Effort was there - The Province

win wasn't; Caps outplay, but ultimately succumb to Rochester

By Marc Weber

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Charles Gbeke (left) is denied by the hands of Rochester Rhinos goalie Scott Vallow during the first half of Saturday's game at Swangard Stadium. The Rhinos won 2-1.

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Charles Gbeke (left) is denied by the hands of Rochester Rhinos goalie Scott Vallow during the first half of Saturday's game at Swangard Stadium. The Rhinos won 2-1.
Photograph by: Nick Procaylo; The Province, The Province

It was hard to tell Saturday night at Swangard Stadium if the Vancouver Whitecaps were more flabbergasted or frustrated.

They outshot the visiting Rochester Rhinos 23-4, held a 15-2 edge in corners, and forced 11 saves out of Scott Vallow.

Oh, and they lost 2-1.

"It's just incredible that we can't manage to score more than one goal on all this," said head coach Teitur Thordarson, who looked steamed in his postgame player chat, but sounded more stunned during the media scrum.

"I said to the team, 'It is impossible that we can stand here after the game with nothing? It's just not normal.'"

It was pretty far from a normal night in front of a sold-out house of 5,288 fans at Swangard.

The Whitecaps threw everything at Rochester and came away with nothing, save Dever Orgill's consolation strike in the 90th minute -- noteworthy for being the first senior goal scored by a residency player.

Vancouver (3-2-2) has now tallied just three times in four home games, but Saturday was not for a lack of effort, chances, or even quality, except the final touch.

Ansu Toure's night summed it up. The winger embarrassed defenders, set up half his team and had seven shots. But he missed a sitter seven minutes in that would have changed the whole complexion of the game, and he failed to convert a 68th-minute penalty kick that might have opened the floodgates.

Rochester (4-2-1), a team lacking depth whose first eight games are all on the road, were weary having played Thursday night in Portland.

"I should have had more than two goals, that's how I feel," said Toure. "It was very frustrating. No matter how well you play, you lose you lose."

Some credit certainly goes to Vallow, who made a handful of quality saves. Yet the Whitecaps missed at least an equal number of chances -- four in the game's opening 10 minutes alone.

That set the stage for Rhinos goals against the flow in the 17th and 37th.

Thordarson admitted after that injured forward Marlon James would likely have scored on some of the chances. But James is out for four-to-six weeks and this group is going to have to find some finish without him.

If they don't find it by Wednesday's Nutrilite Canadian Championship game in Montreal, their CONCACAF Champions League aspirations will die a quick death.

"I think that's the best you can play without scoring," said captain Martin Nash, who could be chalked up in the frustrated column. "They created two chances and scored on both of them.

"We've got to find a way. We can't keep going and going without scoring. Someone's got to take that initiative and put the ball in the net."

mweber@theprovince.com
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