NEWPORT, WALES – First win of the preseason: check.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated the development side of English Football League One outfit Oxford United FC 4-0 on Monday in their second of three matches in Wales. Erik Hurtado, Marcel de Jong, Kyle Greig, and Cristian Techera provided the scoring and each added an assist on a rainy afternoon at Dragon Park.
"We played a lot of good football," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "The guys looked a little bit more advanced in their fitness than we were last year, because we need to be. It was a good outing … and a decent all-around performance.”
Robinson fielded the same starting XI as he did three days ago against Cardiff City FC, featuring goalkeeper David Ousted, a back line of Jake Nerwinski, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, and Jordan Harvey, a midfield duo of Matias Laba and Andrew Jacobson, and an attacking foursome of wingers Alphonso Davies and de Jong, and forwards Hurtado and Kekuta Manneh, who once again played centrally as a withdrawn striker.
Most of them played 60 minutes, with the exception of Parker and Dean, who both went 90.
"They've been excellent," Robinson said of the duo. "Obviously we have Kendall who's hopefully going to be back on Thursday. Ideally, I wouldn't have liked to play them for 90 minutes each but we are down to the bare bones in relation to trying to get players minutes. They're comfortable enough playing 90 minutes because they're both young boys who are very fit."
Much like the Cardiff outing, Monday's match got off to a physical start with both sides getting stuck in on some meaty tackles. But the 'Caps still managed to play some bright stuff, with each of the two lineups scoring a pair of goals.
Hurtado got things started in the 13th minute with a classy first-time finish on a pinpoint delivery from de Jong. Then, Hurtado returned the favour in the 56th minute. After some fine work by Nerwinski in the corner, Hurtado found de Jong at the near post and the Canadian international directed it in first time with his left foot.
Robinson made nine changes at the hour-mark, bringing on goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, defenders Francis de Vries and Daniel Lovitz, midfielders Ben McKendry and Russell Teibert just in front of them, an attacking threesome of Marco Bustos, Nicolas Mezquida, and Techera, and Greig up top.
And the 'Caps picked up right where they left off.
In the 80th minute, Vancouver added a third goal through Greig, who finished with his left foot after a cross from Lovitz. Techera actually started the play in midfield, however, with a nice turn before picking out Lovitz on the left wing. Techera then scored Vancouver's fourth and final goal of the afternoon in the 87th minute. This time, Greig started the play with a throughball to Mezquida, before the Uruguayan unselfishly slipped over a pass to his countrymate for an easy finish.
"We always try and play through teams or around teams," Robinson said. "Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. Today, I think the timings were right, the understanding of when to move and where to move was on. We played against a decent team who were very competitive. There was a lot of good stuff, but there’s still a lot of stuff we need to improve on."
The 'Caps controlled the match from start to finish, but Oxford did have a few chances in the final half-hour – forcing Tornaghi into a pair of diving saves.
Whitecaps FC conclude their preseason tour in the UK on Thursday against the development side of English Football League Championship outfit Bristol City FC (4 a.m. PT/12 p.m. local at The Vale – Hensol Park).
13’ - VAN - Erik Hurtado (Marcel de Jong, Alphonso Davies)
56’ - VAN - Marcel de Jong (Erik Hurtado)
80’ - VAN - Kyle Greig (Daniel Lovitz, Cristian Techera)
87’ - VAN - Cristian Techera (Nicolas Mezquida, Kyle Greig)
Shots: Oxford 5 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Oxford 3 – Vancouver 6
Saves: Oxford 2 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: Oxford 6 – Vancouver 12
Offsides: Oxford 2 – Vancouver 1
Corners: Oxford 1 – Vancouver 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted (70.Paolo Tornaghi 60'); 28.Jakob Nerwinski* (33.Francis de Vries* 60'), 26.Tim Parker, 22.Christian Dean, 2.Jordan Harvey (35.Daniel Lovitz~ 60'); 8.Andrew Jacobson (30.Ben McKendry 60'), 15.Matias Laba (31.Russell Teibert 60'); 67.Alphonso Davies (32.Marco Bustos 60'), 23.Kekuta Manneh (11.Nicolas Mezquida 60'), 17.Marcel de Jong (13.Cristian Techera 60'); 19.Erik Hurtado (47.Kyle Greig 60')
^ Member of WFC2
* Unsigned MLS SuperDraft selection
~ Unsigned camp invitee