Wardrobe malfunction saves Whitecaps in San Jose

April 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | Leave a comment

It was looking grim for the Vancouver Whitecaps early in the second half of their match against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Whitecaps looked destined to lose their third road game in a row, being down 1-0 on an early Chris Wandolowski strike. A blunder involving a strangely sluggish Alain Rochat and Jun Marques Davidson (who seems to want to be a part of all of our opponents goals recently) led to a swift and successful counter-attack for San Jose.

Fortunately the Earthquakes have more than their share of big strong dumb guys in their squad. They handed the game back to the Whitecaps on a platter. Victor Bernardez and Alan Gordon (two of the aforementioned big strong dumb guys) decided to change their boots… At the same time! I must say this is the first time I have ever seen this happen. If these players were having problems with their boots, why not change them at half time? Or, why not do it one at a time? It was a wonderful comedy show for us Whitecaps fans, and a tragedy for San Jose fans. I think that one will go down in my Whitecaps memory bank for sure. Frank Yallop looked to blame the ref, but how do you blame the ref for your own team’s stupidity? San Jose’s wardrobe malfunction saved our game.

The Whitecaps pressed their two man advantage home, and even Andy O’Brien was seen surging deep in to San jose’s defensive third, a rare sight indeed for the man from Harrogate. Daigo Kobayashi got the ball at the top of the box, and after a little fake and a deft touch, he unleashed a vicious curling shot which deflected off of a San jose defender and got caught under Cory Herzog’s feet, quite by accident. Luckily for Hertzog his unconscious touch on the ball was a very useful one and he poked the ball passed a stunned Jon Busch into San Jose’s goal.

You could hear Frank Yallop and his bench screaming for the referee to let their two men on, but their pleas went unanswered. Bernardez and Gordon sheepishly walked back on the pitch after the Whitecaps had tied the match. More comedy!

Martin Rennie raised a few eyebrows by parking presumptive starters Gershon Koffie and Darren Mattocks on the bench, preferring Russell Teibert in midfield and Cory Herzog up front. Cory Herzog took full advantage of the opportunity, and even if his goal was a lucky one, he finished his chance and now has a goal on the history books on his debut for the club. Teibert did his chances no harm, showing he can play at this level, even if he did not produce any spectacular results.

In this match it has to be said it was the character and battling spirit of our veterans which saw us through to the draw. Joe Cannon played a superb match, giving a master class on goalkeeping. On several occasions Joe threw himself head first at the feet of onrushing San Jose players at great risk to himself. His courage was exemplary, and he showed his desire to give his all for the team and to keep that number one spot. It was inspirational to watch as a fan.

Another memory that will last was Nigel Reo-Coker’s superb bone crunching tackle on Sam Cronin. Nigel won the ball magnificently and did not draw a foul. Cronin flew through the air as though he had been shot with a high calibre rifle. It was a thing of beauty. I also appreciated Andy O’Brien’s lifting a prone Steven Lenhart off of the pitch when the San Jose player was faking an injury. These displays of tough character are the kind of gestures we Whitecaps fans love to see, and I hope this game helps to define the character and spirit of our team. San Jose is an intimidating team to play against at the best of times and our guys stood up to them.

Not for the first time the superb YP Lee saved a goal in backing up a down and out Cannon in injury time. How lucky we are to have this guy, who looked more alive and nimble than players in the game who are ten years his junior.

In terms of the game of football, the Whitecaps did not really show us much of anything. There were precious few opportunities to score for the Whitecaps. Rennie chose to leave talent on the bench and opt for solidity on the road. He gained a creditable draw by doing so, but was it fun to watch as football? No. A draw on the road is a success for the club however, as games are notoriously difficult to win on the road in Major League Soccer. Thank god this road trip is over.

Roll on RSL next Saturday!


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