Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Portland wins Cascadia Cup in Vancouver, but Whitecaps back into playoffs

Portland wins Cascadia Cup in Vancouver, but Whitecaps back into playoffs


It was a chance for the Vancouver Whitecaps to automatically qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs.

Instead, the club fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers Sunday evening at BC Place, forced to watch their regional cousins lift the Cascadia Cup in their home stadium. But, the Whitecaps later found out they would become the first Canadian franchise to qualify for the playoffs after all, as FC Dallas couldn’t capitalize on the Whitecaps slip-up, losing 3-1 to Seattle.

In Vancouver, Jack Jewsbury scored the decisive goal 39 minutes in, hitting an almighty strike from 25 yards out with the outside of his boot which flew into the top right corner of Brad Knighton’s net.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Knighton said of the result. “Yet again we’ve given up another wonder goal. It seems to be happening to us quite often. But other than that, they didn’t really have any other chances attacking wise.

“I thought we defended well. It was just one lapse, one wonder goal, and we’re picking the ball out of the back of our net.”

Still, it was by no means a dominant performance from the Timbers, who struggled to create much in the way of opportunities themselves, but defended well throughout.

Vancouver started the match early with a chance five minutes in, as Camilo was left unmarked in the area, getting on the end of a Barry Robson cross only to see his header fly right into the hands of Donovan Ricketts.

The ‘Caps came close again on 14 minutes, as Steven Smith came close to scoring an own goal. The defender miskicked an attempted clearance following a poor cross from Jordan Harvey, directing the ball toward his own goal, but Ricketts was there to react well.

Matt Watson was the architect of a fine bit of interplay for the ‘Caps on the half-hour mark, flicking a ball over Smith’s head before chipping the ball on to Kenny Miller. The Designated Player advanced the ball to Camilo with a flicked header before the Brazilian missed to the left of Ricketts’ goal from a good position.

Apart from Jewsbury’s first-half goal, Portland’s only other real opportunity of the half came in the 35th minute, as Bright Dike headed a Sal Zizzo cross toward the target, only for Knighton to save.

Vancouver failed to challenge Ricketts in a meaningful way in the second half, with the Jamaican goalkeeper’s only real involvement being an intervention on 59 minutes to break up an excellent long-range pass from Robson which looked destined to send Camilo through alone on goal.

In the game’s final 15 minutes, Dike came close with a shot from the right, but Knighton managed to block the ball comfortably for a corner.

Vancouver’s underwhelming performance seemed to leave most in the home dressing room wondering why the club failed to perform when it mattered most.

“We’ve got ourselves right up for this game tonight with a chance to go and win the game and confirm our playoff spot, and for some reason we never started at all tonight,” Kenny Miller told reporters following the game. “There wasn’t too many chances for us — even at 1-0 down you think you’d be throwing everything at them, but there just seemed to be something missing.”

The Whitecaps, now 11-13-9, are next in action on Saturday against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Head coach Martin Rennie stated the result wouldn’t matter that much if Vancouver went on to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs. And, he was proven prophetic just a couple of hours after he uttered the statement, thank to some help from another Cascadia rival.

“The main thing is getting into the playoffs,” Rennie said. “Then it’s going to be one-off games and then it’s up to you how you perform in those games. Those games are going to be different types of games but the first thing is you’ve got to get into the playoffs.”

Martin MacMahon is a Vancouver-based soccer writer. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon

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One Comment

  1. Footy

    October 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Not convincing at all from the Whitecaps. Well, at least one Canadian team has made it into the play-offs…

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