Tag Archive | "Vancouver Whitecaps"

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Quick and Payneless – 2 losses in 2 for Canadian MLS teams

Posted on 08 September 2013 by Scott Ferguson

Two of the three Canadian MLS teams were in action away from home on Saturday, but neither could take anything from their respective road trips. Vancouver’s playoff hopes are looking like a distant memory after a 3-1 collapse in Dallas, while Toronto fell 2-0 at Portland Timbers in the first game of the post-Kevin Payne era.

In Dallas, Vancouver took an early lead through Daigo Kobayashi, who was excelling in an attacking midfield role that had finally been tailored for him. Dallas came back through Jevaugh Watson’s long-range strike before half-time, and late in the game Mauro Diaz’s volley looked to have sealed it after some work from Eric Hassli in the build-up. While each of Dallas’ were highlight-reel goals, some fans might be questioning goalkeeper David Ousted on all three.

The goal of the night was to come, though, when Jair Benítez scored a 50-yard wonder strike that hit the top corner. Take a look for yourself:

Jair Benítez golazo

Both Vancouver and Portland are part of seven or eight teams in the Western Conference with a realistic shot at the five playoff places, which meant Toronto could do their Canadian cousins a favour with a point or three at Jeld-Wen Field later on.

The Timbers started stronger, though, and Khalif Alhassan took advantage of a short clearance after a Timbers set-piece to make it 1-0 before half-time. Toronto skipper Steven Caldwell as all over the defensive third as usual, and not for the first time this season he was dangerously close to conceding a penalty after blocking a shot with his hand.

If Caldwell is a model of experience for the Reds, it’s much-needed, as it was miscontrol from defensive partner Gale Agbossoumonde that led to Portland’s second goal. Rodney Wallace was able to run clear and finish past ex-teammate Joe Bendik – the goalkeeper was traded for his opposing number tonight, Miloš Koci?, in the off-season.

The next scorer was born in Toronto, but it wasn’t a good thing for the Reds. It was Portland captain Will Johnson who smashed home to make it 3-0.

Diego Valeri finished it off with a tap-in in stoppage time to make it four and pad the team’s goal differential as they climb into the playoff spots.

One man who was conspicuously absent for Toronto was new signing Maximiliano Urruti – with nothing left to play for this season, there has to be a reason for not bedding in the new man for 2014, whether he’s completely match-fit or not. Head coach Ryan Nelsen has been assured that he won’t be part of the culls at BMO Field in 2013, but Urruti may be the key to closing out the season with some respectability – and impressing Nelsen’s new bosses, whoever they might end up being.

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Sounders Take Lead in Cascadia Cup

Posted on 09 June 2013 by Kyle Alm

Sounders got back to business in Seattle against the Vancouver Whitecaps after all the hoopla of the US Men’s National Team and their win in Jamaica on Brad Evans stoppage time goal. There were several USMNT luminaries in attendance in advance of Tuesday’s match in Seattle versus Panama to see the Cascadia Derby played out in front of 53,679 fans in attendance.

Seattle Sounders found the back of the net early in the match on a perfectly weighted through ball down the middle of the park to Andy Rose in the 9th minute to open the scoring for the home side. It would take the visitors mere seconds to equalize as Camilo Sanvesso got on the end of a cross from Russell Teibert.

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Camilo and Teibert would combine again in the 26th minute as Camilo dove past Lamar Neagle to put his head on the cross for his second goal of the evening and a 2-1 lead. There was a bit of confusion from Sounders defending this set piece, Leo Gonzalez was pointing at some Whitecaps players behind the defensive line, in what seemed to be an offside position but moved goal side before the ball was struck.

Down 2-1 at halftime neither Sounders nor Whitecaps made a change for the half, Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins would provide the all the lift that Sounders needed. In the 53rd minute there was a minor moment of controversy over a foul on Martins at the top of the box. A penalty could have been awarded, but referee Hilario Grajeda awarded a free kick from the top of the box instead.

