Vancouver Whitecaps Round-up
Vancouver dominated in all areas of the pitch with a tidy 2-0 win over the NASL’s FC Edmonton franchise in the first leg of the first round of the Amway Canadian Championship.
The annual tournament is held to single out the Canadian team representative for the North American version of the Champions League in CONCACAF.
Eric Hassli finally slotted his first goal of the year, and the relief was highly evident on his face. Atiba Harris added another following a rebound off the post.
Van City hosts the San Jose Earthquakes for the return match, just a month after a 3-1 loss to their opponents. San Jose will stride confidently into BC Place on the back of seven matches undefeated, including a 5-3 dismantling of DC United.
There was no action on this front this past week.
Forwards Etienne Barbara and Darren Mattocks are both very close to returning, with Mattocks back in training. Back up goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre continues to look at a longer recuperation.
Watching the Wave (Editorial)
It cannot be understated how important it was for Eric Hassli to break his duck and tally a first goal of the year, even if it came against the lowly FC Edmonton team in the second tier NASL.
Strikers thrive on confidence, more so than other field positions, because goals are the hardest aspect of soccer matches to produce.
When a striker is scoring regularly he feels looser, calmer in front of net and sharper when taking chances.
But when he is struggling he tightens up, overthinks his options when receiving the ball near goal, and seems to lack the instinct and timing to fire off a shot when the opening is available.
Hassli is integral to the Whitecaps forward line with his great touch, ability to hold up the ball, and eye for a key pass. But forwards need to score to make their game complete, and that part of his play had been missing.
Hopefully this breakthrough for Hassli, who had been approaching almost 20 games without a goal, will trigger a landslide for the burly striker.