Whitecaps/ Chivas game summary
The means of the win was quite untidy, as Chivas somewhat surprisingly dominated Vancouver offensively, but in the end the Whitecaps were able to grind out a result with Jay DeMerit’s diving header in the 67th minute off a left wing cross by Camilo Sanvezzo.
The game was a little unusual in several aspects, as the typically dry, sunny southern California weather decided to take its own vacation out of state.
It rained both the night before and during the game, causing the pitch to play quite soft and slippery at times. Strangely enough, Chivas was able to deal with the conditions more effectively than the boys from the Wet Coast of BC. There was also a goalie substitution in the first half as Joe Cannon picked up a leg injury.
Attendance was very poor, and worrying, for the Chivas franchise on this day with only 7723 bodies counted. (It looked more like 27 1/2)
Coach Martin Rennie refined his formation, moving to a 4-3-3 from his preferred 4-2-3-1. There was also a personnel switch in midfield as Gershon Koffie was left out, and Matt Watson came in on the right side, with Jun Marques Davidson shuffled to the centre of the park, and Davide Chiumiento deployed on the left side of the three man unit.
However, Vancouver struggled here as the team could only manage 35.5% possession as opposed to 64.5% ball control by Chivas. The Whitecaps could also muster just two shots on net, though DeMerit did capitalize on his late run into the box.
Joe Cannon was the reason the ‘Caps stayed in the game early as he came out aggressively from his net to block a shot from Ryan Smith, but he appeared to pick up a niggling injury in doing so. In the 22nd minute Cannon had to dive to his right to hold another long range effort from Smith. Cannon’s finest save was off a curling effort to the top right corner from outside the 18 yard box by Townsend.
However, late in the half the apparent injury to his thigh forced Cannon off the field, and he was replaced by ex-Carolina RailHawk Brad Knighton.
The back line remained intact for this match and played well, staving off a wave of attacks by Chivas, who were led by the impressive Ryan Smith. The back line for Vancouver also contributed the only two shot on target through YP Lee and DeMerit’s goal.
This was not a game to text home about from the ‘Caps midfielders. They were wasteful in possession and struggled to keep the runs of Chivas in check. Koffie was missed here and they didn’t cope well with the tactical shift.
The front line did not have a lot of ball to work with, due to the low possession numbers, but worked hard to check back. Eric Hassli’s presence in the box drew a lot of attention on the cross by Camilo, opening up space for DeMerit’s late run and header for goal.
Man of the Match
Though DeMerit garnered the goal, Cannon’s three highlight reel saves are what keyed the Whitecaps’ sound defensive effort on this night.
Play of the Game
The fingertip save by Cannon off Townsend, after his initial injury, was well worth rewinding for second and even third views.
Video courtesy Whitecaps FC