Waston wins it: Whitecaps 2 Earthquakes 0September 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Whitecaps season 2014 | Leave a comment
Tags: Kendall Waston, Pedro Morales, San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps
Two great things happened in this match: Kendall Waston fulfilled his scoring potential and Pedro Morales got his mojo back. The 2-0 win also put the Whitecaps 2 points ahead of Portland in the battle for the fifth and last Western Conference playoff spot.
The win provided us fans with some much needed relief after four games of no goals for the Whitecaps, which included a dreadful 0-3 home loss against the Portland Timbers.
Coach Carl Robinson started with a 4-4-2 formation with Hurtado and Fernandez up front, Teibert, Morales, Laba and Rosales in midfield, Harvey, Waston, O’Brien and Beitashour at the back, and David Ousted in goal.
It just seemed as though the Whitecaps decided they were fed up of losing as they came out bright and full of energy against a rather sluggish and blunt looking San Jose team. Striker Chris Wandolowski was the Earthquakes biggest threat, but due to tight defending he had only marginal chances on this night.
The one-on-one battle which decided this match was between big Kendall Waston and San Jose’s Honduran defender Victor Bernardez. Waston won the battle, and the Whitecaps consequently won the match. Robinson has ordered Waston to go forward for every free kick and corner to head in goals. Early on we got a taste of what was to come when Morales swung an early corner right on to the sweet spot of Waston’s head. Unfortunately the big Costa Rican headed a sitter over the bar.
In the 38th minute the crafty Mauro Rosales won a free kick 30 yards out to the left of San Jose’s goal. Morales curled the free kick into the box trying to hit Waston’s head again. Waston muscled past Bernardez and was primed to head the ball into the goal when Bernardez shoved him in the back, causing him to miss the ball altogether. It was a somewhat marginal penalty, but it was certainly arguable that Bernardez had taken a direct scoring chance away from Waston.
Russell Teibert retrieved the ball and handed it to Morales, who dispatched the penalty kick into the corner to Jon Busch’s right. Busch guessed right but could not get to the ball. It was the Whitecaps first goal in over 400 minutes of football, and what a relief it was when it came. After the Whitecaps got that monkey off their back they were liberated and the feeling was there were more goals coming.
The Whitecaps earned eight corner kicks in this match, which was a measure of their attacking play, and the Morales-Waston connection worked again in the 56th minute. Morales curled the ball to the near post and again Waston out-muscled Bernardez to get to the ball first. It was a diving header which went right through the legs of Cato, San Jose’s man on the near post.
For the first time in four matches we saw Morales enjoying his football again. Only a fantastic save from Busch prevented a third Whitecap goal off of a Morales shot. Late in the match Morales broke through the middle of the San Jose defence to score, but the goal was called back because the ref thought he had handled the ball. Though he had his hand up, it was by no means clear that he had controlled the ball with his arm. For us fans, the important thing was that Morales had a good match and appears to be enjoying his football again.
The fact we won the game could not hide the fact that our strikers were woefully bad in front of goal again. Both Hurtado and Fernandez missed five clear chances between them. Three of them should have been goals. We got away with relying on Waston for both goals, but our strikers will still need to wake up if our playoff dreams are to come true.