Robbo gets his mojo back in victory over Dallas

August 24, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Posted in Whitecaps season 2015 | Leave a comment
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After a disastrous previous week in which the Vancouver Whitecaps had squandered a 2-0 lead in Montreal and a 3-1 lead in Kansas City it looked as though Coach Carl Robinson had lost his touch.

Last Saturday in Kansas City Robbo used all three substitutes in his forward diamond when tired legs in the defensive part of the team needed refreshing. Though he brought plenty of talent on and looked to have won the match when substitute Pedro Morales scored a beautiful free kick, a defensive collapse soon followed and the Whitecaps lost 4-3.

Robbo put the ship back on course with a thrilling 1-0 win over a strong and talented Dallas FC. Dallas led the Western Conference early on in the 2015 season but lately they have been clawed back and passed by several teams. Had they beaten the Whitecaps in this match they would be back near the top of the conference and the Whitecaps would find themselves surrounded by hostile enemies.

The big worry pre-match was that starting centre back Pa Modou Kah was signing autographs out front of BC Place rather than getting ready to play in the dressing room. He is recovering from a facial fracture and Tim Parker took his spot next to the giant Tico Kendall Waston. Parker was on the pitch for all six goals in the past two games, but made up for that with a brilliant performance on this night.

Fullbacks Beitashour and Harvey completed the back four, which was shielded by Koffee and Laba in defensive midfield. Pedro Morales started at the bottom of the diamond in the number 10 spot flanked by Manneh and Techera. Riveiro let the line as sole striker.

Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez were the big threat from Dallas, and Whitecaps old boy Atiba Harris played on the right flank. Jesse Gonclaves, a skinny kid who looked like he was 16, started in goal for Dallas.

It was refreshing to see Dallas play such an attacking game right from the start. The Toros had the best of the match early on and had us fans worried with their intricate one-touch passing plays which the Whitecaps defenders struggled to cope with. In the first ten minutes it looked like it might just be Dallas’ night. The crucial last ball never came to their strikers to shoot however, and only old boy Harris made Whitecaps keeper Ousted work in the first half with a low drive to the keeper’s right which was well saved.

The Whitecaps managed to start working with the space left in midfield by Dallas attacks. In the 31st minute Kekuta Manneh and Jordan Harvey found themselves with the ball on the left side of the pitch in the Dallas half. Manneh played the ball to Harvey from the touchline on the left side and moved towards the middle where Harvey returned it to him. Manneh charged across the pitch and looked primed to shoot the ball at the top of the 18 yard box. He put the ball still further across to the right side of goal and charged around the last defender, putting a low angled cross behind Techera. Techera deflected the ball with a back heel past a bewildered Dallas defence into their goal.

It was a spectacularly cheeky and skillful finish from the brilliant little Uruguayan who profited from some equally spectacular effort from Manneh. Manneh’s stature seems to rise with every game. It was an astonishing run from the wee Gambian which Dallas simply could not cope with.

At half time the talk in the stands was about what an attractive and skillful match we were watching. There was lots to admire in the play of both teams. Lucky for us the second half was just as absorbing as the first, even if it produced no further goals.

In the 68th minute Robbo yanked Morales and put Mauro Rosales in as the midfield number 10. Rosales settled the young Whitecaps down and helped the team keep possession of the ball. Rather than hunkering down in their own end and kicking the ball out, the Whitecaps defended their lead by denying Dallas possession of the ball. It worked a charm and the Whitecaps saw the game out with relative ease. Gershon Koffie was excellent in this regard and kept his concentration throughout the match.

Robbo replaced man of the match Techera with Nico Mezquida, and brought Christian Dean in when Harvey went down late with cramp in his leg. Both substitutions worked well and helped the Whitecaps win the match.

An injury time Dallas corner kick provided a late scare but the cross was dispatched by a strong one-handed David Ousted punch and soon afterwards the final whistle blew.

With all of the bad refereeing we see in MLS it was a refreshing change to see Referee Elfath do a great job of staying in the background and making only the necessary calls.

The win put the Whitecaps up at the top of the MLS for a moment. Given the LA Galaxy were playing the next day it was a lead not likely to last for 24 hours.

Carl Robinson may have got it wrong in the disaster in Kansas City, but he got this one right from the start. He chose the best team and then helped matters along with smart substitutions. He also helped conserve key players for this Wednesday’s Voyageurs Cup final.

Never mind the fear of losing the players we have to other clubs, will we be able to hold on to our coach Carl Robinson?

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