For a second week running the Vancouver Whitecaps failed to get the result they needed to finish first in the Western Conference.
After a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, the Whitecaps needed a draw or a win against the Timbers to claim first place and a first round playoff bye. Instead they suffered a 2-1 loss in Portland, which sets up a winner take all knockout match against San Jose on Wednesday or Thursday. Vancouver finishes third in the Conference.
The Caps got off to a good start, weathering early pressure from Portland and defender Kendall Waston scoring in the 27th minute to give the visitors the lead.
Vancouver strikes first
Providence Park has been a tough place to play for the Whitecaps, who have only won there once since joining MLS in 2011.
With first place and a first round playoff bye on the line, it was the Whitecaps drew first blood after scoring an excellent goal in the 27th minute.
Anything less than a win will be a disappointment for Whitecaps. #VWFC
— Dan Riccio (@DanRiccio650) October 22, 2017
After winning a free kick, Yordy Reyna delivered a perfectly placed ball into the Portland area. Kendall Waston got his head to the ball, and put it past Portland ‘keeper Jeff Attinella.
Scoring the opening goal of the match was huge for Vancouver, and gave hope that a first place finish was possible.
Sadly the lead didn’t last long.
Goalkeeper controversy in Vancouver?
After finishing their last five matches with a record of W1-L3-D1, Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson felt that a change was needed.
With David Ousted giving up six goals in three matches, Robinson decided that goalkeeping was one area that was needed a change up.
Morinovic hasn't been great when he needs to be. Ousted is better. #vwfc
— stuffradio (@stuffradio) October 22, 2017
New Zealand international goalkeeper Stefan Marinović was given the start in Portland, but bobbled the ball that lead to Liam Ridgwell pulling the Timbers level with the Whitecaps in the 32nd minute.
Ousted not being in the squad the difference today. #vwfc
— Raj (@BlogTrot) October 22, 2017
Marinović has put in some very good performances and made some very solid saves since joining the Whitecaps this summer. The big question that will be asked of Robinson in the wake of the Portland loss is whether David Ousted, a MLS veteran no stranger to big matches against the Timbers, should have been given the start instead.
Darren Mattocks punishes his former team. Again.
After heading into half time this was still anyone’s game, but some typically poor defending from the Whitecaps early in the second half lead to the goal that ultimately sealed the deal for Portland.
The move was started at the top of the Vancouver box by Sebastian Blanco, who danced around, and through, several Whitecaps before passing the ball.
Eventually it was Darren Mattocks who was the one to score, giving Portland a lead that they would not surrender for the remainder of the match.
— Jeff Hodgson (@coachhodgson) October 22, 2017
It was the second time this season that Mattocks scored the winning goal against his former team. Mattocks also had the winner when the Timbers beat the Whitecaps 2-1 back on April 22nd.
The final standings
After an excellent summer, the Whitecaps were first in the Western Conference for several weeks.
Every #VWFC fan would’ve taken this finish at start of year given last season.But context changed—this group promised more than it delivered
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) October 22, 2017
The Portland loss drops the Caps from first to third, and Vancouver now faces a tricky first round playoff match against the San Jose Earthquakes Wednesday (7:30 pm) at BC Place.
Should the Whitecaps beat the Quakes, then the next stop on the road to the MLS Cup Final will be in Seattle.
Here’s how the Western Conference finished up:
With their playoff match against San Jose just days away, the Whitecaps have plenty of work to do.
Man of the Match: Kendall Waston
Referee: Allen Chapman
29’ – VAN – Kendall Waston (Yordy Reyna)
32’ – POR – Liam Ridgewell
48’ – POR – Darren Mattocks (Vytautas Andriuskevicius, Sebastián Blanco)
Possession: Portland 59.6% – Vancouver 40.4%
Shots: Portland 18 – Vancouver 7
Shots on Goal: Portland 7 – Vancouver 2
Saves: Portland 1 – Vancouver 4
Fouls: Portland 14 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: Portland 2 – Vancouver 0
Corners: Portland 3 – Vancouver 5
31’ – VAN – Nosa Igiebor
33’ – VAN – Jordan Harvey
45’+5’ – POR – Diego Chara
58’ – POR – Liam Ridgewell
81’ – POR – David Guzmán
89’ – VAN – Kendall Waston
1.Jeff Attinella; 2.Alvas Powell, 33.Larry Mabiala, 24.Liam Ridgewell ©, 5.Vytautas Andriuskevicius; 21.Diego Chara, 20.David Guzmán; 10.Sebastián Blanco (27.Dairon Asprilla 84‘), 8.Diego Valeri (13.Lawrence Olum 90’+5‘), 6.Darlington Nagbe; 11.Darren Mattocks (17.Jeremy Ebobisse 87’)
Substitutes not used
90.Jake Gleeson, 7.Roy Miller, 16.Zarek Valentin, 23.Jack Barmby
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
24.Stefan Marinović; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 4.Kendall Waston ©, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 7.Christian Bolaños (13.Cristian Techera 67‘), 66.Aly Ghazal, 50.Nosa Igiebor (19.Erik Hurtado 73’), 20.Brek Shea; 29.Yordy Reyna, 23.Bernie Ibini (12.Fredy Montero 56’)
Substitutes not used
1.David Ousted, 8.Andrew Jacobson, 11.Nicolás Mezquida, 17.Marcel de Jong