Fresh off a nine-day break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC came from behind for a 2-1 victory against the LA Galaxy on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
There were plenty of promising signs from Marc Dos Santos’ men so without further ado, let’s jump straight into the Film Room.
You just knew we were going to bring it up.
The Colombian duo of Cristian Dájome and Deiber Caicedo put in electric performances for the ‘Caps in Saturday night’s victory, with both cementing their names on the scoresheet.
Putting their goals aside, the pair was heavily influential in pretty much every single move the ‘Caps made going forward.
Take the 36th-minute half-chance from Dájome (at 2:36 in the match highlight package above).
In a first half which saw the ‘Caps largely contained by the Galaxy, Caicedo decides to take a risk and turn on his man instead of playing the ball back to keep the ‘Caps in possession.
The young Colombian plays a smart ball out wide to Cristian Gutiérrez and keeps the move flowing with a pass into the middle for Dájome, who drives his shot just wide of the target.
It’s important to note the chance only took three passes from the halfway line for the ‘Caps to conjure up and a nifty turn from Caicedo in the middle of the park to open the Galaxy up.
Turning the page to Dájome’s go-ahead goal, the ‘Caps were able to sustain some Galaxy pressure, win the ball back and send the trio of Caicedo, Dájome and Brian White on the counter.
GOAL: Cristian Dájome, Vancouver Whitecaps - 77th minute
Caicedo does well to run at the Galaxy backline and then move the ball out wide to White, who finds Dájome in the Galaxy penalty area.
Give lots of credit to Dájome for being patient in the area and waiting for the space to open up, as well as White for pulling the ball back to give the Colombian a better look at goal.
If the ‘Caps can continue creating chances on the counter, expect Dájome and Caicedo to offer opposing defences plenty of problems.
Dájome finished the match with a goal, seven duels won, six crosses, three successful dribbles and one key pass, while Caicedo registered a goal, four crosses, three duels won, one successful dribble and one key pass.
With matches coming up thick and fast, the ‘Caps will hope Don Dei and Don Cris can continue bringing some Colombian magic to the pitch.
The past couple games have seen the ‘Caps concede late goals, including some from winning positions.
However, on Saturday night, it wouldn’t prove to be the case, as the ‘Caps kept their shape deep into the second half and prevented the Galaxy from mounting a late surge for an equalizer.
Take these two instances from the latter stages of the match.
Skip to 6:36 of the match highlight package above. The ‘Caps keep a high line and cut passing lanes to prevent the Galaxy from building out of the back, while Caicedo pressures Galaxy centre back Nick DePuy into making a decision.
‘Caps captain Russell Teibert does well to cut out the pass and immediately pass the ball up to Caicedo to put the Galaxy on the back foot.
The ball eventually makes its way to White, who’s able to get a shot on goal and create a chance for himself.
Moments later, at 7:01 of the highlight reel, the ‘Caps once again keep a high line and cut out passing lanes, forcing the Galaxy back to the halfway line.
Then, Tosaint Ricketts continues the pressure and makes an incredible, inch-perfect tackle on Galaxy centre back Daniel Steres to give Dájome a one-on-one chance with Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond.
The Colombian unfortunately drives his shot narrowly wide, but the point is in past games, we’d see the ‘Caps drop back, make more defensive switches to the system, and soak pressure inside their area.
In this match, the ‘Caps forced the Galaxy into misplacing the ball high up the field and prevent them from gaining any sort of rhythm late in the match, while also creating some great goalscoring opportunities for the likes of White and Dájome on the counter.
Caicedo and Dájome will grab most of the headlines after Saturday’s win, but special mentions have to go out to midfielder Janio Bikel and defender Javain Brown.
The pair were a huge part of the ‘Caps success in possession and keeping the Galaxy at bay for large parts of the second half.
Bikel finished the match with 90% pass success rate (game-high among starting midfielders and forwards), 10 duels won, a game-high seven dribbles, four tackles, one interception and one block.
In addition, the midfielder now sits in the top 73 percentile in MLS in tackles per 90 minutes, with 2.81.
As for Brown, the rookie right back registered a game-high seven tackles, 84% pass success rate, eight duels won, a team-high three interceptions, two clearances and one block.
With his latest performance, the youngster now sits in the top 90 percentile in MLS in tackles per 90 minutes with 3.22 and the top 98 percentile in aerials won with 2.54. Talk about a rookie!
It’s safe to say both Bikel and Brown quietly showed their moments of quality against the Galaxy, meaning the ‘Caps will need the pair to continue their good form in the coming weeks.
The Blue and White will now look to build off their latest win against Western Conference rivals Houston Dynamo FC this Tuesday, July 20 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and you can catch the match live on TSN1/4 and AM730. Pre-game shows start at 6:30 pm (TV) and 6 p.m. (radio). All times in PT.