Notes & Quotes: Whitecaps FC vs. Toronto FC

Hear from Rennie, Koffie, Miller, Nigel Reo-Coker and more

NOTES

  • Koffie's goal was his fifth in MLS for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. All five of his goals have come in home games with one goal at Empire Field and four at BC Place.
  • Five players made their debut for Whitecaps FC: Daigo Kobayashi and Kekuta Manneh both started whilst Brad Rusin, Erik Hurtado and Nigel Reo-Coker all joined the action as substitutes.
  • Joe Cannon kept his first clean sheet of the season after keeping eight clean sheets in the 2012 season, only two shutouts off his personal best of ten.
  • Kobayashi claimed the first assist of his Whitecaps FC career.
  • Alain Rochat, Jay DeMerit and Koffie became the only players to have played in each of the 'Caps first three MLS seasons openers.
 

WHITECAPS FC – QUOTES

HEAD COACH MARTIN RENNIE

Thoughts on the match:

I think it’s very good to get our first win the first game of the season. It’s always a bit of a nervy affair, and in the first half we were a little bit scratchy in our passing and in our technique. But in the second half, we changed the system, we changed the way that we created a lot of chances, created lot of pressure, and [we] managed the ball well at the end of the game, and won one-nil, didn’t give up a lot of chances. So overall, I’m very happy about it. It’s an important win for us.  It’s a clean sheet and it starts the season off very well and hopefully sends the fans home happy.

On Reo-Cocker’s contribution to the game:

He won a lot of balls that we weren’t winning in the first half. His way of passing forward was very good, creating some good chances, some good balls in the box. And generally, he’s got a presence and a swagger about him and rubs off on other people.  You have to have that to be a good team.

Update on Jay’s status/performance of Brad Rusin

No, not yet. I didn’t like having Brad [have to] come in early. But Brad Rusin is a very good player as I’ve said a lot in preseason. He’s excellent in the air, a good passer, always a good athlete.  And I think he can be a very good player for the Whitecaps. For a long time, I’ve tried to get him to this club, for over a year. And today he showed how good a player he is. He won all the balls playing forward and I was very happy with his performance. Especially coming on, it’s not easy coming on in the home opener, under those circumstances, after a couple of minutes.  But he’s a very cool, calm kind of guy and it worked out very well for him.

On Kenny Miller’s performance:

I think Kenny did very well.  He was the captain in the preseason and I don’t think he will be overlooked. He’s a really important player for us. When you’ve got a forward running back to the corner flag against a fullback, four or five, six times in a game, you’ve got someone who cares about your club and that makes a big difference. When you see that from a player like him, it makes you very happy as a coach.

On Koffie’s game-winning goal:

It was a very good goal.  The interplay, one-twos created the chance and the layoff from Kobayashi was of a very high standard, perfect bit of pass and an excellent finish from Koffie.  And that’s what we are hoping our midfield players can contribute by getting goals.  Koffie did that in the last season and he’s started off doing that in this season, and that’s the missing ingredient for him to be a top player.

On goalkeeper choice for the game:

Both goalkeepers have done well during the preseason. We just felt, as the staff we discussed and felt Joe had done just a slightly bit better. He’s obviously been the number one goalkeeper for a long time. He’s been in the opening day many times and he knows how to handle that pressure and we just felt it was right to reward the quality of his play in preseason And getting him get a clean sheet and be comfortable was good for us today. Brad will be playing for us at some point this season, Brad is a very good goalkeeper. 

STRIKER DARREN MATTOCKS

Thoughts on the match:

This is the start of the season, you know, some of the guys have butterflies, but we executed for the win in the end.

On what to improve:

Firstly, improving my defending, holding off guys, each and every day we have to keep improving on the training ground

On troubles breaking down TFC:

I mean, they had two guys in the midfield, moving the ball was hard, their centre back, was tough to break down, but I mean, once Martin made a couple changes, we were able to break them down.

On Nigel Reo Coker:

Right away, you could see why Nigel is a good player, and game changing, and injected energy into the team going forward to get the goal. 

STRIKER KENNY MILLER

On Nigel Reo-Coker:

I think Nigel made a difference, changing the shape, and in the second half, he gave us a driving force.  It brought the goal, and there was a difference that could be seen.  Once we got the goal, we protected a little, and we fought for the 1-0 win.

