Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Undefeated Sporting KC extends Whitecaps winless streak to four

Undefeated Sporting KC extends Whitecaps winless streak to four

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After starting unbeaten in four, the Vancouver Whitecaps are now winless in just as many after a 3-1 loss to Sporting KC at BC Place Wednesday evening.

The team’s second loss on the hop started with a fortuitous goal from Aurelien Collin, got worse with an own goal from Martin Bonjour, before Kei Kamara sealed the victory with a coolly taken third.

Substitute Omar Salgado set Sebastien Le Toux up for a consolation goal in the 80th minute, but there was to be no encore performance of last season’s dramatic 3-3 draw between these clubs, which took place across town at Empire Field.

“[Sporting] put on a textbook road performance where they defended well and scored on set plays and on the counterattack, so from an away perspective those are the things you want to do,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie told reporters following the match.

“Right now they’re the team to catch up with, and it gives us a chance to see where we need to get to and what we need to do to be a team that’s challenging at the top of MLS.

“Tonight there was no lack of effort, no lack of desire, but there were a lot of technical breakdowns at disappointing moments at both ends of the field where it cost us goals too.”

Collin opened the scoring for Sporting off a scramble following a corner. The French centre back got on the end of a ball which ricocheted off a Vancouver defender in the 24th minute following a shot from Roger Espinoza.

The 26-year-old goalscorer was highly involved throughout, notably clattering Le Toux into the advertising hoardings just six minutes prior to finding the back of the Vancouver net.

The Whitecaps nearly came back with a goal of their own on 28 minutes, as Le Toux got on the end of a cross from Lee Young-Pyo. The French forward’s header was on target, but went safely into the gloves of Jimmy Nielsen, who handled with ease.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the opening period happened right on the stroke of half-time, as Eric Hassli was involved in a coming together with Collin. Sporting’s goalscorer appeared to go down as a crowd of Sporting players appealed for referee Baldomero Toledo to send Hassli off, given he was already on a yellow for a sixth minute collision with Kamara.

Toledo pulled Hassli aside and appeared to give him a final warning, to a relief of the 15,382 fans inside BC Place.

Six minutes into the second, that relief turned to despair, as Bonjour directed a Matt Besler throw in past Joe Cannon to double KC’s lead. The throw in came at the Argentine centre back with pace, and deflected off his shoulder as Cannon could only watch on.

“Martin kind of chested it and it took me by surprise,” Cannon told The 11 following the match. “It went in and it was a really weird goal. I think he was surprised because it probably went over someone. Those are the bounces we were getting early in the season and now we’re not.”

Kamara sealed the win after a clever one-two play with fullback Chance Myers in the 65th minute before Salgado set Le Toux up for the consolation goal with 10 minutes left in the match in what was the sole bright spot for the ‘Caps.

“We were 3-0 down, so I tried to do the best I could,” Salgado said. “We kind of picked it up a bit and nearly got another goal after that.”

Indeed, shortly following Le Toux’s goal Hassli had his best chance of the match in the first minute of stoppage time. Long Tan hit a swerving effort which Jimmy Nielsen parried right into the path of Hassli, but the big Frenchman whiffed horrendously, meaning he’s now gone scoreless in 15 matches.

The Whitecaps look to end their four-game winless streak at BC Place this Saturday against FC Dallas.

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

 

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