San Jose Earthquakes / Whitecaps game summary
In the most entertaining game for the Whitecaps this season, the Vancouver boy eked out a win with a late, late goal in the 4th minute of extra time to down the high flying San Jose Earthquakes.
The game was end to end for most of the match and showcased everything that MLS wishes for its product, with moments of skill, physically bruising play and terrific goals to provide the polish on it all.
Chris Wondolowski (who else?!) opened the scoring for San Jose with a header at the far post early in the first half, but the Whitecaps countered that effectively with a header of their own by Gershon Koffie off a free kick before the break.
Eric Hassli, who came on late as a sub, then stole the match for Vancouver at the death.
This game may well be the inspiration for the ‘Caps that a truly special season is unfolding.
Martin Rennie’s team selection was well considered as he continues to juggle his lineup judiciously, bringing in the right players for each opponent, while awarding rest to his key players when they need it.
Joe Cannon has been the steadiest member of the team this season. He could do little though to prevent Wondolowski sneaking in at the back post, as his defence let him down. Otherwise he stood tall in net with his imperious positioning. His best save was a dive to his left to prevent a curling effort low to the inside of the post.
When this unit struggles, it generally tends to be early on and that was the issue not long into the first half when the usually reliable YP Lee lost track of Wondolowski as he got caught up in ball watching the play on the opposite side. The San Jose striker then drifted back as Chavez artfully dropped a cross behind Lee for the goal.
The back line picked up their play afterwards however, and clamped down on the potent San Jose attack to close out the match.
Gershon Koffie was terrific on this day, as he headed in Camilo’s curling in swinger of a free kick from the left flank. He also tackled extremely well and late on provided the ball up to Hassli for a chance he screwed wide of goal, just before the late winner. Jun Marques Davidson and John Thorrington had solid games as well to pump up the oft-maligned midfield.
Eric Hassli as we discussed in the game preview has been re-energized by his mid-week goal against Edmonton, and his late powerful side foot shot inside the Earthquakes post put the finish on a terrific effort.
Man of the Match
Gershon Koffie does not receive a great deal of plaudits usually, but in this game he was the glue that kept the Whitecaps in it after San Jose took the early lead.
Play of the Match
Hassli’s terrific footwork and dogged determination created the fantastic last minute winner.
Quote of the Week
“It’s a great feeling. I’d like to say thanks to all the Vancouver Whitecaps fans because I got a lot of messages via twitter. It was just an amazing day. They [the fans] got my back right? I would like to dedicate this goal to everybody because they deserve it.” – Eric Hassli
Video Courtesy VancouverWhitecapsFC on Youtube