Martins and Neagle had several good combination passes that created shooting opportunities, none better than one on a pass from Mauro Rosales that had exceptional pace. Martins controlled the pass in one fluid motion and kept his speed, beat a defender, but put his shot just wide of the net. The combination of Martins to Neagle did unhinge the Whitecaps defense shortly after they had subbed off Andy O’Brien for Greg Klazura. Klazura would find himself beaten in the box by Neagle, and chopped him down from behind. It was an unecessary foul, Neagle was not a threat to score from that position.

Whitecaps did not have an answer after that. Sounders would add an additional goal from Lamar Neagle to secure their three points and the lead for the 2013 Cascadia Cup.

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Mondragon first to exit, Le Toux to follow?

Posted on 31 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

Sebastien Le Toux ©ASN/Terry McLaughlin

Seb Le Toux ©ASN

Anyone else dizzy yet?

Yesterday, the Union released 2011 captain and MLS All-Star Faryd Mondragon in order to allow him the opportunity to close out his career with his hometown club (Deportivo Cali) in Colombia. That change in and of itself should have been enough news for the day, right?  Plus, when it’s all said and done, many feel Zac MacMath as a capable young star that should do well with the starting role. Though let’s be honest, if we hadn’t seen him in that 7 game stint last season we’d be singing a much different tune right now. Regardless, the news didn’t stop there (though nothing as been fully confirmed yet).

With Mondragon’s departure, Union fans had enough to digest before expecting to hear of either a loan or permanent transfer of goalscorer Sebastien Le Toux to Bolton of the English Premier League over the next few days. Instead, unconfirmed word came out that Le Toux actually left the trial early and as the Union front office was content to sell him, they started looking within Major League Soccer for a trade.

The suitors? The Vancouver Whitecaps according to Soccer by Ives. The price? Probably quite a bit of cash. Regardless, none of that helps the fact that the two most visible faces of the franchise could be gone within the span of two days. Le Toux is headed into the final year of his contract and at 28, he’s getting up there with age (but with his engine, who really cares?!) so in some ways, this all makes a little sense. The only problem is, he’s accounted for over half of the Union’s offensive production. The talent is surely there with guys like Danny Mwanga, McInerney, new signing Josue Martinez, and draft pick Chandler Hoffman but the shoes of a two-time MVP candidate are pretty damn hard to fill. And even if they do, this one could sting for a while.

According to Vancouver Sportsnet reporter Irfaan Gaffar (via Twitter, @IrfaanGaffar), the deal could be announced as early as today. And for those expecting a big move coming to make you feel better after this loss, don’t hold your breath. 

Without Mondragon and Le Toux, one thing is for sure, 2012 is going to be an interesting year…

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Home Opener: Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: Player Ratings

Posted on 27 March 2011 by stoma

GK Faryd Mondragon (6.5)- After an uneventful start to the game, with a lot of long balls attempted by both sides, the sleeping Dragon, so to speak, was awoken in the 27th minute when a ball bounced back and was collected easily by the captain.  However, Vancouver striker Eric Hassli got tangled up with Danny Califf and proceeded to throw the Union defender to the ground.  First, Faryd alertly signaled to referee Yader Reyes what had occurred.  Then, when it was not immediately clear that Reyes would discipline Hassli, the captain stomped 40 yards out to make sure he did.  Following the exchange, the tone of the game was set.  Sure, it got chippy at times, but the Union showed an edge they did not quite have in their inaugural season.   This set off a see-saw of bookings that did not end until Hassli eventually picked up his 2nd yellow, earning himself a trip to the locker room and allowing the Union to open it up and find their way to a second consecutive 1-0 win.  In terms of his actual play, Mondragon did not have to do as much as he did in the season opener, once again recording 3 saves, only one of which was of any difficulty: Gershon Koffie’s long strike around the 30th minute that caught Faryd off-guard, leading to an awkward lunge that send the ball off to the goal’s right.  Even then, however, Mondragon managed to prevent a rebound opportunity and faced little action in front of the net the rest of the way as he completed his 2nd clean sheet in as many opportunities in the MLS.

