The Vancovuer Whitecaps suffered an embarrassing defeat to LAFC on Wednesday, as for the second time in two years, they yielded 6 goals away to their Californian counterparts, all part of a tough 6-0 loss. Here is our report from that one.
Maybe they’ll want to start avoiding trips to the Banc of California stadium.
For the second time in two years, the Vancouver Whitecaps conceded 6 goals in the Banc of California stadium, home of LAFC, who comfortably beat the ‘Caps by a score of 6-0 on Wednesday.
While no one expected a repeat of the 6-1 victory that LA famously put over the ‘Caps last year, it was unfortunately deja vu for Vancouver in this one, as they conceded early and often en route to their most lopsided loss of this season.
For whatever reason, despite winning their last 2 games on trips to LA to play the Galaxy, they haven’t been as effective when playing the Galaxy’s crosstown rivals, LA, as the back-to-back heavy defeats away to them now show.
Luckily for Vancouver, they get right back into the swing of things in a few days, as a stiff test awaits them in Portland with the Timbers, who they face on Sunday, which after a heavy result like this, might just be what the doctor ordered.
Ahead of the LAFC match, however, the Whitecaps made 3 changes to their lineup after beating RSL on the weekend, as Theo Bair slotted in for Ali Adnan on the wing, Lucas Cavallini came in for Fredy Montero up front and in goal, necessitated by an injury to Thomas Hasal, Bryan Meredith came in for his first MLS start in 8 years.
On the other end, LAFC made only 1 change from their lineup that started in their most recent game, a 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, as Eduard Atuesta made his first start since MLS is Back, slotting in for Francisco Ginella in the heart of midfield.
And fresh off of a 3-0 loss, LAFC would come out of the gates flying to start the game, much to the ‘Caps dismay.
The first warning sign came in the 2nd minute, as Eddie Segura forced a save from Meredith off of a corner with a nice backheel, before Canadian defender Dejan Jakovic would win the ball off the ensuing set-piece, scoring the first LAFC goal with a thumping header.
Despite letting in the early goal, the Whitecaps would push back and nearly tie the score in the 3rd minute, as Theo Bair did well to get in behind the LA defence to set up Lucas Cavallini all alone in the box, but Cavallini was unable to threaten Sisniega with his shot.
That would prove to be costly for the ‘Caps, as LAFC turned up the heat soon after, as Bradley Wright Phillips added LA’s second in the 6th minute with a nice volley, putting the ‘Caps into an early hole.
Not long after, in the 11th minute, Wright Phillips added his second and LA’s third in the 11th minute, as he found the back of the net with an improvised bicycle kick off of a failed cross into the box by Diego Rossi.
And things would continue to go from bad to worse for Vancouver, as LA would add their 4th in the 13th minute, this time via a Ranko Veselinovic own goal, with the ‘Caps defender unfortunately mixing his feet up on a clearance, putting the ball right into his own net with a tidy finish.
Luckily for the Whitecaps, they got a break in the 19th minute, as Mark Anthony Kaye hit the post after dancing through 4 ‘Caps defenders, which considering how LAFC looked early on, it was surprising to see the ball not end up in the back of the net.
But while that slight reprieve seemed to give the Whitecaps a bit of life, they’d give up a 5th in the 30th minute, as Diego Rossi snuck behind the Vancouver defence and did well to finish far post past Meredith from the left hand side, giving LA a dominant lead heading into half time.
For Vancouver, it was probably their worst half of the season, bar none, as they were second-best for most of the half, and that was reflected in the scoreline.
Defensively, they were too passive, leaving LA far too much space on the ball and in the box, and when a team scores as often as they do, it was only going to end one way for Vancouver.
After looking good defensively in two wins over the Montreal Impact and RSL during this last week, it was disappointing to see them take a big step back in this one, with their struggles being reflected in the lopsided result through 45.
Vancouver started to find some stability in the second half, as they mostly kept LAFC away from their goal, but LA eventually started to break through again, as they came close in the 62nd minute, with Danny Musovski doing well to get a strong header on target, only finding himself denied by Meredith.
Not long after, though, LAFC would finally add that 6th, as Brian Rodriguez broke free on the right side, doing well to whip in a low and hard ball, which would bounce off of Andy Rose and in for an own goal.
But luckily for Vancouver, they’d avoid further embarrassment, as aside from a 76th minute Latif Blessing shot that hit the crossbar, and a pair of shots from Brian Rodriguez and Danny Musovksi that Meredith did well to palm out, the game would end without any further fanfare.
Mercifully for the ‘Caps, this loss counts the same as all of the others, at least in the standings, but you do have to wonder what the psychological impact of such a heavy defeat leaves, especially after a strong run of form from Vancouver.
No doubt, they’ll be questioning themselves, as two of their victories were against 10 men, but at the same time, you’d have to imagine that they’re a lot better than what they showed on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, they didn’t show that, but luckily, despite the heavy loss, they’re still only 2 points out of the MLS playoff picture, and while they have arguably one of the hardest schedules in terms of travel and strength of opponent, they could climb right back in the thick of things with a win in their next one.
Ultimately, they’ll just have to come out strong in that game, which will be in Portland at ‘home’ against the Portland Timbers, as they look to prove that they’re a lot better than what they showed in this game.
Man of the Match: Jake Nerwinski
It’s always tough to pick a player of the game in such circumstances, and while it’s especially tough to pick a defender, especially given the ‘Caps defensive struggles, Nerwinski continued to look lively throughout the whole of the match, both offensively and defensively.
It’s easy to let your head drop and shy away from the game when the result was as heavy as it was, so credit to Nerwinski for continuing to battle, allowing him to have probably the strong game among all of the starters.
BTSVancity Player to Watch: Lucas Cavallini
Unfortunately for Cavallini, after snatching a big goal off of the bench on Saturday, he was unable to repeat that magic in this one, as aside from a really good look early on, he was mostly kept to the outside by LAFC.
While his teammates did him no favours in terms of overall chance creation, if he buries that nice cross by Theo Bair early on, this game may have changed a little bit, and considering the status that Cavallini holds as the team’s record-signing, you do expect him to make a difference in those moments.
But alas, that is soccer, because as one man famously said, the ‘fine lines’ can get to you, and in Cavallini’s case, he’s been on the wrong side of them in what’s been a tough season for him so far.
Heatmap of the Match:
Okay, so maybe the less said about this one, the better…
All-in-all, it was a tough performance from the Whitecaps, who looked second-best for most of the night, and that was reflected in the scoreline.
While maybe they were due to come back down to earth after winning back-to-back games for the first time in over 16 months, but alas, you can’t imagine that anyone pictured it happening like this.
But as said earlier, luckily for the Whitecaps, all losses count the same, be it a 2-1 thriller or a 6-0 drubbing, so as long as they avoid dwelling on this, with things being as tight as they are in the playoff race, they can overcome the result.
That’ll start with a strong performance against Portland on Sunday, which based on how they played in this one, they’ll have reason to try and deliver to avoid further embarrassment against a really good Timbers side at ‘home’.
Looking Forward: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers, Sunday, September 27th, 2020, 19:00 PST (Providence Park, Portland)