On his match fitness:

I Felt pretty fit running, you want to get better, and perform better, but I think today that was one of the most important things.  We dug down a little, and withheld after we got the winning goal.

Changes after the goal:

We’ve got to remain strong, and if you look at last season, in the last 10 minutes of the game, we dropped some points.  You start thinking that today is another one of those days, but Nigel came out, and in the end, we were very very happy.

MIDFIELDER NIGEL REO-COKER

On his first minutes on the field:

It was great, I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s a new challenge for me, something that I look forward to.

On his match fitness:

I felt great, all I did was be myself, that’s what the manager brought me here for.  Some people would say that I’m a natural born leader, I’m very vocal in the right way, not in a disrespectful way, and I came onto the field of play, and was Nigel Reo Coker

Thoughts on the first half:

I thought the boys played well, I just thought with the ability and quality that we have, all that was needed was a little more injection, bit more tempo to our game.  I thought if we stepped up our tempo, a little bit more, we would get the result.

On the atmosphere:

It was a great atmosphere, like I said, I enjoyed every minute of it, my first MLS game, I took it real on board and it was fantastic.  I couldn’t ask for any more.

MIDFIELDER GERSHON KOFFIE

On scoring the goal:

It’s a good feeling, but most of all, I give credit to my teammates for helping me get this goal, and I’m very excited that we got those three points.

The second half we were a bit more offensive, I saw the angle to the goal, I followed the goal, and I finished. The dance was a Ghanaian dance. 

 

TORONTO FC – QUOTES

 

HEAD COACH RYAN NELSEN

Thoughts on the match:

Obviously, I thought the first half was very good.  We knew that Vancouver were playing the season opener at home and would come out strong, but I think we dictated the first half and had a couple of very good opportunities. The second half, we probably didn’t withstand the 15 minutes that Vancouver had and they got their goal.

On what the team can take out of this for thier next matches:

We have a few new players that were playing their first game, that didn’t have the preseason under their belt, that were probably fatiguing at the end.

For the first game away from home, I was really happy for the guys. This team is only going to get stronger. This is the first game for Rob and Hogan, and Morgan’s just come back from injury, so we know we had a few guys up there that didn’t have the luxury of a preseason and we will only get better. 

STRIKER ROBERT EARNSHAW

Thoughts on the match

I really enjoyed it. It was really good. I thought we really stepped up, especially in the first half. I think the difference was [that] they were a little bit more comfortable. Overall, it was a very very tight game. I thought probably a draw was a fair result, but we still lost. Overall, the one goal was the difference. I can see we are going to get better.

On when he found out his paperwork went though:

It was actually this morning. Even last night, I didn’t know if I was playing or not. Considering I haven’t played many minutes in the last few months, it was good to get out there.

On playing in MLS:

Everything I expected was there. During the game, I was thinking I made the right decision. I was enjoying myself. And that’s the one thing you need to have, enjoying yourself.

DEFENDER DANNY CALIFF

Thoughts on the match and what his team can take out of it:

I think it was a pretty good game. We came out with a lot of heart and a lot of effort and I think we strung together a really good 45 minutes. We dictated the game, we possessed the ball and we were pretty much able to do what we wanted to do in the first 45.

In the second half, the ‘Caps pressed us a little bit more. They stepped up their level of energy and they did a good job of disrupting plays and breaking up plays and did a better job of picking up second balls than they did in the first half. It was a bit more of an even match and certainly I thought they put us in a lot of pressure for the first 15 minutes.

But overall, certainly for us, it was positive in that we got a game under our belts, we got 90 minutes in this kind of intensity. It was one of the first times a lot of us had played together with the new additions. I think we did a lot of good things. We showed a lot of effort, a lot of heart, a lot of fight and those are the things that will be important going forward. Nobody ever likes to lose and I don’t think we’re happy right now. But I think looking back in a few days once we can calm down a little bit, I think we’ll be able to take some positives from tonight.

MIDFIELDER TERRY DUNFIELD

Thoughts on how the team played:

Take away the goal and I think there were more positives than negatives. I think considering we’ve only been together for a short time we did quite well.

Thoughts on what they can improve upon and the positives from the match

It’s still early and we’ll watch the video and analyze it, but I think for the majority of the game we kept Vancouver at bay and they didn’t really look like scoring, and unfortunately that 15-minute spell after the second half, we’d almost seen it through and they were able to score.