The Whitecaps could not take advantage of a Sporting Kansas City club that played their third game in seven days and made a number of changes as they fell 2-1 at Livestrong Park to end the first half of their initial MLS season with a loss. While they may have lost the game, Vancouver’s bigger loss may have been Jay DeMerit who left that game at halftime with another potential groin injury. For the second straight game the Caps opened the scoring on the road looking for their first win away from Empire but after a couple of breakdowns allowed a chance at a result to slip away. The scoring was opened by Camilo in the first half but Sporting responded with a penalty kick by Omar Bravo and the winner by Julio Cesar late in the first half.
It was mentioned that Tom Soehn stated before the game on the TSN broadcast that because the KC team was playing their third game in seven days that the Caps would be going after the supposed tired club. Apparently the home squad didn’t get that memo as they came flying at the Whitecaps especially in the first ten minutes which included a point blank save by Joe Cannon. Then against the run of play a free kick by Davide Chiumiento found Camilo in the box and the diminutive Brazilian flicked the ball past Jimmy Nielsen for the opening score.
It seemed to sap the energy out of Sporting KC for a while but the home team picked it up and started applying pressure on the Caps. The constant pressure eventually led to a great run by Omar Bravo into the box where Jay Demerit, caught out of position, gave away a penalty pick. The conversion of the PK by Bravo evened the match in the 33rd minute. The Midwest club did not let up as Cannon had to come up with another point blank save this time off of Stoivic. Then with five minutes left in the half off of a corner Sporting KC was able to take the lead as the ball was headed back into the middle of the box to Julio Cesar and midfielder blasted the ball into the back of the net.
In addition to replacing DeMerit with Billal Ducket at halftime, the Whitecaps made another change replacing Davide Chiumiento with Russell Teibert. Unfortunately the changes did help the Whitecaps immediately as they could not penetrate into the final third until the 67th minute when Terry Dunfield attempted a shot inside the box that was handled by Nielsen. Hassli tried to duplicate his feat against Seattle but fired the shot high over the bar. They were able to apply some pressure in the final minutes, which included winning a free kick outside the box, but the Caps were unable to duplicate their previous match against Sporting KC.
Similar to their loss to the Houston Dynamo earlier in the season, the hot and humid conditions seemed to have affected the energy of the visiting side. They were very sluggish on the pitch and allowed Sporting KC to control the tempo of the game. It was the wide play of KC that hurt Vancouver as the Caps were not able to handle the wing play, especially Omar Bravo. It forced both Salinas and Camilo to play deeper which hurt the team’s chances on counterattacks as they could not support the forwards quick enough to create opportunities.
The backline had quite a number of breakdowns as they were bailed out by the goalkeeping of Joe Cannon. The Whitecaps now move onto Toronto to play two matches next week against their Canadian rivals in the MLS. The midweek match will give them another chance to win their first on the road and then on Saturday they play again in the second leg for their first Voyageur’s Cup and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.