What we learned vs. San Jose Earthquakes

"It was one of our best matches, home or away, for some time."

What we learned vs San Jose - Davidson

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USA Today Sports Images

Our ‘Caps got a hard-earned point on the road Saturday in a 0-0 draw with San Jose Earthquakes.

So what did we learn?

Highlights: San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 Whitecaps FC

There is still life

This is the response the fans were looking for from the ‘Caps, as they came out battling for their playoff lives and scrapped their way to a valuable point.

It was an inspired performance full of courage and commitment. Right from the opening whistle, Vancouver showed their intent as they came out pressing San Jose, attacking the flanks and getting crosses into the box. It was one of our best matches, home or away, for some time.

This was a performance that should give fans lots of hope as we make a run for the playoffs. There seemed to be a lot more belief from the boys. They really came together as a team and showed lots of fire, as they took the game to the Earthquakes.

Setting the tone early was a key for Martin Rennie’s side and they certainly did that. There were good performances all over the field, the defending was sound, we contested the midfield and there were a number of dangerous crosses into the box.

DeMerit's second-half header misses high

Skipper is back

Already without centre backs Andy O’Brien and Johnny Leveron, we took another blow when Brad Rusin (just back from injury) could not continue late in the first half.

This meant throwing Jay DeMerit into the fray – maybe before he was fully ready. But as DeMerit has done many times before, he beat the odds and put in a Man of the Match performance after being out for over six months with a torn Achilles.

He and fellow centre back Carlyle Mitchell, who had an outstanding game in his own right, looked like they have been playing together for years.

DeMerit’s showing reminded us all what we have missed since he went down with an injury less than five minutes into our first game of the season. His presence and leadership were front and centre, as he captained the ‘Caps to an important point and made several clearances to keep San Jose off the board. He even came close to scoring an all-important goal, but his header just went over the bar.

This could well be the spark Vancouver needs.

Vancouver nearly converts after extended spell of possession

Balanced midfield

We controlled the middle of the park for stretches of the game and I believe the play of Jun Marques Davidson had a big role in that.

Davidson gave us the right balance that allowed Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker to join in many attacks that made us look the most dangerous for a long time. He also allowed both our fullbacks to get forward. On one occasion, Young-Pyo Lee crossed the ball into the box and Jordan Harvey just missed getting on the end of it.

The Japanese holding midfielder is one of the most talked about players on this team regarding his performances. We have missed his presence, as he has a calming influence on the team with his short and precise passes. He keeps us in possession and protects the back four, which allows others to do their thing.