As the cliche goes, they don’t paint pictures on the scoresheet.
Thanks to a late goal from Daniel Haber, a shorthanded WFC2 team rescued three points with a 1-0 win despite a sluggish performance against the visiting Portland Timbers 2. While no masterpiece, the win was Vancouver’s third straight, signalling a strong response to the team’s two game losing streak.
“A bit of a lifeless game out there, a lot of chess being played out there in terms of what we do tactically [and] what they do tactically,” said head coach Alan Koch. “In terms of the performance, it wasn’t as good as we’d hope it to be, but considering the circumstances and how many players we had out, who we had to literally throw out there today, we’re very very proud of that group.”
Missing a number of regulars, such as Sem de Wit, Brett Levis and Kadin Chung, due to what Koch called very minor injuries, as well as Kyle Grieg’s suspension from yellow card accumulation, Vancouver struggled to threaten the Portland area for much of the game.
Despite a makeshift back line that was missing the calming presence of de Wit, the ‘Caps held a dangerous Portland team scoreless and made sure Marco Carducci didn’t have to do too much in his second consecutive start for Koch’s side.
“To get a clean sheet against a very good team like [Portland] is a credit to Carducci, a credit to the back four who have never played together before, and obviously the midfield and forwards and the work that they had to put in to make sure we did get that clean sheet.”
WFC2 finally put themselves in front in the 87th as Haber directed Fatawu Safiu’s low cross into the bottom corner. Debi Flores ignited the play with a galavanting run through the midfield before laying the ball off to Safiu.
Despite being the second leading scorer on the team, Haber hadn’t scored since May 4th against Tulsa, a scoreless stretch of seven games.
“Thank goodness for Daniel Haber,” said Koch. “He gets a bit of weight off his shoulders, he’s been waiting for it.”
Kianz Froese nearly put the ‘Caps in front in the 59th but was unable to regain control of the ball after rounding Kendall McIntosh in the Portland net.
Nico Brett came the closest for Timbers 2 but had his rebound goal called back for offside in the 80th.
WFC2’s newest addition, Thomas Sanner, made his debut with ten minutes remaining. The 6’2 target man was a 2016 MLS SuperDraft pick of the Whitecaps but elected to finish his final semester at Princeton before signing with WFC2 last week.
Image: Whitecaps FC/Bob Frid