Seba steps up: Whitecaps 2 Dallas FC 0

October 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Whitecaps season 2014 | Leave a comment
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Before Saturday’s match with Dallas FC, Sebastian Fernandez was one of a number of young Vancouver Whitecaps players who had shown the ability to score early on in the season, but looked like he might never score again as the season continued.

Magnificent Mauro assisted both goals

Magnificent Mauro assisted both goals

Fernandez had scored three goals this season prior to this match, three lovely long range efforts, but in Saturday’s match he scored two close range goals well inside the penalty area. Both goals were laid on to Fernandez magnificently by Mauro Rosales, who looks to be a very shrewd signing indeed by the Whitecaps. It was the perfect combination of experience and youth on both goals.

Dallas FC presented as their usual team of large, fast and physical players in this match. Their big, bruising Panamanian striker Blas Perez was the focus of Dallas FC. Perez had done some terrible damage to the Whitecaps when they last visited Dallas, scoring twice in their 2-1 win.

Its in! Fernandez' header finds the target

Its in! Fernandez’ header finds the target

Whitecaps coach Robinson started Ousted in goal, Harvey, O’Brien, Waston and Beitashour on the back line, Laba and Teibert in defensive midfield, Morales, Rosales and Fernandez in attacking midfield and Hurtado as lone striker up front.

The Whitecaps started the match looking a bit dead, and conceded a lot of early possession to a comfortable looking Dallas FC. Perez squandered a free header at the far post early on in the match, completely ignored by Jordan Harvey. It could have been disaster early on for the Whitecaps, but luckily they survived.

14 minutes in and Pedro Morales switched the ball across to the right side of the pitch from deep in the left. He found Mauro Rosales with one of his laser beam passes, and Rosales laid the ball back to Beitashour, who found Teibert moving forward. Teibert rolled the ball to Hurtado who found Rosales on the right wing. Rosales hit the ball first-time with a wonderfully accurate curling cross which, incredibly, allowed the little Seba Fernandez to out-jump his marker at the far post and head the ball into the near top corner from eight yards out. It was an absolute beauty and a goal which involved lots of quality passing between multiple Whitecaps players.

Fernandez again!

Fernandez again!

Seba was at it again just four minutes later when the Whitecaps found themselves on a lightning counter attack with Rosales leading the charge. Morales, in an encouraging sign, forced a Dallas defender to turn over the ball with some tenacious tackling, allowing Rosales to run at a retreating and depleted Dallas defence. Rosales spotted a streaking Fernandez on his own on the left side and gave him a perfectly weighted cushion pass which Fernandez hit home with his left foot after taking a touch of the ball.

The Whitecaps got lucky when, in the 32nd minute, Perez scored a perfectly good goal which was improperly called back for offside. A few minutes later only a last ditch tackle from Mathias Laba saved the Whitecaps from conceding a goal. Having survived these threats, the Whitecaps went into the dressing room at half-time with a 2-0 lead which they would not relinquish.

In the Second half of the match Whitecaps Coach Robinson gave his team orders to try to hold on to as much possession of the ball as possible, an invitation which Morales and co took with enthusiasm, knocking the ball about in midfield, keeping it away from Dallas. The possession statistics showed both teams had equal possession of the ball, which is another good sign for the Whitecaps, who have tended to give the lion’s share of the ball to other teams this season.

It was as though the Whitecaps were giving a clinic in how to kill a game, as late on sub Kekuta Manneh took the ball to the corner to kill the game rather than risking a Dallas counter attack by going for goal. It was not pretty to watch, but the Vancouver faithful didn’t mind, sending out a huge cheer when the final whistle blew. It was a clean sheet, and it has to be said that David Ousted and the defensive crew were very good, even if they got away with some defensive lapses which could have proved disastrous.

Our pink goalkeeper played great

Our pink goalkeeper played great

With Rosales, Morales, and Fernandez looking like they are enjoying one another’s company in the Whitecaps attacking midfield, I feel the Whitecaps are well situated to pip the Portland Timbers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer.

Later on in the evening, however, the Portland Timbers managed to fluke their way past the sad San Jose Earthquakes to keep pace with the Whitecaps, being only one point behind. The Timbers again play the Earthquakes on Wednesday night, this time at home. If they win, it would put them up two points on us, with the Whitecaps facing the daunting task of playing a rampant Seattle Sounders on Friday night. It promises to be a tense week!

It looks like the contest to determine the final playoff spot in the Western conference will go right down to the last match.

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