Looking for their first win in three matches, the Vancouver Whitecaps put on quite the offensive showing at BC Place against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes and it wasn’t even close.
During Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 victory, Vancouver always looked the more threatening team moving forward, with their pace, flair and precision passing too much for San Jose to handle.
Kekuta Manneh got the ball rolling as it was his run towards San Jose defender Clarence Goodson which helped to set Mauro Rosales up for his first goal as a member of the ‘Caps coming in only the 5th minute of play.
Next it was Kendall Waston getting in on the act, scoring his first goal of the season off of a Mauro Rosales corner. This was the first goal that the ‘Caps have scored from a corner kick this season.
To round it out, Nicolas Mezquida and Octavio Rivero played a little give-and-go, leading to Rivero winning a penalty after being brought down in the 18-yard box. Rivero buried the ball from the spot, potting his team-leading eighth goal of the season.
The ‘Caps could have scored many more goals, as they were consistently finding ways to get in behind the San Jose back-line with Gershon Koffie and Matias Laba showing their range in passing by being able to pick out Rivero over-the-top.
Yet, as Whitecaps’ manager Carl Robinson mentioned in his post-game address, there’s still plenty to improve upon.
“I actually think that we played better against Sporting Kansas City than we did today, but it’s fine lines in this game as I talk about all the time.
“We took out chances today, still probably didn’t take enough chances. We could have put the game to bed a lot earlier.
“There are a lot of good aspects in the game today. Scoring goals is one obviously, but there is a lot of aspects to improve on as well. The last-minute goal really, really annoyed me.”
In the 90th minute of play, David Ousted’s chance to collect his eighth shutout of the season was ruined as Earthquakes’ forward Quincy Amarikwa spoiled the clean sheet, pulling a goal back for the visitors.
But the damage had already been done as the likes of youngsters Manneh, Rivero and Mezquida and the veteran Rosales had made their presence known. The four of them alone combined to out-shoot their opponents nine to seven. Mezquida was especially lively with his accurate passing and flair in midfield, at one point flicking a bouncing ball forward to run onto with his heel.
“Today, you saw a team with confidence and energy,” said Robinson. “Nico Mezquida is infectious and he rubs off on everyone and you got Matias (Laba) and (Gershon) Koffie behind him and the quality of Mauro (Rosales), the pace of Kekuta (Manneh), you’re going to be dangerous.
“It’s important we keep the backdoor shut and we did for 89 minutes.”
The ‘Caps are among the best in Major League Soccer when it comes to goals against, conceding 22 goals in 22 games. Only Sporting Kansas City (20), Seattle Sounders FC (21) and the Colorado Rapids (19) have conceded fewer goals (SKC and Colorado have played fewer games than Vancouver).
Looking ahead for Vancouver, it will be imperative that they keep the backdoor shut as they will be facing off against rivals Seattle Sounders FC twice in just four days. Vancouver will travel Seattle for a league match on August 1, before coming home to play the Sounders on August 5 in their opening match of the CONCACAF Champions League.
One should expect cooler heads to prevail in a match-up set for fireworks.