Our Vancouver Whitecaps FC went into D.C. and came away with a hard fought 1-0 victory on a Camilo penalty.
So what did we learn?
There is no doubt that we were on the end of some calls that went our way, which had not been the case early on in the season.
We often heard Martin Rennie say after our games that the calls will even out over the year and now we are seeing that. It seemed every time we made a mistake it would end in the back of our net. Probably how D.C. United is feeling right now.
However, we have kept a positive attitude all season long and again put in another good road performance. We took what was given to us and won our fifth in seven games.
When you look at a team like Portland that is unbeaten in 15 games, they are obviously having a fantastic season. But while we seem to be plodding along (only a while ago some were calling for a coaching change), the fact is right now if we were to win our game that we have in hand on the Timbers, we would be just two points behind Portland. And if we won both of our two games in hand over Real Salt Lake, we would be two points off the top of the Western Conference.
One of my Keys to the Game was to find the right balance on the road that we have at home.
Shutting out DC United will earn us about as much credit as only conceding one goal to Chivas USA – not two of the most prolific scoring teams in MLS. But in the end it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s not about the opponents, it’s about our team and how we perform.
When you look at the few chances D.C. had on our goal, it was a rock solid defensive performance. Even in the first half when we were trying to get ourselves into the game and they had some good possession, we really did not look in trouble much in the match.
It felt to me we really looked comfortable defending their attacks and were still able to create the best chances on goal. This was a much better balance with and without the ball, and that was the key to getting a great result on the road.
Matt Watson is never going to get the accolades our front trio have had lately (even though he got some good write-ups after his performance against LA in the playoffs). But you can guarantee he is going to give everything for the team when he steps on the field.
A lot of his work goes unnoticed as he is breaking up plays, cutting out passing lanes, or covering for other players. He did a great job (as well as Davidson) against D.C. in giving lots of protection to the back four and covering for Reo-Coker and Harvey when they bombed forward down the wings. He put in another workman-like shift that earned him a Budweiser Man of the Match award after earning the penalty that led to the deciding goal.
Every team needs players like Matt Watson who complement the other players on the field and don’t mind at all being that unsung hero. His contributions do not get noticed much, but it helps get the job done.