VANCOUVER, BC – It seems hard to imagine, but Saturday night’s 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo was the first time we saw the attacking four of Fredy Montero, Yordy Reyna, Christian Bolaños and Cristian Techera start a match together for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Crazy, I know.
Injuries, international duty, and – most recently – a whole lot of travel had made that pretty much impossible up until this point. But we finally got our first real glimpse of the all-Latin American foursome on Saturday.
And they did not disappoint.
The partnership of Montero and Reyna was particularly effective for Vancouver. Montero scored a goal off a penalty kick drawn by Reyna – his team-leading 10th goal of the season. Then, Reyna curled in a world-class 20-yard strike on a play set up by … you guessed it: Montero.
“In tight games ... you need your players to step up,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “Not just them two, they got the icing on the cake with the two goals, but a number of players stepped up today. That's why I brought them in. It's nice when it works.”
It wasn't just the goals – Montero and Reyna were dangerous all night long.
Montero, in fact, created a team-high three chances through some fantastic hold-up play. It was perhaps the finest performance we’ve seen from the Colombian striker in that regard.
Here are a couple examples.
The second example you see came in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, which tells you everything you need to know about the effort Montero put into this one.
Reyna, for his part, was a menace on the dribble.
Houston simply couldn’t contain the Peruvian attacking midfielder, who drew a game-high seven fouls and won a game-high 10 duels, and was voted by fans as the Whitecaps FC Budweiser Man of the Match.
And let’s not forget about his golazo (how could we?).
“He’s like a little terrier out there, running around and pressing,” Robinson said. “There are two sides to the game, with the ball and without the ball. I think you saw the side without the ball from him today. He’s like rash, he’s all over the place. And the quality with the ball, obviously he puts one into the top corner. He was great.”
Reyna has now started three games for the 'Caps after returning from a fractured foot suffered in the preseason. Their record in those matches? 2W-0L-1D. Coincidentally, or not, Montero has scored in each of those games.
Take that for what you will. My take: Reyna makes Montero better. And vice versa.
“I think Fredy and Yordy are building a nice little bit of chemistry,” Robinson said. “And it will come. They’ve only played together three or four times unfortunately because of Reyna’s injury in the early part of the season.”
This is a partnership fans of Whitecaps FC have been waiting to see for a long time. And something tells me it’s a partnership they’ll be seeing a lot more of down the stretch.