LB Jordan Harvey (6)- Another solid defensive effort from Harvey.  The 1st half was all about holding the fort against Vancouver’s attack in an ebb and flow that had no real order other than a steady diet of long balls and very little prolonged buildup that called for Jordan to venture forward.  But Harvey’s renewed commitment to marking continues to produce results.  Came off for Jack McInerney in the 66th minute as Philadelphia made their push for a winner, not to mention that Eric Hassli was no longer around to worry about at that point.

CB Carlos Valdes (7.5 *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*)- Two things so far are clear regarding Valdes: (1) He is still not sure of his positioning with his new club; and (2) He is athletic, skilled and aware enough to more than hold his own regardless.  On at least three occasions, it appeared as though Carlos was out of place and sure to be beat, but in each instance he was able to recover, once by craning his neck to just nudge a ball in the air enough to change its path.  Valdes did take a couple of badly judged fouls, but nothing that hurt the team.  Ultimately, the defender made the necessary plays that kept danger away.  Through his first two games with the Union, he has shown that he is willing to make the high-risk, high-reward play that a team needs to win.  Mondragon has gotten the lion’s share of the attention and press, and deservedly so, but Valdes has been every inch as important a signing and, over the run of 90 minutes, has even more of an impact when he plays as he did against the Whitecaps.

CB Danny Califf (7)- Along with Valdes, the key to the Houston match in front of Mondragon, the center backs were tasked with keeping out the forward tandem of Eric Hassli and Atiba Harris, both large target men with a nose for the goal.  As typical for the defender, he decided to play as physically as possible within (most of the time) the confines of the rules.  This paid dividends in the 29th minute when Hassli took a cheap shot at Danny when he thought no one was looking, but the strategy threatened to backfire when Califf earned a caution of his own in the 31st minute, but the veteran was able to manage the burden of playing on a yellow well the rest of the way.  In addition, last year’s captain kept things calm in front of the Union’s goal, as it was never truly threatened.

RB Sheanon Williams (5.5)- Another instance of why Williams is a vexing talent: throughout the 1st half, the team asked him to stay back for the most part, but it just wasn’t in him.  Sheanon only really looks like he is completely into the game if he gets to freelance a bit and show his astounding physical ability on the attack.  One cannot doubt his ability, but his commitment to his defensive responsibilities still requires improvement.  Fortunately, despite his world tour of a career thus far, Williams is still 21 and is certain to improve. 

MID Kyle Nakazawa (4.5)- While he showed deficiencies defensively in the season opener, Nakazawa’s play was largely neutral.  Against Vancouver, however, the young midfielder can be fairly said to have detracted from the team’s performance, as his offensive contributions were nonexistent as well.  He started to find space down the right flank shortly after the red card, but his inability to take advantage in any meaningful way led to his substitution for Roger Torres in the 66th minute.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (6)- Provided the stability in the midfield that the team has come to expect.  Migs has arguably become the lost man in the Union’s rise.  When the defense was poor last season, it was Stefani as the lone bright spot for an underperforming team.  Now, with a defense that is thriving, Miglioranzi is just another face in the crowd.  Regardless, that does not detract from his play, which in this match was highlighted by his long shot that was deflected and ended up at the feet of Le Toux and ended up in the back of the net.

MID Brian Carroll (7)- With Justin Mapp out, the team looked to Carroll to maintain some possession and link the attack.  Unfortunately, Carroll did not answer the call in the 1st half, instead providing sloppy touches, tentative passes backwards and timing that was a beat slow.  In the 2nd half, however, the game changed, and Carroll was a big reason why.   Following the red card, he pressed up and played the point position on what amounted to a prolonged power play for the Union, with the ball in Whitecaps territory for the vast majority of the time.  He initiated several productive forays towards the goal and disrupted any attempt at counterattacks.

