PORTLAND, OREGON – Four second-half goals propelled Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a dominant 5-1 win over Portmore United in the first match of the Rose City Invitational Sunday at Providence Park.
Defender Jordan Harvey bagged a second-half brace, while Nicolas Mezquida, Darren Mattocks, and Russell Teibert each scored their first goals of the preseason in a match that saw Whitecaps FC outshoot the 10-men Jamaican outfit by a 21-9 margin.
Carl Robinson speaks to reporters after the match
"It was important we won," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "That's always important in preseason, but more importantly I was very impressed with the attacking play we showed. Obviously, getting five goals was great. I was disappointed with the chances we missed ... I know it's easy playing against 10 men, but let me tell you sometimes it's difficult playing against 10 men. I take the positives out of it but there's still a lot of stuff that I need to work on with the group."
Robinson fielded a squad composed almost entirely of MLS players on Sunday, including the team’s four most experienced defenders in Andy O’Brien, Jay DeMerit, Harvey, and recently acquired right back Steven Beitashour.
The only non-MLS player in the starting lineup was Residency goalkeeper Marco Carducci, who at 17 years old is the youngest player at camp.
After a fairly uneventful start to the match, the action picked up around the 15-minute mark when Portmore goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside the box.
The 6-foot-4 keeper was forced to come off his line after Sebastian Fernandez found an unmarked Mezquida with a great ball over the top down the middle of the park.
On the ensuing free kick, a six-man Portmore wall blocked Fernandez’s low strike from the edge of the box to keep the score level.
The ‘Caps had another great chance just a few minutes later, when Mattocks broke into the area only to see his attempt stymied by substitute Portmore keeper Gariece McPherson.
Despite going down to 10-men early, Portmore opened the scoring in the 26th minute on what was their only real chance of the match.
Against the run of play, Leaughn Williams broke in down the right flank and found a streaking Ricardo Morris inside the area. The midfielder then curled it first time just beyond the outstretched arms of Carducci to give Portmore a 1-0 lead.
From that point forward, the ‘Caps took over. They controlled possession, looked dangerous in the final third, and didn’t give their Jamaican opponents another sniff at goal.
Two players instrumental in Whitecaps FC’s dominance were Teibert, who again looked confident in a holding position, and Beitashour, who was active on the right flank.
Eventually, a deflected Beitashour cross led to Vancouver’s first goal in the 31st minute. The ball landed at Mezquida’s feet just outside the six-yard box and the Uruguayan smashed it on a half-volley into the top left corner of the goal.
Vancouver picked up where they left off in the second half, as Harvey banged in the eventual winner in the 49th minute after Erik Hurtado found him unmarked at the far post.
The early second-half marker seemed to take the wind out of Portmore’s sails, as fatigue began to take its toll.
After a handful of earlier chances, Mattocks finally found the back of the net in the 65th minute, finishing from in tight to give Whitecaps FC a 3-1 lead. Teibert set up the play with a header from midfield, just minutes after he moved up to the right wing to replace Hurtado.
Then, after Harvey scored his second goal of the match with a cross that sailed into the top right corner of the goal, Mattocks returned the favour in the 87th minute.
The Portmore native slipped an inviting pass into box before Teibert coolly finished to cap off a dominant 5-1 performance at Providence Park.
Also of note, Kekuta Manneh and Kenny Miller made their first appearances of the preseason as second-half substitutes on Sunday. Both players made an immediate impact, as Manneh set up Harvey’s second goal and nearly had one of his own in the 76th minute.
The ‘Caps continue the Rose City Invitational on Wednesday evening against Western Conference rival San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PT and the match will be streamed live on whitecapsfc.com and on the radio at TEAM 1410.
Referee: Allen Chapman
26' - PU - Ricardo Morris (Leaughn Williams)
31' - VAN - Nicolás Mezquida
49' - VAN - Jordan Harvey (Erik Hurtado, Darren Mattocks)
65' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Russell Teibert)
71' - VAN - Jordan Harvey (Kekuta Manneh)
87' - VAN - Russell Teibert (Darren Mattocks)
Shots: Vancouver 21 - Portmore 9
Saves: Vancouver 0 - Portmore 5
Fouls: Vancouver 7 - Portmore 4
Offsides: Vancouver 2 - Portmore 3
Corners: Vancouver 3 - Portmore 1
55' - VAN - Steven Beitashour
14' - PU - Jacomeno Barrett
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
44.Marco Carducci+; 33.Steven Beitashour, 40.Andy O'Brien, 6.Jay DeMerit, 2.Jordan Harvey; 20.Nigel Reo-Coker, 31.Russell Teibert; 19.Erik Hurtado (28.Gershon Koffie 64'), 29.Nicolás Mezquida (9.Kenny Miller 70'), 7.Sebastián Fernández (23.Kekuta Manneh 70'); 11.Darren Mattocks
1.David Ousted, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 8.Matt Watson, 16.Johnny Leveron, 17.Omar Salgado, 22.Christian Dean, 24.Carlyle Mitchell , 25.Andre Lewis, 27.Ethen Sampson^, 36.Bryce Alderson, 70.Paolo Tornaghi
+Whitecaps FC Residency
^Whitecaps FC U-23
32.Jacomeno Barrett (1.Gariene McPherson 16'); 29.Adrian Reid, 5.Upston Edwards (15.Rickardo Harriott 62'), 28.Kereem Manning (21.Jovan East 76'), 27.Leaunghn Williams (9.Ishmael Currie 62'); 11.Damian Williams (3.Roberto Johnson 76'), 23.Kaamal Reid (19.Ewan Grandison 45'), 8.Ricardo Morris (24.Trevol Smith 62'), 31.Alonzo Adlam (20.Adoah Nickle 45'); 50.Francois Swaby (26.Stephen Williams 45'), 14.Cleon Pryce
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.