Supersubs bring glory to WhitecapsAugust 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 7 Comments
Who knew it, but it turns out the Vancouver Whitecaps have two supersubs. Shea Salinas came on in the first half in the 33rd minute relieving an injured John Thorrington, who sadly limped off with yet another injury, which looks like a groin pull this time. Long Tan made his appearance in the 75th minute. Both players were instrumental in the goal that brought us our fourth victory this year: a 1-0 win over Houston.
The Whitecaps put the poor performance in Portland behind them and came out to play as a team. It is a good sign of the character of the squad that they rebounded positively to put on a solid display in front of their loyal supporters. Salinas had squandered a good chance in the first half and I was cursing him wondering if he would ever score for the Whitecaps. His prayers and ours were answered when he scored his first for the Whitecaps in the 86thminute.
The Whitecaps used the perimeter of their team to score this goal as Koffie recovered the ball in midfield in our end, gave the ball to Harvey who fed the ball to Salinas. Salinas found Long Tan who was in danger of losing the ball, but won it back. He fed Salinas with a beautiful ball that put Salinas in alone on the left side. Shea scored with a low shot to Houston keeper Tally Hall’s left. Long Tan demonstrated a marked improvement from his last game in New Englnd back in May in which he looked out of his depth.
Long Tan has been banging goals in for fun in the MLS reserves league and today he looks like he is capable of holding a spot in Major League Soccer in the future. This is good news for the Whitecaps because we are rich in goal scoring power with lots of competition for the starting spots to keep the players sharp: Hassli and Camillo have to contend with Jarju, Tan and Salgado for a starting spot.
Joe Cannon had a superb game and saved the match for us with two fantastic saves. He was magnificent in the first half when he dove to his right when the ball was deflected to his left. He saved the ball with his trailing foot. Great keepers find a way to keep the ball out of the net, even if it looks unconventional. He also stopped a point blank header towards the end of the match. Today Cannon looked like the keeper we hoped he would be. If he plays like that poor Jay Nolly will sit for the rest of the season.
We should all give Whitecaps physio Rick Celebrini some applause because our two veteran warhorses, Alain Rochat and Jay DeMerit, managed to last the whole game in the centre of our defence. Both are coming off groin injuries and were not really fit to go the whole match, but they managed to last to the end. Both players tired in the last third of the game and Houston started getting chances through the middle. Luckily the boys held on and if we can keep these two fit, our defensive troubles may be over. This match was our first clean sheet since we beat Philadelphia back in mid June.
I am starting to feel a bit wistful because there is only one more match left at Empire field. What a treat that place is, and who knows how we will replace the rolling thunder of stamping on those loose metal seats when we get to BC Place.