Sports Soccer

Late lapses nearly derail positives for Whitecaps 0

By Tyler Green, 24 hours Vancouver, soccer columnist

The Vancouver Whitecaps held off a late surge by forward Fanendo Adi (centre) and the Portland Timbers this past Sunday. Considering they were up by three goals, it should have been a much smoother ending. REUTERS

The Vancouver Whitecaps held off a late surge by forward Fanendo Adi (centre) and the Portland Timbers this past Sunday. Considering they were up by three goals, it should have been a much smoother ending. REUTERS

It almost ended poorly for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Portland on the weekend, but the team managed to win 4-3 in a raucous affair.

The Whitecaps went into the match knowing that the referees haven’t exactly been on their side of late, and knowing that — took their chances when they came, which resulted in four goals.

While Vancouver won the match, it shed some light on the positives and negatives the Whitecaps are dealing with this season.

The team needed to make a statement, to finish their chances when they came and they needed to win a match in Portland against a team that they’ve never been able to beat.

Vancouver accomplished those items, but those weren’t the only positives. David Ousted made a huge save in the seventh minute of play off Canadian international Will Johnson. It was the save many were calling upon Ousted to make since he started with the ‘Caps. That one save to keep his team in the match, along with a few more late in the game, helped prove his worth.

Eric Hurtado also continued his stellar play, with a goal and drawing a penalty. The 23-year-old striker has always claimed to be full of confidence, and he’s attacking defenders and forcing them into mistakes.

What the match against Portland also revealed was that the Whitecaps still have a long way to go to being a dominating team in Major League Soccer.

Leading 4-1, Vancouver almost gave up the lead, allowing two goals late in the match. Those types of finishes are the ones that show the Whitecaps still haven’t been able to put together a full 90-minute performance. Mental lapses like Sunday could eventually kill the team’s chances of winning games.

Individually, Gershon Koffie fell back into his inconsistent ways, gone was the domination we saw against Seattle. Nigel Reo-Coker’s performance at right back made many wishful for a quick and healthy return from World Cup-bound Steve Beitashour.

So far though, the Whitecaps positives certainly outweigh the negatives.

And one positive thing is certain — over the years, we know every ‘Caps match is entertaining and you best not look away because you might miss something incredible.

Tyler hosts SOCCER TALK on AM650 Radio, heard Saturday nights at 10 p.m. to midnight. Follow Tyler online at www.tylergreen.org and on twitter @tylergreenFC.

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