9 players make Whitecaps debut in MLS season opener

Mar 3 2019, 9:23 am

After 14 offseason acquisitions, the Marc Dos Santos era is underway.

The new Vancouver Whitecaps head coach orchestrated one of the biggest rebuilds in MLS history, leading many to ask whether the club could be competitive this season.

Starting seven newcomers for their season-opener at BC Place on Saturday, the curiosity factor was sky-high.

But despite all the hype of a completely rebuilt team and a dream start, the Whitecaps fell 3-2 to Minnesota United.

The match

The match couldn’t have started better for the Whitecaps, who opened the scoring in just the sixth minute when defender Erik Godoy tapped in Yordy Reyna’s free kick.

Early in the match the Whitecaps looked confident on the ball dictating the pace of the game and creating chances, but ultimately the game was decided by the all too familiar themes of giveaways, sloppy defending and the inability to defend a lead which proved costly for Vancouver.

For most of the first half the Whitecaps looked organized and confident on the ball, but Minnesota slowly grew into the match and had their efforts rewarded when they scored an equalizer from the penalty spot late in the first half.

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The second half saw few chances for either side until a pair of quick Minnesota goals midway through the half swung the momentum dramatically in their favour.

Doneil Henry pulled a goal back for the Blue and White in the closing stages of the game, but it was too little and too late for the home side.

Rating the new guys

Despite the disappointing loss there were still some positive moments suggesting that once Dos Santos and his team hit their stride, they should be a competitive MLS team. Until then, this team will remain a work in progress.

Here’s a look at how the newcomers fared:

Maxime Crépeau: The 24-year-old Greenfield, Quebec native had made only three MLS starts before Saturday’s match. The young ‘keeper made some good stops in the first half, but ultimately conceded three goals in the loss.

Derek Cornelius: The Canadian defender picked up a yellow card late in the first half for a careless challenge, but otherwise Cornelius did a good job marking his opponents. Cornelius did not play the entire match, and was substituted off late in the match for PC Giro.

Erik Godoy: Playing next to Doneil Henry in the heart of the Caps’ backline, Godoy looked solid defensively, and scored a goal on his debut.

Jon Erice: Wearing the captain’s armband, the Spaniard may not be as flashy as some of the other new Whitecaps, but the veteran midfielder clearly has good footballing head on his shoulders with solid positional play, marking, and ball distribution.

Hwang In-Beom: A hard-working player, Hwang made several penetrating runs and had an assist on Doneil Henry’s goal. Plenty to suggest there is a lot more to come from the talented Korean midfielder.

Lass Bangoura: A speedy winger who can make some fancy passes, Bangoura failed to influence the match and was substituted off in midway through the second half.

Lucas Venuto: A second half substitute, Venuto added a bit of energy to the Whitecaps’ attack when it needed a lift.

Joaquín Ardáiz: The big Uruguyan striker did not start the match but was brought on to partner Fredy Montero late when the Whitecaps were already down by a pair of goals and was unable to provide the late goal that they so desperately needed.

PC Giro: A second half substitute, PC impacted the match with almost immediate effect when his well-placed cross into the box was headed home by Doneil Henry to give fans hope of a comeback.

Mark DaileyMark Dailey

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