Whitecaps Handed Back to Back Losses

by Michael Martinez

Well this one sure was not the best match on tv that is for sure. Despite a busy week, the Whitecaps (2W-3L-1D) end it with two losses against Minnesota on Wednesday, and then Sporting KC (3W-2L-1D) yesterday. The one we’re going to cover today is the disappointing one… the shocking 0-3 lose to Sporting KC. 

Lineups: 

Whitecaps: 4-4-2

Sporting Kansas City: 4-3-3

Match Stats:

Scoring Summary

28’ – SKC – Dániel Sallói

32’ – SKC – Alan Pulido (PK)

58’ – SKC – Alan Pulido (assisted Gadi Kinda)

Statistics

Possession: SKC 67% – VAN 33%

Shots: SKC 27 – VAN 9

Shots on Goal: SKC 7 – VAN 2

Saves: SKC 2 – VAN 4

Fouls: SKC 13 – VAN 19

Offsides: SKC 1 – VAN 2

Corners: SKC 8 – VAN 2

Cautions

9’ – SKC – Ilie Sánchez (Yellow)

36’ – SKC – Gadi Kinda (Yellow)

53’ – VAN – Derek Cornelius (Yellow)

72’ – SKC – Roger Espinoza (Yellow)

 

Match Review: 

It was a busy week for the Whitecaps as the boys took on 3 matches in 9 days. Which sounds a bit busy, even for me! You would think that MDS would implement a bit of rotation to ensure the boys don’t get fatigued? Well I can assure you, that really was not the case. 

Unfortunately, it was a familiar sight for Whitecaps fans on Sunday. The boys faced off against a Sporting KC side that they’d failed to beat in their last 6 matches. We all knew that the Vancouver Whitecaps were always going to be tough to beat their Western Conference foes, especially away from home. That quickly became evident on the pitch Sunday, as SKC thoroughly outclassed the Whitecaps in a 3-0 victory, easily handing us our 3rd loss of the season, extending their winless streak against KC to 7 matches.

“I think overall, we played a team that was better than us tonight, and they’re the team that deserved the 3 points,” Dos Santos said. “Now, we have to react and get out of this game, learn from this game, and not throw away everything we did until this game, and try to see what we could do now to get the next step in games like that.”

After the Whitecaps defense being caught on their heels, Sporting would find the opening goal in the 28th minute through winger, Daniel Salloi, who pounced on a loose ball caused by a deflection in the area to give SKC the 1-0 lead.

Not even four minutes later, SKC would get a chance to double their lead thanks to a foolish challenge from Ryan Raposo on Salloi in the box. Then an Alan Pulido penalty kick would give SKC the goal, meaning the Whitecaps would go into the halftime down by two and morale low. Raposo would soon make way for Baldisimo after this. A first half sub… 

The Whitecaps changed to a 4-3-3 with Baldi on the pitch. And if you ask me, this was the best they’ve looked all match and the last half of the previous.

I’ve got to give them some credit, they found some life early in the second half, as Lucas Cavallini did well to force a 50th-minute turnover. This  allowed Cristian Dajome to have a 1v1 against Meila. Naturally he would be unable to take advantage of that, though, sending the ball well over despite being so close to goal. This would be the Whitecaps best chance up to this point. 

After a close Salloi chance and a Pulido miss, Pulido would make up for his mistake and get his second of the match and Sporting’s third 13 minutes after the break with a neat finish at the top of the box. Beating Maxime Crépeau to his near post.

 

Post Match Thoughts:

For the Whitecaps, it was a very tough but fair result. Although they could have certainly made the game a lot closer than it ended up being, they were by far the second-best for most of the night, and the scoreline reflected that.

“We need to find a way to start scoring from open play,” Veselinovic said after the game. “Last game, we had a lot of chances to score a goal, today, we didn’t have so many chances. That’s a problem we need to work on.” 

Vesel is not wrong either, the offense really is not doing the defense any favors here. Look at this chart courtesy of twitter user @wilkins_caleb24: 

And if anything, when we look at the Expected Goals (xG) plot from the game, this chart paints a very good picture of how poor the ‘Caps were overall during this game. From a slow start, to a bad second half, SKC were the aggressors for most of this game, and they were well rewarded for their efforts, with the goals painting a pretty accurate picture of this game, for once.

After a solid road performance earlier in the week, it was unfortunate we could not replicate that same form for today. KC were just too good on the night.

If there are any positives to take from this match it would be the change in formation mid match with the addition of Baldisimo. MDS changed it up to a 4-3-3 with Dajome and Caicedo playing on the wings. The team looked a bit more promising which is always exciting to see. But the change came way too late. 

I can only hope MDS goes with this formation as opposed to his standard 4-4-2. I thought the team looks much more dynamic but that is just me. If he wants to try it, I think this would be an ideal lineup until we get our #10:

We also saw the season debuts of Theo Bair (finally), Godoy, and rookie defender Javain Brown. While none of them really lit up the pitch, it was still exciting to see some fresh faces, especially Godoy and Theo. Admittedly, I am not the biggest Theo fan, but he does bring a certain tenacity when he comes on the pitch. 

With Godoy healthy, we can only hope he will be starting soon in place of Cornelius. He wasn’t really at fault for any of the goals per say. except for maybe the first goal where he was just too slow to react. Maybe that was more indicative of the fact that it was just a poor match from the defense as a unit? From my perspective, they were missing a true defensive leader. That is why I think Godoy should be in for Cornelius. 

Overall, it was just a poor night for the Whitecaps. No real easy way to put it unfortunately. Now it is time to focus on the next task at hand, the Houston Dynamo. MDS and the boys have a week to reflect on this match and what they want for the next. We all know what the Dynamo are capable of, so the Whitecaps will need to bring their A game. 

The Whitecaps play their last match before heading to a much needed four-week break when they visit Houston Dynamo FC on Saturday, May 22 at BBVA Stadium. Catch the game live on TSN and ESPN+. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. PT.

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