Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shorthanded Whitecaps Fall 1-0 to Philadelphia Union

The Whitecaps went into their first match on the road missing some key players and it showed in the final score as the Philadelphia Union defeated Vancouver 1-0.  The Whitecaps had four different starters as in their starting eleven as Davide Chiumiento and Jay Nolly were suffering from injuries while Jay DeMerit and Micheal Boxall were off for international duty.  In addition to those missing player, Russell Teibert was only going to play 65 minutes due to an agreement with U20 national coach.

Despite the missing players the Whitecaps started strong as they attacked the Philadelphia Union’s backline but were unable to capitalize on the pressure.  Twenty minutes into the game the second year team settled down as the Whitecaps conceded the majority of possession to the Union.  The 26th minute saw the referee give Eric Hassli a yellow card for incidental contact and it started a rash of cards as a total of five yellows were issued in the last twenty minutes of the half.  The Whitecaps outshot the Union a total of 6-2 in the first half despite not possessing the ball the majority of first 45.

The second half started with the Union getting a few more chances as Le Toux came close on a couple of opportunities.  The game turned in the 57th minute when Hassli ran through Philly defender Carlos Valdes and was issued his second yellow of the match which saw the French striker being sent off leaving the Whitecaps with 10 men.  The pitch became slanted in the Union’s favour as Philadelphia received the majority of chances and the Whitecaps were just trying to hold on.  A miss hit by a Union player allowed the ball to bounce over Whitecaps backline right to Le Toux who setup Ruiz for a tap in.  While it seemed like the goal scorer was offside twice in the sequences leading up to the goal there was no replay to prove it and the announcers didn’t mention it on the Sportsnet broadcast.  

The Whitecaps attempted to push forward after the goal but the Union tightened their backline and Vancouver couldn’t create anything of substance.  The Caps now fall to 1 win and 1 loss early in their initial MLS season and even though it was their first loss, the result isn’t as negative considering the circumstances.  The loss of DeMerit caused Alain Rochat to move inside where his ability to move up into the play on the left side was obviously hindered.  It also hurt Teibert’s ability to attack as he did not receive Rochat’s support like the week before in the home opener.  The Whitecaps also missed Davide Chiumiento’s playmaking ability on the right side as Nizar Khalfan could not service the forwards in the same manner.

Vancouver will now return home to face Sporting Kansas City on April 2nd at Empire Field and will do this without designated player Eric Hassli.  The Caps should have DeMerit, Chiumiento and possibly Shea Salinas, who is yet to debut for the Caps, back available for the starting eleven.  The former Wizards, who lost to Chicago 3-2, will also be with their DP Omar Bravo who also red carded in the 1st half.  The match could also mark the first match in Canada for Teal Bunbury since he chose to play internationally for the United States over Canada.

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