Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whitecaps Come Back To Shock Sporting KC

The Whitecaps were able rally from a three goal deficit in an amazing finish and continued their success at home with a 3-3 draw against Sporting Kansas City.  It didn’t look promising going into injury time as the home squad was down two goals with an extra five minutes to be added on and some of 20,000 plus crowd heading to the exits.  However in those final minutes those people missed an incredible finish as Brazilian striker Camilo found the back of net twice, set up by subs Davide Chiumiento and Nizar Khalfan.

The Whitecaps started the game attacking the former Wizards but the visitors were able to control possession.  It was obvious early on that former Canadian Teal Bunbury would be booed every time he touched the ball and there were chants of “traitor” reigning down from the supporters.  The Caps started some runs down the right side as Dunfield, Leathers and Knight were able connect effectively.  Sporting KC’s goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was able to make several big saves, especially off of Camilo and Harris, and keep the match goalless.  Then in injury time of the the 1st half the visitors stunned the home crowd as Bunbury scored from about 18 yards out and Kansas City went into the half with the lead.

The second half started with the Whitecaps attempting to tie the score but they were caught on the counter attack and Bunbury was able to double the lead thirteen minutes into the second stanza.  Then four minutes later, on another counter attack, Sporting KC increased the lead to three as Kei Kamara finished off a pass from CJ Sapong.  The Caps subbed off an injured Greg Janicki, suffered in the first half, for Nizar Khalfan as Teitur was looking for more creativity on the wings.  Davide Chiumiento was brought in the 69th minute for Wes Knight and the tide started to change as the Swiss midfielder earned a foul immediately.  

The Caps opened their account when Khalfan made a great run down the left side and crossed the ball into the box where Harris was able to guide the ball in off his thigh.  Because of the time wasting and injuries by Sporting KC, five more minutes were added on and that is when the excitement started.  Terry Dunfield started the play as he sent Chiumiento a great pass into the box where the Swiss playmaker drew in the defenders into him and then squared the ball over to Camilo who made no mistake with an easy tap in.  A minute later Harris lunged to win the ball from a defender and passed the ball to Khalfan who sent in a perfect cross that was headed into the top corner by Camilo for his second and third for the Whitecaps.  The home team almost gained a victory as Khalfan unleashed a strike from outside the box that missed by a few feet.

In coming back from 3 goals down and missing so many players due to injury, suspension or international duty, the Whitecaps showed great resiliency.  It would have been a monumental task to come back with their full squad and to complete the comeback draw with a second unit was very impressive.  It was a huge bounce back game by Nizar Khalfan after last week’s struggles as he set up two of the goals.  Davide Chiumiento proves again that he may be the most valuable player on the pitch when it comes to creating goals.  Finally, Camilo showed that his goal prowess that he displayed in Malta will be able to translate into the North American game.  It was a confidence building game for the young Whitecaps who should be able to carry this experience forward into the season.

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