Whitecaps FC open 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League with 1-0 win over Caribbean champions Central FC

COUVA, TT – It was a long journey – the longest trip Vancouver Whitecaps FC will make this year.

Over 7,000 kilometers from Vancouver. And over 4,000 kilometres from Dallas, where the ‘Caps departed from just yesterday. But it was worth it in the end.

A youthful Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CCL: 1W-0L-0D) side opened the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-0 win over two-time defending Trinidadian and Caribbean champions Central FC (CCL: 0W-1L-0D) on Tuesday night at Ato Boldon Stadium.

The match was played in the west-central town of Couva, Trinidad and Tobago.

Cristian Techera scored the game’s only goal in the 34th minute, while WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey made five saves – all in the first half – to keep the clean sheet in his first-team debut.

The ‘Caps now sit atop Group C after Day 1 of this year’s competition.

Both Whitecaps FC and Central FC are second-timers in the CONCACAF Champions League, a 24-team competition between the top clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The other team in Group C is fellow MLS outfit Sporting Kansas City.

As expected, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made a number of changes to his starting lineup after facing FC Dallas in the 40-degree Texas heat on Sunday – and with another tough test coming up this weekend in Colorado.

In fact, he fielded an entirely different team.

Regulars Nicolas Mezquida and Cristian Techera got the start, as did the likes of Fraser Aird, Russell Teibert, and Erik Hurtado, but there were also some relatively new faces.

Notably, Richey made his first-team debut after a record-setting performance on Friday. And he was joined by his WFC2 teammate Brett Levis, who helped set up Techera’s tally.

Also of note, centre back David Edgar – one of five Canadians in Vancouver's starting lineup – made his competitive debut with Whitecaps FC, partnering in the middle of defence with Pa-Modou Kah, who wore the captain's armband. 

Both sides had some decent chances in what was an entertaining opening frame.

Central FC controlled possession slightly, but the ‘Caps looked more dangerous going forward.

Kah headed a corner over goal, Aird came close on a couple opportunities at the back post, and Techera caused all sorts of problems for the Sharks backline.  

“The Bug” got his reward in the 34th minute.

The play started when Levis found Hurtado at the corner of the box with a nice ball from the left. Hurtado then beat his man to the endline before feeding Techera, who volleyed in the game’s opening goal from close range.

At the other end of the park, Richey was busy in the first half with five saves – none bigger than a diving stop in injury time before Edgar slid in to clean up the rebound.

Central once again controlled possession in the second frame, but aside from a long-range effort from Nathaniel Garcia in the 50th minute, they never really came close to levelling the match.

Meanwhile, Whitecaps FC threatened on the counter, but Techera’s first half marker would be all they needed to secure the three points and their first-ever win away from home in CCL play.

The ‘Caps continue their 2016-17 Champions League campaign against Sporting Kansas City on August 23 at BC Place (7 p.m. PT – tickets still available). But for now they shift their focus back to MLS play, starting with a visit to Colorado on Saturday (6 p.m. PT on TSN2/TSN 1040). 

GROUP C STANDINGS

TEAM

GP

W

L

D

GD

PTS

Whitecaps FC

1

1

0

0

+1

3

Central FC

1

0

1

0

-1

0

Sporting KC

0

0

0

0

0

0

GROUP C SCHEDULE

DATE

HOME

AWAY

VENUE

RESULT/TIME

Aug. 2

Central FC

Whitecaps FC

Ato Boldon Stadium

0-1

Aug. 16

Central FC

Sporting KC

Ato Boldon Stadium

5 p.m. PT

Aug. 23

Whitecaps FC

Sporting KC

BC Place

7 p.m. PT

Sept. 13

Sporting KC

Whitecaps FC

Children’s Mercy Park

5 p.m. PT

Sept. 28

Whitecaps FC

Central FC

BC Place

7 p.m. PT

Oct. 19

Sporting KC

Central FC

Children’s Mercy Park

5 p.m. PT

MATCH DETAILS

Referee: Sherwin Moore

Scoring Summary
34’ – VAN – Cristian Techera (Erik Hurtado)

Stats
Possession: Central 55.8 % – Vancouver 44.2 %
Shots: Central 14 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Central 5 – Vancouver 5
Saves: Central 4 – Vancouver 5
Fouls: Central 12 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: Central 0 – Vancouver 5
Corners: Central 1 – Vancouver 6

Cautions
38’ – VAN – Erik Hurtado
60’ – VAN – Pa-Modou Kah
82’ – CFC – Andre Ettienne
85’ – CFC – Keion Goodridge

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
39.Spencer Richey; 6.Jordan Smith, 44.Pa-Modou Kah ©, 18.David Edgar, 46.Brett Levis; 30.Ben McKendry, 31.Russell Teibert; 8.Fraser Aird, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (38.Kianz Froese 89’), 13.Cristian Techera (67.Alphonso Davies 66’); 19.Erik Hurtado (47.Kyle Greig 74')

Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 14.Cole Seiler, 32.Marco Bustos, 51.Sem de Wit

Central FC
1.Javon Sample; 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 4.Andre Ettienne, 24.Kevon Villaroel, 3.Keion Goodridge; 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 6.Leston Paul ©, 8.Sean de Silva (16.Kadeem Corbin 87’), 11.Darren Mitchell (99.Marcus Joseph 72’); 14.Nicholas Dillon (10.Keron Cummings 51’), 7.Jason Marcano

Substitutes not used
30.Akel Clarke, 12.Elton John, 18.Jomoul Francois, 26.Jem Gordon

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