On an eventful Wednesday night at BC Place – on and off the field – Whitecaps FC walked away with three points, after a thrilling 2-1 win against Chicago Fire.
The game started off with a thud, as Whitecaps striker Masato Kudo was carted off the field after a dangerous collision with Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
Blas Perez, who came on for the injured Kudo, scored the 1-0 goal, converted a cross in the 36th minute from Christian Bolanos, who had another strong game for the ‘Caps.
Chicago tied in the 62nd minute, before Perez scored the goal of the year (more on that later) in minute 89 to put the ‘Caps ahead for good.
You may have missed it at home, given that TSN was showing the end of the Yankees-Royals baseball game on TSN 2, and Raptors basketball on TSN 1, 3, 4, and 5, but the ‘Caps lost Masato Kudo to injury.
Early in the game, Kudo suffered an injury after a violent collision with Chicago keeper Matt Lampson.
Some fans were calling for a red card, though I think the collision was fair. Lampson made a play on the ball and braced himself. The result was obviously unfortunate.
Kudo banged his head on the turf, and was down for approximately eight minutes, with blood pouring out of his mouth.
He was able to stand up under his own power, but suffered a concussion and was taken to hospital.
“It’s not good,” said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson, who was visibly concerned for Kudo’s well being after the match. “Obviously it’s a head injury, I think it’s a jaw problem. I’m going to go see him now, straight after.”
Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic was also concerned, beginning his press conference by asking the media on hand for an update on the Japanese striker.
— Simon Fudge (@SimonFudge74) May 12, 2016
What a night for Blas Perez.
The 35-year-old came into the game for Kudo, and had a night to remember.
His first goal was the result of being in the right spot and converting as you would expect a striker to do.
But his second goal was the goal of the season.
To convert on a bicycle kick with a defender on him, in the 89th minute, you could say it was big goal.
Let’s see it again from another angle:
If it looked like Perez was a little slow in reacting to having scored, it’s for good reason.
“I thought the referee called a foul,” Perez explained through an interpreter. “Normally balls high up in the air, referees can sometimes call a foul for a high boot.”
“When I saw all my teammates coming over to me, that’s when I realized the ball was in the net.”
I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Perez in his short time in Vancouver so far. He has looked dangerous around the net, which is something this team desperately needs more of.
“He fits in with the group very well, the boys love him,” explained Robinson. “He’s an exceptional, experienced professional.”
Maybe we’ll see more of him? Let’s hope so.
It was a historical night for Jordan Harvey, who set a new franchise record for games played tonight, passing Gershon Koffie.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) May 11, 2016
“As a defender, you don’t get many accolades, so to get one like this, in MLS it’s hard to come by because there is a lot of turnover with teams throughout,” Harvey told reporters post-match. “It’s a real honour to be here, to be with this club, to play with this manager, this staff. Just to be with this organization, it really is an honour. It’s a privilege to be here.”
Harvey also etched his name in the record books tonight for most touches in a game by a Whitecap, getting his foot on the ball 112 times.
A great night all around by a classy player.
“That’s news to me,” was Carl Robinson’s reaction to the trade rumours swirling around Octavio Rivero possibly heading to Columbus for the second leading goal scorer in MLS last year, Kei Kamara.
It appears the rumours aren’t true, though it made for some interesting fodder. Rivero was not listed as available on the bench for tonight’s game.
With the win, the Whitecaps pass Sporting Kansas City for the 6th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Their next game is this Saturday against Toronto FC.
Man of the Match: Blas Pérez
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
36′- VAN – Blas Pérez (Christian Bolaños, Pedro Morales)
62′- CHI – Kennedy Igboananike (Arturo Alvarez, Joey Calistri)
89′- VAN – Blas Pérez (Kekuta Manneh)
Possession: Vancouver 59.6% – Chicago 40.4%
Shots: Vancouver 17 – Chicago 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 12 – Chicago 3
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Chicago 9
Fouls: Vancouver 16 – Chicago 6
Offsides: Vancouver 0 – Chicago 1
Corners: Vancouver 6 – Chicago 3
82′- VAN- Kendall Waston
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 77.Pedro Morales, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Christian Bolaños, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (23.Kekuta Manneh 66′), 13.Cristian Techera (19.Erik Hurtado 84′); 9.Masato Kudo (27.Blas Pérez 19′)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 17.Andrew Jacobson, 31.Russell Teibert, 44.Pa-Modou Kah
28.Matt Lampson; 13.Rodrigo Ramos, 4.Johan Kappelhof, 16.Jonathan Campbell, 66.Joao Meira, 5.Michael Harrington (3.Brandon Vincent 63′); 12.Arturo Alvarez (17.Collin Fernandez 85′), 30.Razvan Cocis, 26.Michael Stephens (2.Matt Polster HT); 15.Joey Calistri, 77.Kennedy Igboananike
Substitutes not used
25.Sean Johnson, 21.Nick LaBrocca, 6.Eric Gehrig, 9.Gilberto