The Vancouver Whitecaps, based on their starting eleven, went into the match with the Revolution with low expectations and they were met as the Caps dropped another road game 1-0. After an evenly matched first half where the Whitecaps, in which the young starters actually had some strong stretches of play, the visitors gave up a penalty early in the second that was converted by Sharlie Joseph. Teitur Thoradson put in a very inexperienced line-up against New England including three teenagers and one player who started his first game in the MLS.
The game started with the Whitecaps pushing forward wide on the wings as the visitors tried to get an early step on the Revolution. While both teams traded chances in the first 25 minutes of the match, the Caps were controlling the temp in the final 20 of the half. Two of the best opportunities came from the right side as Knight crossed a ball into the box that just missed Tan’s head and Salinas splitting a couple of defenders only to have his shot blocked by AJ Soares. A strike from Salgado was also saved by Reis as the Caps were unable to capitalize on their strong possession and both teams headed into halftime in a scoreless draw.
As well as the first half went for the young Caps it went just as bad to start the second half as early pressure by the Revs rewarded the home side with a penalty kick. Off a long throw in the ball was headed to Felihaber on the edge of the box who attempted to move to the middle but was fouled by Wes Knight and earned a penalty. The captain Sharlie Joseph then came to the spot and put the ball with pace into the back of the net giving the Revs the lead. The Whitecaps continued to push on the attack attempting to even the score line but attempts by Long Tan on a volley and Omar Salgado’s header were stopped by Reis and the Caps ran out of time.
After the frustrating showing by the club in the mid-week match with San Jose in which they seemed to lack focus in the final third, not much could be expected by this unit. It was the first match Jay Demerit started and captained since their 3-1 loss in Houston when the American defender lasted only a half. DeMerit was taken out in the 64th minute for Greg Janicki as the Caps continue to manage his return from the groin injury that has limited him to only one full match this year. Another positive that can be taken out of this game is that it seemed that Teitur was bending a little on his formation stubbornness as when Chiumiento came on in the 79th minute, he was playing more centrally. His playing in the middle of the pitch will give the playmaker more space and more options to set up his teammates for scores. It is not a guarantee that we will see Chiumiento in that spot for an extended period as the coach seems committed to the 4-4-2.
It was also very obvious that the Whitecaps were looking past the Revolution to their match next Wednesday versus Toronto FC in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship’s first leg at Empire. This was by far the most inexperienced and least skilled starting eleven trotted out by the expansion club this year. The first half was actually a revelation as the younger squad seemed to be controlling possession and tempo which led to a couple of chances. After their next two games, which will both be against Toronto FC in the two leg final for the Voyageur’s Cup, the Whitecaps will be in league action in two weeks’ time as they will host the Red Bulls at Empire Field on May 28.