Whitecaps Chew Texans
Match Report: Vancouver Whitecaps v Austin Aztex (USL1)
Vancouver Whitecaps regular season is in it’s final stretch just now and with a relatively easy looking run in, it’s a case now of just what play off position the defending Champions can achieve.
On paper, last night’s match against the woefully named Texans looked a formality. Austin are sitting second bottom of the USL and the Caps are hitting fine form at the right time. It didn’t quite prove to be as easy as most were thinking though.
Austin are coached by a name that will be familiar to many UK based readers – former Everton star Adrian Heath. They’ve had a pretty woeful season, but fair play to them, they certainly made a game of it last night in front of 5,081 fans at Swangard Stadium.
Vancouver took the game to the Aztex from the start with both Tyrell Burgess and Chris Pozniak testing Austin goalie Nick Noble early on.
It was no real surprise when the caps made the early breakthrough and once again it came from Wes Knight’s fecking long throw. This time, it was met by Kenold Versailles’ head after 11 minutes and the Haitian international found the top corner. 1-0 Vancouver.
Midway through the second half and the lead was doubled and it was the very much on form Charles Gbeke that added to his ever increasing tally, combining well with Marcus Haber before hitting low past Noble.
2-0 to Vancouver and it was looking like an easy night, with Austin having a few chances but most of them sailing wide.
They unexpectedly pulled one back though after 34 minutes and it was another Haitian international, Jean Alexandre, that got himself on the scoresheet. Alexandre collected a pass from Kevin Sakuda just inside the box and fired off a shot that took the most amazing swerve, catching out Jay Nolly in the Caps goal who was heading in the other direction. Having a fantastic view of the effort, it was a cracking strike that would have deceived most keepers.
So 2-1 and game back on as they headed in for half time.
Austin sensed a way back into the game and had several close calls that left the Whitecaps fans a little jittery but with 65 minutes gone, up popped Gbeke once again to head home a Takashi Hirano cross for his second goal of the night and restore Vancouver’s two goal advantage.
The Texans just wouldn’t lie down though and they did well to pull another goal back with 14 minutes remaining and it was Alexandre again that did the damage, hitting home from just inside the box.
The Caps had chances to make things safe, with Versailles having an effort cleared off the line with eight minutes left.
Austin had a couple of chances to take a shock point but in the end Vancouver held on for the full three.
It wasn’t the easy game many expected in the end and full marks go to Austin for not letting their heads go down after falling two behind. If nothing else, it should act as a warning to Vancouver to keep it tight at the back.
Charles Gbeke had another outstanding game last night and Wes Knight and Kenold Versailles both had good games as well.
Onwards and upwards though and Minnesota away are next up for Vancouver tomorrow!
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 3 – 2 Austin Aztex