Extra-man experience a lesson for Whitecaps
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Kekuta Manneh (23) attempts to move the ball defended by Chivas USA midfielder Eric Avila (15) during the second half at StubHub Center. The game ended in a draw with a final score of 1-1. Mar 16, 2014; Carson, Calif. (Photo: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
About a month ago during a preseason game against Portmore United, the Vancouver Whitecaps saw the goalkeeper of the Jamaican side sent off for handling the ball outside the box 14 minutes into the game, putting the club down to 10 men.
At the time, Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson asked the referee to let the Red Stripe Premier League side stick with 11 players so that his own team could compete against a full lineup on the pitch.
He didn't get his wish and the Whitecaps dominated in a 5-1 victory. That experience playing with the extra man, however, didn't exactly pay off this past Sunday.
Facing an undermanned Chivas USA side for the majority of the match — after midfielder Agustin Pelletieri was ejected in the 13th minute — the ‘Caps put together a "poor" performance in a 1-1 draw.
They got a point out of it, which they'll gladly take, but consider it a lesson learned.
"We took our foot off the gas a little bit, thought it would be easy playing against 10 and that’s not always the case," Robinson said afterwards. "It was disappointing, but a draw is a good result.”
Substitute striker Kekuta Manneh's goal with less than 10 minutes from time kept Vancouver from suffering their first defeat of the season, but it was a far cry from the valiant season-opening effort over the New York Red Bulls. That's how it'll go sometimes, and the players know it, and the coaches know it.
“You perform at a level one week, then you don’t, that’s Major League Soccer," Robinson said. "Individually I’ve asked everyone to review themselves. I’ll review it with the coaches. I’ll look at myself and see if the formation is right, see if the personnel within that formation is right, but we’ll analyze and look forward."
The Whitecaps returned home Sunday night and had the day off Monday. They get back to work Tuesday at their University of B.C. training grounds where they'll prepare for another road matchup Saturday, this time against the New England Revolution.
Despite the humbling result, there were some positives the 'Caps took out of the draw.
“We did a lot of good thing," said goalkeeper David Ousted, who was beaten in the 45th minute Sunday when an Erick Torres shot deflected off defender Jay DeMerit. "First of all, we scored a goal being one down and I thought we chased it the whole 90 minutes. I thought we went for the win. It wasn’t meant to be."