There’s a lot to like about the Vancouver Whitecaps sophomore season in Major League Soccer. Manager Martin Rennie has done a great job tweaking the roster and turning the tactical knobs.
But you can’t teach everything; some of the critical learning has to happen along the way.
For instance, teams must learn the art of closing out games. They must learn to suck the life right out of a match’s final few minutes, demoralizing the opposition by faithfully retaining possession and by ruthlessly snuffing out chances before they become real chances.
The Whitecaps don’t have it down just yet, clearly.
They led 2-1 late Saturday at BC Place in the Cascadia Cup meeting with Seattle. So how did it become a 2-2 draw?
Whitecaps defender Martin Bonjour got too aggressive, attempting to do too much. Instead of calmly keeping the defensive shape, he came across fellow center back Jay DeMerit to challenge for a speculative ball played into Vancouver’s third. And when he didn’t win that ball, Seattle’s Fredy Montero had a chance to do what he does – be a difference maker.
Montero’s goal was a beauty; scroll down a little more, and I’m sure you’ll agree.
Then in stoppage time, Seattle’s Zach Scott is left wide, wide open on a free kick, one that Montero puts into a great spot. The Whitecaps got lucky not to concede a winner there.
Vancouver (5-3-3) will be no worse than tied for fourth in the West when Round 11 is done tomorrow. They’ll stay there by learning how to manage matches just a little better.