Club Deportivo Olimpia 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 0 | CONCACAF Champions League Match Recap
The Vancouver Whitecaps turned the page on their debut CONCACAF Champions League campaign on Thursday, losing their final group stage game but gaining experience playing in Central America.
Nestor Martinez's powerful free kick made the difference for Olimpia, as they defeated the Whitecaps 1-0 at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Neither team had any real stakes in the match, having both been eliminated prior to the matchday from the CCL knockout stage, with the Seattle Sounders winning their group. As a result of the dead-rubber nature of the game, both teams played reserve-heavy lineups.
In the Whitecaps' case, circumstances dictated a 14-man roster for the long trip to Honduras with injuries hitting the squad hard, the #DecisionDay regular season finale against Houston coming up on Sunday, and the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs beginning next week.
Vancouver finish Group F play in last place, as the result pushed the Honduran side ahead of them. All told, the Whitecaps finished CCL group play with 4 points and a 1-2-1 record.
The first and best chance of the game came for Vancouver in the eighth minute, as Darren Mattocks headed a pass through the defense to Robert Earnshaw, who collected the ball in the box and backheeled it into the net. However, the goal was waved off, as Earnshaw was clearly offside. On top of that, Mattocks hurt himself on the play, although he remained in the game until halftime, when he was replaced by Gershon Koffie.
Olimpia controlled the game throughout, but with nothing substantial on the line, they lacked a sense of urgency in the final third for much of the night and rifled off a series of half-chances in the first half. After the break, the Whitecaps were able to hold onto the ball more, but still conceded nearly all of the dangerous opportunities. Vancouver goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi was forced into four saves before the hosts found the breakthrough.
Martinez took a direct free kick in the 68th minute that fooled Tornaghi, who was anticipating a ball into the box rather than a direct shot, and it went into the upper near corner to put Olimpia ahead.
Olimpia appealed for a handball in the box by Christian Dean in the final 10 minutes, but the referee did not blow his whistle.
The visitors pushed for an equalizer in the final minutes, but could not manage to test goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar.