VANCOUVER, BC – There’s a lot to like about the way Vancouver Whitecaps FC battled back to earn a point in their last two games against LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, but now the focus becomes “starting off on the right foot” this weekend against San Jose Earthquakes.
That was the general tone from the ‘Caps as they returned to training on Tuesday after a dramatic comeback draw with RSL over the weekend.
“I think in the first half on Saturday, we didn’t focus on us,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters. “We focused on them and didn’t do our job correctly. But I will say that it’s easy to play when you’re losing the game. They played with no fear in the second half, two nil down, but I want them to play that way when it’s nil nil at the start of the game.”
Down 2-0 at the half, Robinson made his full allotment of subs fairly early in the second half, bringing on eventual goalscorers Nicolas Mezquida and Sebastian Fernandez – as well as Erik Hurtado, who has now been subbed on in each of Vancouver’s last four games.
“One thing I said I’d do when I took the job, was that if I was ever in a situation like this, I’d prefer to have a go at it and lose four nil,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day, we were out of the game. Sometimes, it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll probably be proactive and positive rather than not making a decision. You never know if you can get back in the game. I think we showed on Saturday that we can get back in even if it’s the last kick of the game.”
A lot of the talk on Tuesday was still about that “last kick of the game” – Fernandez’s 35-yard wonder strike in stoppage time. The goal is one of this week’s nominees for MLS Goal of the Week (voting closes Thursday at 11:59 p.m. PT).
“He doesn’t seem to score from under 30 yards does he?” said Robinson. “He practices every day … and he’s getting his rewards at the moment.”
“It was a beauty,” added Whitecaps FC defender Steven Beitashour. “I had a perfect angle right behind him. I saw that ball move. He does that every day, so it wasn’t a shock. But it was a really nice hit.”
Though Fernandez made all the headlines, Robinson was also quick to credit Beitashour’s tackle on Alvaro Saborio in midfield that set up the goal. It was Beitashour’s second assist in as many games.
“He’s been great the last few games,” Robinson said of the former Earthquakes fullback, who will be going up against his former team for the first time this weekend at BC Place. “Seba’s 35-yard strike on Saturday was all down to Steven Beitashour wanting to win that ball on the halfline. If their player makes a decision to kick it in behind, then we’re not talking here about a great comeback. We’re talking about a defeat. That was as crucial as anything.”
News and notes
- Fans are encouraged to get to their seats by 3:45 p.m. this Saturday when Whitecaps FC host the Earthquakes at BC Place. The inaugural 1974 ‘Caps team will be honoured and Bob Lenarduzzi will be inducted into the club’s newly launched Ring of Honour prior to the match.
- In keeping with the ‘70s theme leading up to Whitecaps FC’s 40th anniversary match, a few ‘Caps players turned back the clock Tuesday at training. Check out this photo.
- Following Saturday’s match against the Earthquakes, the ‘Caps are headed out east on Monday for a mid-week meeting with Toronto FC in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal. “I think you’ll see near enough every player over the next month or so,” Robinson told reporters. “We have a lot of games coming up. Our next three weeks are very full … everyone will get their chance.”
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($294), half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). 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.