Three things: May 30

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC put on a show for the sold-out crowd on Saturday afternoon at BC Place, defeating Real Salt Lake 2-1 in their final home match until mid-July.


Here are three things that stood out to me.


ROBBO’S CHALLENGE

As Carl Robinson put it, the ‘Caps were "absolutely excellent" in the first half. Yet, the score was 1-1.


We’ve seen that story before, but Robinson didn’t want to see it again.


“I was dreading coming in here and saying to you guys, ‘Oh we played well but we didn’t win,’’ Robinson told reporters after the match. “At halftime I said, ‘Well played but I’m sick of saying well played and not winning.’ The group can go to a very special place if they really believe they can and they want to win. Today, I found out a lot about them.”


So did the 21,000 fans in attendance at BC Place.


It’s easy to single out the goalscorers (and I will below), but this was a true team effort. From goalkeeper David Ousted to striker Octavio Rivero, every Whitecaps FC player seemed to bring their A game.


It resulted in quite the performance, and more importantly, three valuable points.


TWO-HEADED MONSTER

OK, that Gershon Koffie strike was something special (it's pretty good in slow motion, too). But you don’t need me to tell you that.


I was equally impressed with how Koffie read the play and picked Joao Plata’s pocket before sending the sold-out crowd into a frenzy – something he spoke about after the match.

This was easily Koffie’s best performance of the season (and fittingly, it came on a night he started his 100th MLS regular season match). As you can see below, he and his central midfield partner Matias Laba combined for a whopping 17 tackles (which is tied for the most by two players on the same team this season). Remarkably, the ‘Caps won possession back on all but one of those tackles.

Three things from Saturday's win over Real Salt Lake -

Talk about a two-headed monster.  


“Gershon has shown on his day that he can arguably be one of the best midfield players in the league, without a doubt,” Robinson said. “What I don’t want is for him to play well one game and then not so well two or three games. Rusty wasn’t quite ready today and he’s been excellent for me, and Mati is Mati. We’ve got great competition for places there.”


THE BUG COMES UP BIG

In my books, 5-foot-2 Uruguayan Cristian Techera has been one of Vancouver’s most dangerous attacking players in the month of May. And he got his reward on Saturday afternoon in the form of his first MLS goal – a day before his 23rd birthday.


“The Bug,” as they call him, now has a goal and an assist in five appearances and just 267 minutes.


“He brings an energy about him, he’s dynamic, and he scores goals,” Robinson said. “If you look at this record prior to when came here, he scored goals and that’s one thing we need our wide players to do if we’re going to play the shape that we do. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals; he’s scored many better goals than that but we’ll take it.”


Sure, it wasn’t the nicest goal, but Techera made up for it with his celebration.


After The Bug was squished by his teammates, he got up and made a call with his boot-turned-phone.


“I told my family I’d score a goal and send it to them,” Techera said through a translator.


He’s a man of his word.

Three things from Saturday's win over Real Salt Lake -

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