Critical mistakes cost Whitecaps points in San Jose

March 12, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2017 | 1 Comment

With three games in eight days we knew this period was going to stretch the Vancouver Whitecaps squad.  San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, Tigres UNAL on Tuesday and Toronto FC the following Saturday.   The San Jose match looked like the easiest of the three even if it was on the road.

Coach Carl Robinson started a mix of second stringers and first stringers.  Ousted started in Goal with a back line of Nerwinski, Dean, Waston, and Harvey.  Robbo started a five man midfield consisting of McKendry, Teibert, Manneh,  Mezquida,  and Techera. Hurtado got the call as lone striker.

Things started exceedingly well when a hustling Hurtado chased a high bouncing ball headed into San Jose’s box by Techera which was met with some poor and hesitant defending.  Hurtado nipped between two defenders and an out of position David Bingham in San Jose’s goal and volleyed the ball into the net off of the upright.  It was not pretty, but Hurtado got an “A” for effort on that one. It was great to see the hard working Hurtado get some joy.

The goal got the Whitecaps tails up and they played with plenty of confidence against a San Jose team which came out flat.  Soon after the surging Hurtado made a great move to get clear of a defender Lima to the left of San Jose’s goal.  He crossed a low one into Mezquida, who took one touch to get past a couple of defenders and then cooly stroked the ball in low past Bingham with his left foot to make it 2-0 Whitecaps with not even twenty minutes on the board.  It was a superb way to start a testing week.

Not five minutes later came the critical series of errors which would unravel all that the Whitecaps had done.  San Jose sent a high ball straight to the heart of the Whitecaps defence with one San Jose striker challenging. Dean went for the ball in midfield and so did Waston, but neither got there properly to head the ball to safety.  The ball arched over to a charging Wondolowski who was in all alone on Ousted.  Ousted came out of his box and met the striker there, going down with his feet and catching the strikers foot as he went by.  It was a straight red card and we were down to ten men with more than two-thirds of the match left.

Oh, David Ousted. If only we could get the keeper to stop these game changing errors which caused us so much damage in 2016.   Ousted should have stayed in his box and tried to make Wondo go wide in the hopes he would miss the net.  The striker probably wouldn’t have missed but at least we would have had eleven men on the pitch.  In came the comparatively skinny Paulo Tornaghi.  And, very strangely, it was Nico Mezquida, one of our hardest working players, who came off for him.

I am not sure what Robbo was thinking bringing Mezquida off and not MLS debutant McKendry, who struggled for the rest of the night.  McKendry had trouble with the pace of the match and was seen slipping and falling on the surface a number of times.

Backup keeper Tornaghi started very well, making some excellent saves which gave hope that the Whitecaps might be able to survive.   In the 32nd minute Tornaghi was exposed, however,  when he came out weakly on a corner kick and failed to clear his area with a poorly executed punch.  The ball fell in the box to the giant Honduran Bernardez who crossed in for Wondolowski to score another of his many goals verses the Whitecaps.  The house of cards had begun to fall.

It is a lot to ask for a team to play one man down for 70 minutes.  The Whitecaps had very little possession of the ball, and the 2017 version of the Earthquakes has some very potent attacking weapons including Godoy, Hyka, and Lima in addition to Wondolowski.  An unmarked Lima scored in the 52nd minutes after Wondolowski knocked a deep cross back to him for an easy finish.  Manneh was close behind Lima but forgot to defend on the play.

Robbo threw Bolanos and Montero on for Manneh and Hurtado in the 61st minute and briefly it looked as though we might actually be able to possess the ball for some periods. The Whitecaps did look better than they had with the changes.

Godoy scored a screamer in the 80th that I fancy Ousted would have stopped.  Unfortunately Tornaghi, whom I rate as the worst backup keeper in the entire MLS, flapped at what was, admitted, a very hard shot to stop.

It was a deflating end to a match that had started with such great promise.  There is no doubt it would have been a hard match even though we were up at 2-0, but Ousted’s red card sealed our fate.

While Ousted will be able to play against Tigres UNAL on Tuesday, we face the prospect of starting a weak goalkeeper going up against TFC and the likes of Altidore and Bradly next Saturday while Ousted serves a ban.  Lets hope Giovinco misses that one through the injury he sustained against Philadelphia.

And the week had started so well…






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