Our ‘Caps had to dig deep to remain unbeaten and get their second consecutive road draw on Saturday against a New England team desperate to put some points on the board in their home opener.
So, what did we learn?
Ousted shows off his reflexes with potential Save of the Week
It was no surprise that New England came out of the gates flying in their home opener, as they were coming off two subpar performances. The ‘Caps managed to weather the early storm and goalkeeper David Ousted had a lot to do with that.
His save in the fifth minute will no doubt be up for MLS Save of the Week and could even get a shout for Save of the Year. In addition to his three saves, Ousted commanded his box well by coming out for crosses and diving at the feet of New England’s forwards.
Now, in three matches, our Great Dane has conceded just two goals this season. He misread the goal against New York, which he took responsibility for, and the other was a deflection that didn’t give him much of a chance.
At this rate, you have to think that only something special or fluky has a chance at beating him.
Substitute Pedro Morales sends free kick just wide of the post
There are two things that I have learned about head coach Carl Robinson so far this season: he is one of the most dapper looking managers on the sidelines and he has a good feel for the game and isn’t afraid to make adjustments.
As a recent player in Major League Soccer, Robinson knows how valuable a point is on the road. When you’re close to getting one, many coaches will decide to park the bus and run home with that point.
I really don’t sense that with Robinson, as he has made attacking-minded substitutions in each of the last two games. Even in the last 10 minutes, he was still urging his team forward to get the three points.
This could have cost the ‘Caps in both games, as it creates the possibility of becoming more vulnerable at the back. But if you hear him talk about road games, the risk is worth it.
We know it’s tough on the road in MLS, but Robinson is trying to instill a more positive approach from his players away from BC Place. It’s a culture change for our ‘Caps on the road and it’s one that I believe will benefit them in the long run.
Playing in possession
Highlights: New England Revolution 0-0 Whitecaps FC
When the preseason starts and you have a number of new players on board, coaches often tell you that it’s much easier to get the defensive side right as opposed to the attacking side.
We’ve seen that in Vancouver’s last two games, as we’ve looked more comfortable without the ball than in possession. Our defending has been a bright spot, but now it’s a matter of getting the right combinations in the attack.
This will take time as the players learn each other’s tendencies. The key is to get improved movement off the ball, so the player in possession has better options and doesn’t feel the need to do it all himself.
The game is much slower when you’re watching it as a spectator, but on the field you receive the ball, look up, and have to make split-second decisions. You can see the talent this squad has and this phase of play will get better as the players become more familiar with each other.
And when that happens, this is a team that won’t be kept off the scoresheet very often.
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