Late, late error robs Whitecaps of Canadian Championship

July 1, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps 2016, Whitecaps Season 2016 | 1 Comment
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I had the feeling it was going to be a good match at BC Place on Wednesday night.  The Whitecaps were down 1-0 from the first leg in Toronto and needed to score goals.  My feeling was not wrong as we were treated to a thrilling match.

Coach Carl Robinson chose David Ousted in goal over Paulo Tornaghi, which turned out to be a fateful choice on the night.  Robinson started with a solid defensive line up with Parker, Waston, Jacobson and Harvey at the back with Laba and Teibert protecting them.  Pedro Morales returned to his number 10 role,  flanked by Manneh and Bolanos with Eric Hurtado up front.

Toronto FC had their Italian sensation Giovinco on the pitch so Robbo’s plan was to have the tireless Teibert working on containing him, which he did admirably.  Waston, who drew a yellow card when he bundled the diminutive Italian over, helped Teibert in the task.

Just before the half Hurtado fought through the middle of the TFC defence with Laba to create a shot for Laba.  TFC ‘s young Goalkeeper Bono made a fine save to keep the score level at halftime.

Despite their first half efforts, the Whitecaps had drawn a blank. Robinson took Teibert off for Mezquida, who took over the number ten role from Morales, who was shuffled back next to Laba. Robinson looked like a genius when Mezquida cushion-headed a high cross into the box from Harvey high into TFC’s net just after the start of the second half.  The Whitecaps celebrated and it was game on.

Twenty minutes later Laba returned a clearance from TFC’s penalty area back into the box where Parker took the ball on his chest and stroked the ball home beautifully.  It was fantastic technique from the American, and the Whitecaps were on their bike to the Canadian Championship, or so it seemed.

Alphonso Davies, who has been the revelation of this tournament for the Whitecaps, (and Canada?), was brought on for Manneh in the 67th minute.  He again showed great promise.  He had a few chances to score but could not convert.  Of all of the players we have seen come up from the Whitecaps development system, Davies is by far the most exciting and promising.

Whitecaps substitute Blas Perez rung one off the post late on and the Whitecaps were looking good on the counter attack for a third goal while TFC pressed for a tying goal which would see them champions with an away goal.

We were all on our feet chanting and singing for the coming victory when disaster struck.  Very late into the four minutes of injury time TFC had a throw in their own end.  The Whitecaps committed three men forward to try to keep it in TFC’s end, but the ball eventually squirted out to unmarked TFC sub Endow who had all of the time in the world to chip a last “Hail Mary” into the Whitecaps penalty area.  The ball drifted towards Waston and Jacobsen, with no TFC player really close enough to challenge them for the ball.

Incredibly, Ousted charged out of his net, clattered into Waston’s back and fumbled the ball directly to Canadian Wil Johnson, who fired a perfect volley into the roof of our net to make TFC Canadian Champions.  The whole of BC Place was silenced but for a pocket of twenty or so TFC fans.

To Ousted’s credit, he took full responsibility for his mistake after the match.  Had he stayed in his goal let his defenders do their job, we were Canadian champions and off to play in the CONCACAF Champions League next season.

It is hard to fault the big Dane because he played so well for the rest of the game.  He kept us in it with a stunning save earlier in the match, but his late, late, lapse in judgement was the deciding factor in the loss.

While it hurts to lose, it has to be recognized that this was a great football match for those who decided to attend (approximately 10,000 people were actually there).  In the short history of the Canadian Championship this was its most dramatic match.   For a low profile tournament, the Canadian Championship has proven to be great value for those who care to watch.

Word came out later that Johnson, who decided the tournament with his brilliant volley, had broken his leg on the play.  Johnson had broken his leg early last season, and now this.  It was a sad postscript to the match.  We can only wish Johnson, who has been great servant to Canada’s national team, a speedy recovery.


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  1. I would have thought that Ousted would yell for that ball. If he did, then Waston should have let him have it. If he didn’t, then he should have stayed on his line. But it was an excellent match, which we contrived to lose. But that’s the game of soccer for you!

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