Whitecaps drop first match in Tanzania
By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps FC suffered a 3-0 defeat to Young Africans FC in the opening match of their historic trip to the United Republic of Tanzania on Monday afternoon.
Two goals just before halftime from Jerson Tegete helped the 2008 Tanzanian Premier League champions to the friendly win, which was played in front of more than 12,000 spectators at the Tanzania National Main Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Young Africans, who are commonly known in Tanzania as 'Yanga', sealed the win with a third goal midway through the second half from Kenya international midfielder Michael Baraza.
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It proved to be a disappointing day for Teitur Thordarson's side, as the Blue and White were forced to play nearly the entire match with ten men after winger Tyrell Burgess was red carded after just two minutes of action. Though they performed well and created chances during the match, the hot conditions were a challenge for the 'Caps, who were playing their first-ever match on the African continent.
Thordarson gave Whitecaps number one Jay Nolly the start in goal versus Yanga, while the Icelandic tactician partnered Wesley Charles with Mason Trafford in the centre of the Whitecaps backline. Strikers Charles Gbeke and Marlon James earned starts up front for the Canadian visitors.
Looking to make a positive start to their set of friendlies in the East African nation, the Whitecaps found themselves down to ten men after Burgess reacted to a strong tackle from Amir Maftah just two minutes after the kickoff. The match referee deemed the Bermuda international's actions to be worthy of a red card and duly gave the young midfielder his marching orders.
Though a man down, the Whitecaps remained undeterred and created a couple of first-half opportunities through Gbeke. The Canadian international was unfortunate not to convert a cross from strike partner James at close range before the former Montreal Impact forward misfired with another strike in the Yanga box, despite being in a fine goalscoring position.
It was Yanga that broke the deadlock on 37 minutes when striker Tegete finished at the near post after a cross into the Vancouver box. Tegete then doubled Yanga's lead three minutes later with a goal of similar fashion to the first, though the Whitecaps felt aggrieved that the goal was not called back for offside.
Though they were two goals down at the break, the 'Caps kept searching for their first-ever goal of the trip, with James coming closest to scoring in the second half for Vancouver. The Yanga goalkeeper denied the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines captain from getting on the scoresheet when he stopped his goal-bound header, while the Whitecaps striker hit the woodwork with a solid strike in the game's dying stages.
Yanga sealed victory with a third goal on 65 minutes. Nolly made two saves at close range before Baraza converted the chance at the third time of asking for a 3-0 final score.
Though the result was disappointing, Thordarson felt his players benefited from their first friendly in Tanzania, as the squad continue to prepare for the 2009 season. "I'm very happy we played this game today because it was a decent contest against a very good opponent," he told whitecapsfc.com. "I would have liked us to have created more chances because we kept the ball quite well today. Yet, being a man short, we had to work hard to stay in the match and we certainly got tired towards the end. Nonetheless, there was a lot that we were able to take out of today's game."
The Whitecaps will look to rebound from Monday's defeat when they meet Yanga's arch-rivals in fellow Dar es Salaam-based outfit Simba SC on Thursday afternoon. Thordarson's side complete their three-match schedule in East Africa when they take on Tanzania’s national team on Saturday.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Jay Nolly; Luca Bellisomo, Wesley Charles (Wes Knight 87'), Mason Trafford, Takashi Hirano (Justin Thompson 70'); Tyrell Burgess, Martin Nash (Gagandeep Dosanjh 82'), Kenold Versailles, Vicente Arze (Gordon Chin 75'); Charles Gbeke (Ansu Toure 70'), Marlon James
Subs not used: Diego, Alex Semenets