After coming back from Tucson, Arizona with three wins and a perfect record, the Whitecaps spent a week training in Vancouver before heading down the I-5 to Portland to continue their pre-season preparations.
The Blue and White will remain in the Rose City for a week as they participate in a friendly tournament called the “Simple Invitational” alongside the Portland Timbers, the Chicago Fire, and the soon-to-be MLS team Minnesota United FC. These games will serve as tune-ups for their season-opener clash against Didier Drogba and the Montreal Impact on March 6th at BC Place.
The Whitecaps opened the tournament this afternoon as they took the pitch against the Chicago Fire. The Blue and White took their first loss in 2016, falling by a score of 3-2.
Head Coach Carl Robinson sent a starting XI to the pitch of Providence Park that, on paper, resembled the same 4-2-3-1 formation that has become a staple for the Whitecaps over his two year tenure. In practice, however, it was clear very early on that perhaps this year the Welsh tactician will delve into a new 4-3-3 deployment that promises to be more attack prone.
As with any preseason bout, the result must be taken with a grain salt. This is even more important considering that the Whitecaps lost the 2-1 lead they had built after two controversial penalty kick decisions that gave the Fire the win. It is more important to analyze the team’s performance, both individually and a collectively. With this in mind, there a few important takeaways from the game.
The central midfield formed by Matias Laba, Pedro Morales, and Christian Bolaños may become the best in MLS. Even though Laba didn’t play today, it is clear that the triangle that these three men form in the middle of the park can give the Whitecaps the solidity and creativity to score goals by the bunches.
Christian Dean continues to have a good preseason and today’s performance alongside Kendall Waston proves that 2016 may finally be the year in which the young central back emerges as a true contender for a starting XI spot week in and week out.
Finally, Cristian Techera returned to his scoring ways after netting the second Vancouver goal off of a low cross from Sam Adekugbe. It is good to see that the Uruguayan continues to be one of the most dangerous Whitecaps in the roster.
The Whitecaps have two more games remaining in the tournament. On Wednesday February 24th at 7:30 pm the ‘Caps will go toe to toe against their Cascadia rivals, the Portland Timbers (there is never a “friendly” against Portland) before closing their participation on Saturday February 27th against Minnesota United FC at 2:30 pm. All games can be watched live at www.whitecapsfc.com.
If you want to watch today’s match, you can do so here.
5’ – CHI – John Goossens
24’ – VAN – Johan Kappelhof (own goal)
38’ – VAN – Cristian Techera (Sam Adekugbe, Kekuta Manneh)
51’ – CHI – Gilberto (penalty kick)
81’ – CHI – Kennedy Igboananike (penalty kick)
33’ – VAN – Deybi Flores
36’ – CHI – Gilberto
78’ – VAN – Kendall Waston
86’ – CHI – Collin Fernandez
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird, 4.Kendall Waston, 22.Christian Dean, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 20.Deybi Flores, 77.Pedro Morales © (38.Kianz Froese 70’); 13.Cristian Techera (27.Blas Pérez 76’), 7.Christian Bolaños, 23.Kekuta Manneh (32.Marco Bustos 79’); 29.Octavio Rivero
25.Sean Johnson (28.Matt Lampson^ 79’); 30.Michael Harrington, 25.Johan Kappelhof, 28.Joao Meira (16.Jonathan Campbell 70’), 21.Brandon Vincent; 2.Matt Polster, 30.Razvan Cocis © (26.Michael Stephens 79’), 12.Arturo Alvarez^ (17.Collin Fernandez 79’), 7.John Goossens^ (21.Nick LaBrocca 70’), 2.Joey Calistri; 29.Gilberto (77.Kennedy Igboananike 79’)