Whitecaps Take 3 points Against Canadian Rivals

by Michael Martinez

After suffering a disappointing loss to the Rapids the week before, the Whitecaps turned it around against Montreal! It was a tough match to watch, but thanks to a second half surge, the boys scored two goals to earn 3 more points. With the win, this puts the Whitecaps in the top 4 in the table (2W-1L-1D).

Lineups: 

Whitecaps: 4-4-2

CF Montreal: 3-4-1-2?? I will be honest, I could not tell.

Match Stats:

Scoring Summary

57’ – VAN – Cristian Dájome (penalty kick)

71 – VAN – Cristian Dájome (assisted by Déiber Caicedo)

Statistics

Possession: VAN 39.9% – MTL 60.1%

Shots: VAN 10 – MTL 16

Shots on Goal: VAN 4 – MTL 4

Saves: VAN 4 – MTL 2

Fouls: VAN 13 – MTL 14

Offsides: VAN 3 – MTL 0

Corners: VAN 6 – MTL 3

Cautions

24’ – MTL – Djordje Mihailovic (Yellow)

32’ – VAN – Déiber Caicedo (Yellow)

38’ – VAN – Ranko Veselinović (Yellow)

45’ – VAN – Lucas Cavallini (Yellow)

82’ – VAN – Leonard Owusu (Yellow)

Match Review:

The Whitecaps come up big against both Canadian rivals! This is something you do not get to see every year. I know I always seem to rag on the Whitecaps, and I will in this article, don’t you worry, but this is something to celebrate. Last year it took us 6 matches to get us 7 points but this year? This year it only took 4. It’s an interesting stat to compare to. You can tell the team is playing better and it’s starting to show. 

Time to get into it…

Now it may not have been pretty, the Whitecaps got the job done and came out with all 3 points. With the regular season being as long as it is, picking up points early can be extremely valuable in the long run. With that in mind, the MDS and the Whitecaps will need to head back to the drawing board tactically after this game, they fully know how important their strong start will be going forward.

 

“It wasn’t a perfect game,” Whitecaps head coach, Marc Dos Santos, said after the match. “Far from that. But it was a game where guys fought, kept good energy, kept a good mentality and a great answer after our game against Colorado where we felt we could have got points from it.”

The match itself did not get too exciting until the second half. It felt fairly even at times, but yet also favoring Montreal a bit more. They had the bulk of the position and the most chances in the first half. The best of which came from a poor Nerwinski giveaway in our own half setting up a 2v1 with Quioto and Johnson against Crepeau. Thanks to a great save from our Canadian keeper, we kept it 0-0 after 30 minutes. 

Right after the break, Montréal kept the pressure coming and kept the Whitecaps on their heels. Although, Montréal really only threatened the Whitecaps with a couple of low crosses into the box. Then the 55th minute came. Dájome and Cavallini played a nice little one-two on the break, resulting in Dájome being taken down in the box , giving themselves the chance to take the lead from the spot.

Dájome stepped up and cooly converted his second spot kick of the season to give the Whitecaps the 1-0 lead. His second penalty of the season and third goal in total.

After a few desperate Montreal attempts, and some great Crepeau saves, we fast forward to the 71st minute. There is plenty of Colombian flair for this next goal. Deiber steps up for a corner kick and it meets the head of none other than Dájome, who heads home his second of the night. He now leads the team in scoring this season with 3 total.

With a 2 goal-lead in their pocket, the Whitecaps did what they had to do in order to conserve all 3 points from there. It is usually around this time where we see the Whitecaps lose control of the match… At least that has been the case so far this season. 

There were a few close calls at both ends, as Crepeau made a big save off of another defensive scramble in the 76th minute, before Lucas Cavallini came ever so close in the 82nd minute, but the score stayed as it was right to the sweet end of the match. 

Aside from a late 90th minute goal from Montreal’s Lappalainen that would be later overturned by VAR due to a handball in the build-up, that allowed the boys to cruise to victory. I can say we got very lucky with this VAR call. It was fair, but still very lucky Let me tell you, I was very much relieved to hear that final whistle.

Post Match Thoughts:

There are things to clean up going forward into the season. That much is for damn sure. But, for the Whitecaps to pick up 7 out of 12 points to start the season can’t be considered anything other than solid. It took the team 6 matches to get to this point last season, but now we have to build on that. 

I have my concerns about some players though. My big ones are Jake Nerwinski and Russel Teibert. I just need to know why they keep getting starts? Neither have lit up the pitch whenever they are on. 

Nerwinski specifically seems to be playing himself out of the starting lineup. Last season I praised him, now I have nothing positive to say about his play. This phrase will be used a lot, but going forward, Bruno NEEDS to start. He is an established player coming from a strong league, there is no reason for him not to start at this point. 

Then there is Teibert. Yes he is playing out of position, kind of. But that does not excuse his poor play. Guti has been doing more work down that left hand side, and he is supposed to be further back than Teibert… WHAT. I get it, he has put in the time, like Nerwinski, but his time as a starter has to be coming to a close. I just do not see the benefit of playing him. 

We are finally starting to get a feel for how the team is set up to play this season. While it’s still similar to last year, it feels a bit more dynamic. But it does not take away from the fact that there are still no goals from open play. This very is concerning for Vancouver, especially seeing the chances that they’ve wasted in front of goal. The pieces are slowly starting to fall into place for MDS and the boys, but will it be enough going forward? 

Up next for the Whitecaps is a midweek trip to the Midwest for a matchup with Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field. Catch the match on Wednesday, May 12 live on TSN1/4, and ESPN+. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. PT.

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