MLS is back. I’m sure there’s a lot of people in Vancouver today that wish it wasn’t.
For the second season running, a Western Conference rival headed into BC Place and came away with the First Kick victory. The stadium hasn’t so much been a fortress for the Whitecaps in recent seasons as a place where opponents can come and lay siege and leave relatively unscathed.
We were told things would be different this year. It may very well be. But this first showing was not one to instil a great deal of confidence in that.
Sporting KC headed into the match on the back of a poor preseason that culminated in four straight defeats. You’d never have known that as you watched them put in a comfortable performance that saw them bossing the midfield and clinical in front of goal when they needed to be.
KC had four shots on target and put three of them away courtesy of new DP Alan Pulido, a wonder strike from another new addition, Gadi Kinda, and a late securer from former Whitecap Erik Hurtado.
Vancouver managed a first half goal from Jake Nerwinski from close range, after some excellent work from David Milinkovic, but they offered very little real offensive threat, with new Six Million Dollar man Lucas Cavallini hitting the post in the first half and unable to tie things up late when played through.
Overall a very disappointing night at the office. There are still quite a few missing pieces from the starting line-up and the hope has to be that things will improve considerably once they are in the fold. Until then, it feels like same old, same old.
AFTN photographers Tom (@ResidualImage) and Caroline (@FrogPhoto) were there to capture the action before, during, and after the game. Here’s their “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.
MLS is Back!
Your first Whitecaps starting XI of the 2020 season
The other guys
Sporting KC’s Peter Vermes is laughing now, but will he be laughing come the end of the game? (Spoiler – yes)
The new Village Stand supporters are ready for battle
New KC midfielder Gadi Kinda is keen to make an immediate impact
Picking up a booking three minutes into his MLS debut!
17 minutes in and Graham Zusi floats a KC free kick into the ‘Caps box, which Derek Cornelius can only head up into the air
No Whitecaps react quickly enough to the second ball and KC’s Roberto Puncec rises to win the ball, knocking it into the path of new DP Ala Pulido
And the Mexican dives to head home the opener
Giving Max Crepeau no chance in the ‘Caps goal
The joy of your first MLS goal on your debut and not the last of that ilk for the evening
KC’s lead was to last only 11 minutes as David Milinkovic showed some fantastic skill up the left wing
To send the ball across goal for Jake Nerwinski to knock in the equaliser and the ‘Caps first goal of 2020
But the parity was to last only another 11 minutes before Kinda started and finished a KC attack with a beautiful finish from the edge of the box
Another first MLS goal for a debutant
The Whitecaps almost went in at the break on level terms but Lucas Cavallini could only look on in anguish as his effort crashed off the right post
I just like the faces in this one!
There wasn’t a lot happening in the second half. KC were looking comfortable, so MDS brought on blonde bombshell Fredy Montero to try and spark another supersub performance
As in the first half, Cavallini had a chance to level things in the dying minutes as Ali Adnan plays him in on goal
But it’s anguish again as Tim Melia comes out to smother, although he may have been offside anyway
Then to rub some final salt into the wound, former Whitecaps Erik Hurtado comes on and buries a 95th minute third for SKC with a fantastic finish
And heads off listening for the cheers of the KC faithful that have made the long trip west
While for the Whitecaps, these looks say it all
You can see all of Tom and Caroline’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: