Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Rennie “very disappointed” with midfield as Whitecaps lose to Chivas

Rennie “very disappointed” with midfield as Whitecaps lose to Chivas

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An impressive Eric Avila volley and a Jun Marques Davidson own goal proved enough for Chivas USA as it sent the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps home with a 2-1 loss on Saturday at the Home Depot Center.

Scottish designated player Kenny Miller came off the bench to score a well-taken header on 64 minutes to get his side within a goal, but a pile of squandered opportunities meant the Whitecaps couldn’t come back from two goals down.

Avila’s winner came 55 minutes in, as he smashed home a cross from Carlos Alvarez into the bottom left corner, just beyond the fingertips of Joe Cannon.

That doubled Chivas’ lead after scoring 12 minutes in with Alvarez also involved — this time as he attempted a cross which ended up deflecting off Davidson and into the Vancouver goal for the opener, as Cannon was initially going toward the left corner of his goal before the redirect.

Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie conceded on the radio broadcast following the game that Davidson was at fault on the play, turning his body at a crucial moment.

“That was frustrating,” the Scottish tactician said of his defensive midfielder. “Marques is one of our most consistent and reliable players. He just had an off night tonight. I think he wasn’t the only one, which was a little bit disappointing.

“We didn’t win enough second balls. We gave balls away a little easy. Both goals came from not dealing with second ball properly and it’s frustrating because we worked on that during the week.”

When asked about whether he found the performance of his midfield trio of Davidson, Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker subpar, he responded simply that he was “very disappointed.”

And, indeed, neither Davidson nor Koffie finished the game, with both sacrificed in favour of attacking players with the team chasing deficit.

But, it’s not as if the Whitecaps were completely toothless in attack. Miller’s goal gave his side hope that a point could be salvaged, as he expertly headed home a rebound from substitute Erik Hurtado’s shot.

However, the Scottish international’s well-taken finish was the exception rather than the rule for the ‘Caps on this night, as the side was able to generate opportunities but couldn’t convert.

Daigo Kobayashi missed from close range in the 23rd following a rebound from a first-half effort from Alain Rochat from outside the area, but couldn’t punish Dan Kennedy for letting the ball squeak out — instead firing well over the bar when it seemed easier to hit the target.

Darren Mattocks also came close six minutes from time, as he sprung on a loose ball just outside the six yard box, but like Kobayashi fired well over from close in.

Vancouver’s best chance at an equalizer came right at the death, as substitute Kekuta Manneh broke free of the Chivas defense only to fire wide to the right of Kennedy’s goal. A poor first touch from the Gambian rookie made the finish less likely and the goalkeeper did well to come out and negate the opportunity.

“Maybe you could say, if you’re that quick, you can compose yourself a little bit when you’re going through on goal,” Miller said of Manneh’s chance. “He got his toe on the ball and he was unfortunate it just went the wrong side of the post.”

Still, despite the loss, Vancouver felt they should have walked away with something from the game given their ability to generate quality opportunities.

“If you look at the stats and everything like that, we were definitely the better team,” Reo-Coker said. “We didn’t deserve to lose this game. Like I said, you can take a lot of positives from this game because we did play well.

“We’re playing away from home, we’re playing well and we created chances. I think that’s very important in this league.”

The Whitecaps fall to 2-2-0 with their second consecutive road loss, and will look for their first away win on April 6 against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium.

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