VANCOUVER, BC – So that’s what a central midfield is supposed to look like.
Designated Player Barry Robson showed why the club is giving him the big bucks Wednesday night, and Gershon Koffie picked up the Budweiser Man of the Match award with an equally impressive performance alongside him in the heart of midfield in Vancouver Whitecaps FC's 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy.
HIGHLIGHTS: VAN 2, LA 2
It was a home debut for Robson at BC Place, and he looked dangerous throughout, scoring an impressive header from deep in the box off a Young-Pyo Lee cross.
“It’s a great ball – the ball always makes it for me,” Robson told reporters following the match. “Y.P. put in a fantastic ball and he takes as much credit as I do.”
Robson seemed to have a strong understanding with Koffie, and the pair looked untouchable at times in the first half, each getting on the scoresheet.
“He’s easy – because he’s a good player,” Robson said of playing with Koffie. “He’s a young kid and we’re going to make him better and he will get better. These are the players we need to keep at this football club. They’re the ones that are the future of this football club.”
As for Koffie, he was equally thrilled to line up beside the Scotsman in midfield – and happy to pick up a few tips.
“I’ve been playing with a lot of players and they always talk to me because I’m young,” Koffie said. “They always talk to me, so I listen to them and always do what they ask me to do.”
While that first half performance was positive and carried into the early part of the second period of play, things didn’t go quite as well as the game wound down as Vancouver began to lose the midfield battle.
“We asked those guys to control the game, and for the first 70 minutes they got in their faces and kept it for us,” captain Jay DeMerit said. “That was the disappointing part, because the last 20 minutes we didn’t do that. And that showed, because when we don’t keep the ball we give their crossers the chance to cross the ball.
“When you let the crossers with the quality they have get the ball in the box then we get spread out and that’s when goals happen. Things to work on, but it’s disappointing.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.