Whitecaps reserves salvage tie verses Edmonton

May 14, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson played a team composed mainly of second stringers in the opening leg of the Canadian Championship against Edmonton. It was meant to be the second leg, but due to weather the second leg will be in Edmonton next Wednesday.

Paulo Tornaghi started in goal, with a back line of Ethan Sampson, Christian Dean, Tim Parker and Sam Adekugbe. Gershon Koffie wore the captain’s armband and played alongside Deybi Flores, Kianz Froese, Nico Mezquida. Eric Hurtado and Darren Mattocks looked to score up front.

It has to be said that the Whitecaps played like a bunch of strangers playing in a pick-up game. There was no cohesion or shape to their play. Frankly, it was a real disappointment because I had hoped to see some of our team’s young talent show what they had to bring to the table. Instead virtually all of the players showed exactly why they are not in the first eleven.

It was a gong show from the start made worse by Koffie coughing up the ball in the fourth minute after receiving an ill-advised and overly casual pass from Flores. Koffee took a heavy first touch in front of the Whitecaps 18 yard box and should have laid off the ball to Parker, but decided to try to dribble himself out of trouble instead. He took another bad touch and coughed up the ball for Edmonton’s striker Ameobi who easily finished to make it 1-0 Edmonton.

Edmonton played a big physical team and soon Sam Adekugbe limped off the pitch to be replaced by Jordan Harvey. Of all of the players on this night, only Harvey gave a convincing performance.

When the first half whistle blew there were a few boos from the restless crowd that had hoped to see better.

The poor form continued in the second half and Eric Hurtado missed an absolute sitter, having found himself with a clear shot in front of goal only to put it well wide. Mattocks crashed a volley over the bar from close range as well.

Kekuta Manneh came on for the ineffective Flores in the 74th minute and injected some life and shape into the game. Robbie Earnshaw came on for Mezquida as the Whitecaps last substitution.

Both Earnshaw and Manneh helped out to turn the match around, and in the last few minutes of normal time Harvey drove a superb ball into the box in the path of charging Whitecaps Earnshaw, Hurtado and Koffie. Hurtado challenged for the ball which fell to Koffie who took one touch and then toe poked the ball into the net.

It looked like the Whitecaps had the winner coming when Earnshaw found himself alone to the right of the goal. He mistimed his strike of the bouncing ball and hit it well wide from close range. It was another embarrassing miss to join those of Hurtado and Mattocks.

When the final whistle blew the consensus was that we had seen some very poor play from the team fielded by Whitecaps’ coach Robinson. He cannot be pleased by what he saw. Save one or two of those who played for the Whitecaps, the rest were very poor. I had thought we had more squad depth than that.

All credit to Canadian football great Colin Miller, who coached his Edmonton team to a great result. He heads back to Edmonton in charge of the two-match series, and the Whitecaps will need to work hard to get out of the hole they are in.

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