,568 crowd, with many still queuing to get in after the game had kicked off.

The Southside was also jam packed and noisy, with many new faces amongst them. Whether it was the weather, holidays or whatever it was that brought them out, they’re more than welcome and let’s hope they return. After watching last night’s demolition, it would be hard to imagine that they wouldn’t want to.

The Whitecaps attacked from the off and Tyrell Burgess went close twice in the first three minutes. It was a great start from Vancouver and in particular the Bermudan winger who was making his first start for the Club.

It wasn’t long before the Caps got on the scoresheet. With 7 minutes gone Martin Nash played a long ball in for Lyle Martin to chase. Martin controlled the ball well, possibly with the aid of his arm, and outpaced Thunder defender Chris Clements to hit the ball low past Nicky Platter in the Minnesota goal from just inside the box. 1-0 Vancouver.

It was surprising that there was no more scoring in the half, with Charles Gbeke coming closest for the Caps on a couple of occasions, in his first game back after suspension, and Brian Cvilikas for Minnesota.

Vancouver seemed to adopt a pedestrian pace as the second half begun, knocking the ball around without going anywhere with it, and this complacency nearly let Minnesota back into the game but they squandered what chances they had.

The fans had to wait until the 71st minute for Vancouver to double their lead with Martin Nash converting a penalty down the middle, after Burgess was upended in the box.

The Thunder defence found themselves all at sea and struggling to cope with the pace of the young Whitecaps attack, but it was the old man in the side Martin Nash that made the third goal with eleven minutes left.

Nash found Marcus Haber out wide and his pace took him past the Minnesota defence with ease, allowing him time and space to deliver an inch perfect pass across goal to Gbeke who got his name on the scoresheet once again.

3-0 Vancouver but it wasn’t to end there. Just two minutes later and it was four when sub Dever Orgill played the ball into the path of Haber out right and the big striker ghosted past the Thunder defence once again, this time firing past Platter himself to get a well deserved goal.

Both teams had chances to add to the scoring in the closing minutes but it ended 4-0 and well deserved Whitecaps win that took them to 6th in the table.

It was a good win, but the team did look a little sluggish at times before they clicked into gear. Only to be expected after such a break. A few players really impressed though with Marcus Haber and Gordon Chin looking good and some nice pace shown from the subs when they came on.

The main thing though was that it was three much needed points and if we can stick together a decent run before now and the end of the season then we’ll see where that takes us.

Maybe we should have another break in a few weeks.

Authored by: Michael McColl

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