MLS Match Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Columbus Crew
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs COLUMBUS CREW
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
March 9, 2013 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #14)
4:30 p.m. PT (SNET Pac; FS-OH)
Two teams coming off solid opening day victories meet when Vancouver Whitecaps FC play host to the Columbus Crew on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Whitecaps FC kicked off their third MLS season with a 1-0 win against Toronto FC last weekend, while the Crew started their two-game West Coast swing to start the season with a 3-0 win at Chivas USA.
REFEREE: Drew Fischer. SAR (bench): Kevin Duliba; JAR (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 2.4; R: 0; pens: 1
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (MLS) (3 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 2 goals … Crew 2 wins, 3 goals … Ties 0
AT VANCOUVER (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals … Crew 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/28: CLB 0, VAN 1 (Lee 74)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The Whitecaps defeated Columbus for the first time ever last year, a 1-0 win at Crew Stadium on April 28.
- The Crew have won the only meeting all-time in British Columbia, a 1-0 win July 6, 2011 at Empire Field.
- Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. VAN: P3 W2 L1 D0… Martin Rennie vs. CLB: P1 W1 L0 D0
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC opened up their third season with a good victory, defeating Canadian rival Toronto FC 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at BC Place.
- The game's lone goal came just before the hour. A nifty passing sequence around the edge of the TFC penalty area saw Daigo Kobayashi roll a cool lay-off that teed up Gershon Koffie for a shot, and the Ghanaian hammered the eventual game-winner past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
- Japanese midfielder Daigo Kobayashi was given the start in one wide midfield position – opposite 16-year-old rookie Kekuta Manneh.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit (Brad Rusin 8), Alain Rochat - Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie - Daigo Kobayashi (Erik Hurtado 76), Kenny Miller, Kekuta Manneh (Nigel Reo-Coker 46) - Darren Mattocks
WATCH: Whitecaps defeat Toronto FC in season opener
- Just eight minutes into the match Whitecaps FC were hit with a serious injury blow, as center back Jay DeMerit went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
- “From a team perspective, Jay’s obviously an important person and player for our team,” Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie said. “But I actually think we can cover in that sense. It’s more just a disappointment for him. Obviously it’s the first few minutes of the game and the first few minutes of the season, but we have people who can play in those positions and we do have good leadership on our team. So we’ll be able to go forward strong and obviously it’s a blow but I don’t think it’s something we need to use as an excuse.”
- New signing Brad Rusin immediately stepped into the breach, a role he will likely fill alongside Andy O’Brien.
- “It was a bit of a tough situation going in and unfortunate to see Jay go down like that,” Rusin said. “But I was ready to step in there. All preseason, I played the majority of the time with Andy [O’Brien] and Joe [Cannon] behind me. So I was used to the guys being around me and I was confident going in there. A bit nervous at first, but after getting a touch on the ball or winning a header, making a tackle, you just be yourself out there and do what you know how to do.”
- Whitecaps FC will be joined soon by Honduran international central defender Johnny Leverón, who will also lay claim to the place.
- “He’s a left-footed player, good technically, but to be honest, I haven’t seen him play too much,” Rusin said. “I know he’s a big talent, but I just need to be myself, compete week in, week out, and then it’s up to Martin to say who plays.”
- 18-year-old rookie Kekuta Manneh was given his professional start in a wide left role, then Nigel Reo-Coker came on for him to start the second half.
- “He won a lot of balls that we weren’t winning in the first half,” Rennie said of Reo-Coker. “His way of passing forward was very good, creating some good chances, some good balls in the box. And generally, he’s got a presence and a swagger about him and rubs off on other people. You have to have that to be a good team.”
- Darren Mattocks was installed to start the season as a spearhead striker, with Kenny Miller playing underneath.
- “They had two guys in the midfield, moving the ball was hard, their center back was tough to break down, but I mean, once Martin made a couple changes, we were able to break them down,” Mattocks said. Said Rennie: “In the second half, we changed the system, we changed the way that we created a lot of chances, created lot of pressure, and [we] managed the ball well at the end of the game, and won one-nil, didn’t give up a lot of chances.”
The Columbus Crew kicked off their season-opening Western swing with a quality result, claiming a 3-0 win against Chivas USA on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center.
• The Crew finally opened the scoring six minutes into the second half. Taking a pass straight out from the top of the penalty area, Federico Higuain hooked a knuckling right-footed shot past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy that bounced off the inside of the right post.
• Columbus doubled their lead in the 88th minute as Josh Williams turned home a corner kick with an acrobatic flick from the heart of the area.
• The rout was completed in stoppage time when Dominic Oduro raced free on a breakaway of all of 80 yards, rounding Kennedy in the Chivas penalty area and slotting into the empty goal.
• Crew head coach Robert Warzycha featured new faces Glauber in central defense and Agustin Viana in central midfield, along with Dominic Oduro out wide.
• COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl - Dominic Oduro, Danny O'Rourke, Agustin Viana, Eddie Gaven - Federico Higuain (Tony Tchani 77) - Jairo Arrieta (Ryan Finley 76).
WATCH: Crew blank Chivas USA in season opener
- The Crew won their season-opening match for the first time in three seasons, and won a road season opener for the first time since 1998, when they defeated Tampa Bay on the road to start the club’s third season.
- “I think the first game on the road is always tough. Chivas has a new team, a new coach, and a lot of expectations. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t a very difficult game for us, we came in with a game plan and tactically the guys did very well,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. Said defender Josh Williams: “It’s huge for us. We wanted to get out of the gates fast. We have been notorious for kind of coming out slow. We definitely wanted to come out and make a statement.”
- Federico Higuaín, the MLS Newcomer of the Year a season ago after scoring five goals and adding seven assists, finally broke the deadlock with the Crew’s first goal of the season in the second half.
- “We enjoyed a good game on all levels. When we needed to be aggressive on offense we were. When we needed to provide pressure we did it well. When we needed to manage the game by dominating the ball we also did it well and we were consistent overall,” said Higuaín.
- "He was getting beat up," Williams said. "They were bullying him around. It kind of lit a fire in him on that shot he had. I thought there were a couple of cheap shots in there. They were beaten him up but he kept getting up. That says a lot for him."
- The Crew were able to keep a clean sheet with Brazilian newcomer Glauber making his MLS debut in central defense alongside Chad Marshall, and arrival Tyson Wahl starting at left back.
- “We brought some new players in who are good tactically and they have a good sense of where they are on the field,” said Warzycha. “I have to say that in the first half we lost the ball probably once or twice in front of our box, which we gave an opportunity to Chivas, which should have made the match 1-0.”
- Williams started his second MLS season with his second career goal, his first coming last Aug. 29 in a win vs. Philadelphia.
“I actually don’t think we are even close to what we can be. We are still a little off, just as far as touch and creativity up front,” said Williams. “We are going to take this game in stride, but I think we are a long way from where we want to be.”