Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Whitecaps lose to Sounders: O’Brien’s injury a turning point in Cascadia Derby

Whitecaps lose to Sounders: O’Brien’s injury a turning point in Cascadia Derby

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Another Cascadia derby, and another loss for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

This time it was just down the I-5, as the ‘Caps fell to the Seattle Sounders 3-2, through goals from Andy Rose, Servando Carrasco and Lamar Neagle.

Those goals were enough to cancel out Camilo’s brace. Both of his markers were set up by Canadian winger Russell Teibert — first through an instant response to Rose’s ninth minute goal after a nice link up play with Lee Young-Pyo, and then once again through a free kick delivery in the 26th minute, as Teibert found Camilo’s head between two Sounders defenders for the go-ahead 2-1 goal.

Ultimately, however, the Sounders maintained their cool, scoring twice late, first through Carrasco in the 70th minute, as the 24-year-old Californian stepped up to stroke home a penalty generated by Neagle, before Neagle himself bagged the game winner in the 81st minute.

Ultimately, however, the Whitecaps pointed to the forced withdrawal of centre back Andy O’Brien as the turning point of the match.

The former Irish international is an early contender for team MVP so far with a number of incredible individual performances, and his substitution due to a hamstring injury on 62 minutes was a major blow for the ‘Caps.

“It is disappointing,” goalkeeper Brad Knighton said of the result. “We were in total control of the game looking to get our first win against a Cascadia team, but then Andy unfortunately goes down with a hamstring issue. That kind of took the wind out of our sails a bit and the game seemed to turn very quickly. It was just a bit unfortunate.”

Knighton then went on to expand on the impact made by O’Brien, and the hole left when he was forced off the field.

The fact Alain Rochat was traded to D.C. United in midweek surely exacerbated Vancouver’s problems, as head coach Martin Rennie was forced to use left fullback Jordan Harvey as a centre back and then bring on natural right footed youngster Greg Klazura as a left fullback – that ultimately cost the ‘Caps as Klazura conceded the penalty which led to Carrasco’s penalty goal.

“He really contributes his veteran leadership,” Knighton said of O’Brien. “We had guys playing out of position which is something you really don’t want when you are playing in front of an atmosphere of 50,000 people.

“It was a tough situation for us to put ourselves in. It was just a bit unlucky. We were in control of the game up until that point and we had a chance to go up three to one, but that is just the way the game goes sometimes. We are devastated right now.”

Knighton then went on to slam the grass pitch laid over the artificial turf at CenturyLink Field ahead of the United States’ World Cup Qualifying match with Panama on Tuesday.

“Not to make excuses, but the field was ridiculously terrible,” Knighton said. “It’s heavy, it’s bumpy, the turf’s coming up, and it’s just a weird surface to play on. Anytime you put grass on top of turf you are going to get something like that.

“Not to make excuses, but maybe Andy doesn’t get injured if we aren’t playing on grass laid on turf. They have to play in these conditions as well, but it was just one of those weird games where they scored early, but we came back and gained total control. Then Andy goes down with an injury and the game changes from there.”

The Whitecaps, now 4-5-4, are back in action on Saturday as they host the New England Revolution at BC Place.

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