What we learned vs. New York Red Bulls
Our ‘Caps put on a masterful performance in front of a sellout crowd in their 2014 Major League Soccer season opener Saturday at BC Place.
After a Kenny Miller penalty in the first half, Carl Robinson’s side really turned on the heat in the second half, scoring three more goals en route to a convincing 4-1 victory over New York Red Bulls – last year’s top team in the regular season.
So, what did we learn?
A standout performance – with and without the ball
"The Uruguyan announces his arrival in Major League Soccer"
Usually, when your striker scores two goals he is almost always named the man of the match. And although Miller would have been a fine choice on Saturday, newcomer Sebastian Fernandez could not be ignored on a night when there were several standout performances.
The little Uruguayan stung the hands of New York goalkeeper Robles with a long-range drive just before halftime and that was just a warning. Ten minutes into the second half, he got his just rewards with an unstoppable 25-yard drive into the top corner of the net.
Fernandez, who ran himself into the ground by harassing the Red Bulls to help win balls back, was integral in keeping the ‘Caps in possession. It was a solid performance, with and without the ball, that would and could not be ignored in the Budweiser Man of the Match voting.
Magic from Morales
Morales scores in his debut, capping off a thrilling opener
That’s how much time new Whitecaps FC Designated Player Pedro Morales saw Saturday at BC Place, and that’s all he needed.
From the moment he stepped foot in the field, Morales had the fans on their feet with his deft touches, awareness of his teammates on the park, and wide range of passing skills.
The ‘Caps were already in control before the Chilean came on in the 65th minute, but they took it to another level when he entered the fray, capping off the night with his first of what looks to be many MLS goals this season.
You have to be excited by a player who has only been in town four days after travels between Spain, Portland, New York, and Vancouver. For Morales to fit in like he did, without really having had much of a chance to train with his new teammates, is surely a sign of good things to come.
Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4-1 New York Red Bulls
It was a game that we were all looking forward and it just got better and better as the night went on. Before the game, I went outside to visit our fans in the wet and windy conditions. They were so pumped to see the new team in action – it could have been bright and sunny as far as they were concerned.
I can only imagine what they were thinking by the end of the game as our boys gave last year's Supporters Shield winners a football lesson.
As happy as I am for the team and fans, I’m also delighted for our new head coach Carl Robinson and his staff. Carl has the players buying into how he believes the game should be played, and while there is still much work to be done, you can see how good this team can be and how much they want to do well for their new coach. They’re a team that is young, hungry, confident and perhaps above all – a team that won’t be outworked anywhere on the field.
We shouldn’t get carried away because it was only one game, but if that one game was any indication, this is the team we’ve all been waiting for.
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