Whitecaps From The Locker Room (s): VWFC vs TFC, better than the UCL final?


Friday night's match between Canadian MLS rivals Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC was one of those that could have produced many captivating titles for the international break. Toronto FC desperately tried to come out on a positive note and found themselves without a win in their last five games, while the Whitecaps tried to secure all three points and push the playoff line in the Western Conference. But rather than a feeling of revenge, the final whistle of BC Place left both sides unsatisfied – as neither team had achieved its goal, or even played that kind of football that you hoped to see in an MLS match of the Friday night.

And if you thought the Whitecaps match was disappointing, I'm sure you weren't exactly excited about how the Champions League final went down Saturday afternoon. I can't believe I said it, but it's a real case that the Whitecaps game on Friday could have been really more exciting than the Saturday afternoon of the Champions League (the most watched annual sporting event in the world), so c & # 39; is always.

Regardless of how the Whitecaps could have clashed with the European giants in terms of watchability, Caps's performance at BC Place still left much to be desired, and Marc Dos Santos echoed these sentiments in his post-match press conference.

In particular, the first half probably embodied the kind of football that Dos Santos is trying to avoid playing under his turn:

"Once they got into their half – it was difficult, especially in the first half, they were sloppy and we made bad decisions about the ball. In my opinion, it's probably our worst first half of the year. "

At the same time, Dos Santos did his best to keep the prospect, as the month of May saw the Whitecaps do a crazy series of 7 games in 25 days, and the effort was undoubtedly a factor for both sides:

"These guys were in an incredible race, it was very difficult with the trip. And we thought that tonight there was a little lack of energy. When the mind is tired, then we are not sharp enough – these guys deserve the break. "

While most of the game was openly rather listless, perhaps the most important moment for the Whitecaps came in the 62nd minute when Yordy Reyna replaced Lucas Venuto alongside Fredy Montero. The Peruvian striker (in his first return match from injury) not only threw the crucial penalty that led to Whitecaps scoring in the night, but also significantly altered Whitecaps' tactical approach in the last 30 minutes. Dos Santos commented on the tactical change in the game that coincided with Yordy's appearance:

"The game has lengthened. Yordy has entered the game very, very well, he has brought a lot. He has continued the run of form he had before his injury. So this has opened the game a little more."

Also the man who gave way to Reyna, Lucas Venuto, had a rather interesting (though overall less successful) appearance in his second start as a striker alongside Fredy Montero.

Although the Brazilian was alone with the club for a short time, the diminutive striker has already developed a reputation for failing to finish his chances, or for choosing a critical final pass at the right time. In a certain sense this is a compliment, given that Venuto is very adept at letting the defender slip and be in space, but at the same time, the lack of Venuto finish and poor decision-making ability in the third final make it easy to identify as cause of Whitecaps' offensive frustrations. I asked MDS whether or not he thinks that Venuto's problems are reduced to the decision-making process or simply to the lack of trust:

"They are both. He is confident, but we also have to work a lot with him (his decision-making process) is an area in which he needs to become better, because he has an incredible quality when he turns and runs with the ball. the space behind (defenders) very, very, good, but with all these qualities, with its explosiveness, if it was always in the third final and its passages were perfect, and its shot was perfect, it would have been in Barcelona "

As much as I appreciate the joke about Dos Santos' answer, I would like to discuss (and I don't think it's a header) that there is a significant gap between the quality of Venuto and the kind of quality that would put it on the Barcelona radar (lol). At the end of the day, I think Dos Santos and I would both be happy if Venuto's improvement falls somewhere between his current form and will replace Suarez or Messi in Barcelona.

On the side of Toronto FC, perhaps the best player on the field was Canadian midfielder Liam Fraser, who after being eliminated from the Canadian Gold Cup roster, certainly looked like a player who had something to prove. Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney commented on Fraser's performance:

"I thought it was excellent. In these games where we have a lot of ball, Liam's qualities shine. He is so good under pressure, so good at spreading the ball with different passages, he has a great frame, so he also has a good feeling for protect the ball. So in these types of games, in which we have a nice stretch with lots of ball, this plays in Liam's hands. "

Even Kristian Jack intervened in the action, and although it is not particularly about the brand for us, in order to credit the band of KJ and Caldwell, credit is due to credit. Also, be sure to check out the JJ Adams story on Fraser when it comes out.

Another crucial moment of the game, which went unnoticed, was the possibility of a second yellow card for Toronto FC defender Drew Moor on the foul that led to Whitecaps penalty. While this was largely obscured by Montero's goal from the penalty spot, the inability to call a second yellow card may have had a drastic impact on the outcome of the match. Here are the thoughts of MDS on the phallus:

"Do you think it was a yellow card for Moor? (Asking the media) Yes, me too. I'm not saying a red. But for me it's a clear second yellow card. So maybe the game changes there, maybe now you have ten against eleven and changes a little. So it's a very important moment in the game. "

At the same time, Dos Santos was looking forward to keeping the team in the field for the final result:

"We have to admit that the draw is right. This is a fair result for both teams and, if we do not admit it, we are disappointed and we do not progress as a team."

Although this may seem a little "what if" sentence after the fact, it seems that he himself was surprised that he had not been expelled. So it will be interesting to see if this incident achieves or does not adhere to MLS "Instant Replay" this week (I do not see it now that it is horrible to take Bobby Warshaw).

Last but certainly not least, Dos Santos talked about the transfer window, and if the lack of a dominant midfield presence (especially in this match) causes his staff to consider their priorities differently than before.

His message was very similar to what we have heard many times before, a request for cautious optimism. At the end of the day, it is probably not the competence of MDS and its staff to recruit quality players, but instead the front office's ability to grab and secure the quality pieces of Dos Santos needs to push his team to the next level. – and I have the feeling that when the window approaches, even Dos Santos himself is forced to temper his expectations.