MID Sebastien Le Toux (7)- Early in the match, especially without the benefit of field marshal Justin Mapp (who

Le Toux

was out with an Injury), the team looked to send Seba forward into space often with no real results.   Of course, that never tells the story for Le Toux, whose now-legendary work rate demands that his game never be evaluated until it has ended.  Sebastien can plug away fruitlessly all day, only to find himself on the receiving end of an absolute gift, a lucky bounce that lands at his feet, and be ready to capitalize.  Le Toux took that chance and made a brilliantly clinical pass to Ruiz for a wide-open net.  What makes a player dangerous is the constant state of preparedness; Seba has that.

FWD Carlos Ruiz (6.5)- The Little Fish got to swim for the first time in a Union uniform.  Frankly, other than his goal, he did not do much else.  This is not to say Ruiz played poorly or hurt the side, just that he did not have or create many opportunities and did not take advantage of the precious few he did have other than his finish on an absolute sitter.  However, the bottom line is that this might be all the team gets from Ruiz and it may be unreasonable to ask anything else.  Philadelphia needed a game-changer, and such a player only needs to be relevant in the short stretch of a game where the result lies in the balance; he can disappear for the other 80-85 minutes and still do his job effectively.  That was Ruiz’s performance against Vancouver, and it proved to be all the Union required of him.

FWD Danny Mwanga (5.5)- Clearly more comfortable starting the game, Mwanga was able to work himself into the flow of the game as the pace picked up.  Unfortunately, he just never produced results.  Right now, Mwanga’s limitation is his reliance on his own freakish physical abilities.  He needs the ball to thrive and when he finds himself in a pinch, his instinct is to keep the ball.  Danny needs to realize that his ability to make the spectacular play cannot bail him out consistently enough to take the next step in this league.

MID Roger Torres (5)- Came on for Kyle Nakazawa in the 66th minute.  As was the case last season, the 19 year-old was clearly overmatched physically.  If Mapp’s injury persists, the ineffectiveness of Nakazawa and now Torres could prove to be problematic.  This team needs production on the wing.   

FWD Jack McInerney (5.5)- Came on for Jordan Harvey in the 66th minute as the third attacker.  Showed that his physical maturation and technical development continues to catch up to his abilities with several successful runs and, most importantly, some strong holding up in the corner as the Union worked to run out the clock up a goal at the end.

MID Gabriel Farfan (N/A)– Came on for Danny Mwanga in the 83rd minute for defensive purposes to help secure the win.

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Union’s 2011 Home Opener Win in Pictures

Posted on 26 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

ASN Philly’s LEE PEASE was a witness to the Union’s 1-0 shutout Home Opener win over the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps. Carlos Ruiz scored his first goal/gamewinner for the Union, sending the U to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

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Home Opener Preview: Vancouver visits PPL Park

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union play host to expansion squad Vancouver and both teams are raring to go after opening wins to start the season. The Union grabbed their first away points in Houston while the Whitecaps, led by Swiss midfielder Davide Chiumiento, blitzed Toronto FC 4-2. After posting a 6-3-6 record at home last season, the Union are looking to turn PPL Park into their fortress this season. Will the Union attack ignite as they did last year in the opener or will a short-handed Vancouver spoil Doop Day for Union fans? 

Philadelphia Union (1-0-0) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (1-0-0)
PPL Park, Chester, PA, 4:00PM EST

Projected Philadelphia Union Starting XI

————————-Mondragon————————

Williams——–Califf————–Valdes——–Harvey

—————–Carroll————Miglioranzi————-

Le Toux————————————————Mapp

—————-Mwanga—————Ruiz——————

QUESTIONABLE: DF Danny Califf (L knee meniscus); PROBABLE: DF Juan Diego González (L hip flexor strain)

Projected Vancouver Whitecaps Starting XI

—————————-Nolly——————————-

Leathers——–Janicki———Duckett———–Rochat

Wagner——–Dunfield———-Koffie————Tiebert

——————–Harris———-Hassli———————

OUT: MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Shea Salinas (R knee sprain); MF John Thorrington (R quad strain); MF Davide Chiumiento (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Russell Teibert (R hamstring strain)

GAME NOTES:

Former Union player Shea Salinas is now with Vancouver and was hoping to see some time Saturday at PPL Park. Not only will he not play but he will not make the trip with the team to Vancouver either. As much as Union fans loved the guy, it seems Nowak and company were smart to leave him unprotected. Oft-injured, one can only hope he finds a stretch of time where he can show what he can do.

