Yordy Reyna

Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper
Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Whitecaps 3rd-string GK withstands Fire onslaught to win surprise 1st start

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This is going to be a heck of a story for as long as Thomas Hasal lives.

Vancouver’s 21-year-old third-string goalkeeper got a clean sheet in his first MLS start on Thursday, days after wondering if he’d even have a backup for the 2-0 win over Chicago.

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As detailed earlier this week, the MLS is Back tournament relies on the relative safety provided by “The Bubble,” where players are cleared as safe from the coronavirus and cannot re-enter if they leave.

Maxime Crepeau broke his thumb Tuesday and backup keeper Bryan Meredith had left the bubble following the sudden death of his mother. The league’s pool goalkeeper also left the bubble and the MLS transfer window is closed.

Fortunately, logic prevailed and Montreal loaned 19-year-old goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois to the ‘Caps on a one-day deal.

Sirois wasn’t needed, as Hasal saw Chicago attempt 25 shots but handled the four that made their way to him to keep a zero on the board.

Yordy Reyna had a goal and an assist in the win, Cristian Dajome scoring the other Vancouver goal.

Remarkably, the ‘Caps passed Chicago for the third place in Group B, overcoming an 0-2 start to advance to the knockout rounds. Another loan, Jonathan? The ‘Caps and Fire won’t meet for at least another round.

USMNT set to focus on result against Peru

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The United States fell to a 4-2 defeat to Colombia on Thursday, and the feeling after that match was overtly positive despite the final score. The team of mostly youngsters was more than competitive against a side that featured several well-known stars – James Rodriguez, Falcao, Juan Cuadrado to name a few – and only a pair of late goals proved the difference.

That will be less acceptable on Tuesday as the USMNT gets set to take on Peru at Rentschler Field in East Hartford at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Against a team with fewer recognizable stars and less international pedigree, a loss with positives will be far more difficult to swallow, especially after Thursday’s result. While Peru is certainly no CONMEBOL pushover – they’re coming off a 3-0 whipping of Chile – the opponent’s public perception goes a long way in determining the acceptability of a defeat in an international friendly.

Given the positive yet mistake-riddled performance against Colombia, a big focus will be on correcting mistakes. On Thursday, we saw some spotty man marking (see: Yedlin on Borja’s goal), poor wing play against speedy midfielders (see: Antonee Robinson vs Cuadrado), and struggles keeping up on the counter (see: Falcao goal). So against a more beatable opponent, how will the team respond? Mistakes are good if the players can learn from them.

Much of the focus last week was on Michael Bradley’s long-awaited return to the national team, and he delivered against Colombia, helping control play in the middle of the field, a vital resource against a superior opponent. So while Dave Sarachan promised “a lot of changes” to the starting lineup this time around, Bradley will almost certainly retain his place. Another pair of players we could see against Peru is Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent, who both came on late against Colombia and were positive influences on the game. Watching Bradley feed those two up front could be an excitable vision towards the future.

Brad Guzan will be in goal after Zack Steffan left the camp with an injury. He will face a Peruvian attack that looked positive last time out, but that lacks a proven goalscorer. The two true forwards in the Peru squad are Yordy Reyna and Raul Ruidiaz, who have a combined six goals in 52 appearances. The leading scorers in the squad are midfielders Christian Cueva and Edison Flores, and they will prove the biggest threat for Guzan at the back should they find the starting lineup.

Ultimately, while performances have been more important than results of late, a failure to earn three points will be a disappointment because in a match like this against a quality opponent, it will take a positive performance to earn the win.