What we learned vs. Toronto FC

Valentine on young 'Caps: "They've proved they belong"

Teibert TWO ONE

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

It was another heartbreaking exit from the Amway Canadian Championship as our Caps’ won the home leg 2-1 to level the aggregate score at 3-3, before falling on penalty kicks.

So, what did we learn?

Highlights: Whitecaps FC 2-1 Toronto FC

Defining moments

Before we get into Wednesday’s game, I want to take you back to the offseason when our club was looking to appoint a new head coach for the upcoming Major League Soccer season. It was obviously a big decision on several fronts.

One of those reasons was the importance of hiring a new coach that believed in the youth system this club had put in place – a coach that gave young players opportunities to play while keeping the team competitive at the same time.

Carl Robinson would be that man, and he has lived up to his word so far. The performance we saw on Wednesday night at BC Place from a youthful ‘Caps side, not to mention the one we saw last week in Toronto, has set this club up for success now and in the near future.

While the crowd went home disappointed by the result, they were also buzzing by what they had seen from their team. Judging by the noise that was made at BC Place, our fans now know so much more about the squad that has been put together and how good they can become.

Yes, there’s much work to be done to become a top MLS team but it’s not hard to see that Robinson is the right man to lead this club forward and unleash the potential we have in so many young players. You can feel the energy in this city about this team and the fans could have lifted the roof off BC Place if it wasn’t already open.

Hurtado scores his second goal in as many games

Quality performances

There were so many quality performances from the ‘Caps on Wednesday night. Goalkeeper Marco Carducci, 17, could have crumbled after Toronto scored early on, yet he kept us in the game with a couple of great saves, which will only help his game go to another level.

Centre backs Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell showed that they can step in any time and be our starting centre backs if needed.

And as good as Matias Laba and Gershon Koffie have been as our two holding midfielders, we shouldn’t be alarmed if Russell Teibert or Bryce Alderson have to step in from time to time.

We all know about Kekuta Manneh, and in recent weeks we’ve started to see the emergence of Erik Hurtado, and now we can add Omar Salgado to the mix of talented striking options at our disposal. Nigel Reo-Coker also put in a solid shift at right back. And of course, Pedro Morales was Pedro Morales.

Robinson speaks to reporters after the match

No fear

As disappointing as the result was, to me it really felt like we had won something (and we did win 2-1 on the night). Our young players showed in a pressure situation that they could handle it, playing a brand of soccer that is only going to get better.

They just didn’t go out there and compete, they played a very experienced Toronto FC side off the park for large periods of the game, creating some wonderful chances to put the game out of sight.

There’s no doubt that Robinson’s squad is more complete after this performance. He has instilled a never say die attitude and has the young players going out onto the field with no fear.

They didn’t panic after giving up an early goal and even though they have not played many games together, they didn’t give up on the style of play the coaching staff has established here.

When you look back on this game, it’s hard not to be excited by the hunger and courage the ‘Caps showed – not to mention the exciting brand of soccer they produced on the night. And all this comes on the heels of a first-class performance in Columbus that got us our first road win of the season.

Would I like to still be in the Amway Canadian Championship? Of course, but this game was huge for us as the season moves forward. We have a deep squad to work with and the coaching staff will have no hesitation putting out any of our young players when needed. They’ve proved they belong.

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.