Whitecaps Continue Mastery of TimbersOctober 11, 2010 at 4:08 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2010 | 3 Comments
The Vancouver Whitecaps have once again knocked the Portland Timbers out to make it to the Semi Finals, where they will meet with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
What separated the two teams over the two game series was the first 13 minutes of the first leg in Vancouver. The Whitecaps bright, confident opening on Thursday night gave them the two goals they needed to win the quarter final.
Teitur Thordarson put the same formation out in Portland minus the injured Wes Knight, who was replaced by Ethan Gage. Gage fit well into the solid formation of four defenders, five midfielders and one striker. I think we can expect this formation and the players we have played in the last two matches to see us through the rest of the playoffs.
The effort by the Whitecaps was heroic in a two game series which was a very physical battle for every ball.
I have to say tonight’s return leg in Portland was a fantastic match, and demonstrates that a slippery grass pitch with supporters close to the sidelines is what helps produce a great football match. Though they started nervously, wasting the ball on several occasions early on, both sides really played good football tonight for a spine-tingling thriller of a match.
The Whitecaps did a stellar job of denying the Timbers an early goal and kept it scoreless until the half. Just after the half, Marcelin headed a goal to set up a tense second half in which Jay Nolly demonstrated why he is going to be in the Major League Soccer squad with some very brave goalkeeping, cutting out lots of crosses. Janicki and Belissomo must be covered in bruises from marking the physically intimidating Dike.
The Timbers and the Whitecaps are so closely matched it is hard to say what the difference is between them, but I think we had the edge in youth and fitness. I can only imagine the knocks and bruises the lads must have after such a punishing match.
I must say I feel a bit sorry for the Timbers, who have been an excellent team in the USL for ten years or so, and have come up with nothing to show for it. Their supporters deserved more, though I am certainly not complaining about the result!
In any event, we will meet again on the bigger stage next year for some more great matches.
For the time being, the dream of leaving division two football with another Championship under our belt lives on.
Bring on the Islanders of Puerto Rico!!!