Who knew? Faryd Mondragon set a Major League Soccer record last Saturday with his shutout debut. The 39-year old is the oldest ever to make his debut in MLS. He ‘bested’ Kasey Keller of the Seattle Sounders by almost half of a year. Also from the same article, former Union player Alejandro Moreno has become only the fifth player in Major League history to play for six teams (LA, San Jose, Houston, Columbus, Philadelphia, and now Chivas USA). That’s a lot of travel.

Vancouver is coming off of a big 4-2 win over Canadian rivals Toronto FC in Vancouver. The Reds provided several defensive miscues for the Whitecaps to pounce on (and obviously, they did) so for the Union, limiting defensive lapses should be the absolute key. Their designated player, French striker Eric Hassli, already started paying dividends with two goals in his debut.

The depth of Vancouver will be tested and the Union, unlike last year, will be heading into this match the firm favorites. The Whitecaps will be without their two starting centrebacks from their win over Toronto FC, American international Jay DeMerit and Kiwi rookie Michael Boxall are out on international duty. Two other absences could prove influential, Davide Chiumento – part of ASN’s Week 1 Best XI – might have to miss with a hamstring injury along with Russell Tiebert – a Vancouver home grown player – who could be out with a groin injury (although it’s now expected he’ll play). Replacing one of them, respectively, may be former FC Dallas man Blake Wagner, a winger/fullback with respectable pedigree. The ‘Caps will also likely miss savvy MLS vet John Thorrington, out with a right quadriceps strain.

The Union have had trouble with target strikers at home in the past (Lenhart of Columbus anyone?) so the true test will be how Valdes and Califf can fend off the likes of Vancouver’s big strikers, Atiba Harris and Eric Hassli. They contributed three goals last week, none with their head, but expect them to be targeted early and often.

On the other end, Carlos Ruiz will hope to have a more productive day up front as he gets his first taste of the PPL Park atmosphere. Something tells us he’ll deliver. He’s a poacher and if Le Toux and Mapp can deliver the service they’re capable of, expect a big game from the Guatemalan. We see Mwanga and Ruiz up front with Le Toux cycling in as Nowak tends to go with two forwards at home and a lot of positional switching throughout the game.

Expect to see a lot of “staches” in the crowd as a sizeable portion of the River End (as well as the rest of the stadium) should be seen sporting the look for the “Stache Bash”, a fundraiser for The Bernardine Center in Chester, PA. A great cause and even if you can’t get a shirt by Saturday, you can still participate! Head here for the details…

Hurry up and get’em – the Union have released a limited amount tickets for Saturday’s Home Opener!

We’re Fios subscribers so this is pretty cool – if you have Verizon Fios, there is now a Philadelphia Union folder on your Fios OnDemand.

UNION FIRST CONTEST UPDATE: We have TWO with 2 points right now at the top of the points table as a bunch of our “firsts” were uncovered. Danny Califf put to rest the “first goal of the season” and “first gamewinner” contest, Danny Mwanga was our “first sub in”, Justin Mapp was our “first sub out”, and the “first shutout away from home” was Houston. More should be decided on Saturday! 

POLL: Predict the Scoreline

[polldaddy poll=4777800]

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Photo Gallery: Sounders 2 – Whitecaps 3

Posted on 11 March 2011 by dlindsay

Seattle Sounders FC lost to the expansion club Vancouver Whitecaps in the final match of last weekend’s Cascadia Summit. Photos provided by ASN photographer David Lindsay.

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