Whitecaps beat FC Edmonton
By Jonathan Szekeres
It was the match the Vancouver Whitecaps should've played last week. A match where they played well defensively, scored timely goals, and played a simple, team match. Of course, we know the Whitecaps barely squeaked past FC Edmonton last Wednesday, but this time around, it would be a completely different story.
They still needed luck
Hey, it wasn't a perfect match, mind you. The Whitecaps needed a red card from Edmonton to really get things going, and an own goal off a Russell Teibert corner to really seal the win. However, I would argue that the Whitecaps were eventually going to score. They had all the momentum, they had the lion's share of chances, and FC Edmonton could barely get anything going. What's the old saying? You have to be lucky to be good; Well, that went both ways for the Whitecaps against their Canadian Championship rivals. Still, you wish they could have truly dominated their weaker opponent, a rival that isn't even in the MLS. I can't tell if I should be giving negative comments on the Whitecaps, or just positive ones to Edmonton. They actually played very well for a team in a lower league, and they gave the Whitecaps a run for their money.
Russell Teibert must really, really like playing in Canadian Championship matches. The young Canuck won't get credit for a goal, but it was his corner that caromed off the head of Edmonton's Shaun Saiko and into the back of the net. More than that, he was a solid, responsible force in midfield, setting up his teammates for opportunities, and looking very comfortable on challenges. His strength for this club is obviously set pieces, as his corners are dynamite. Camilo might be the man for penalty kicks, but Teibert's corners are an asset the club didn't have before. We all know the Whitecaps have struggled with set pieces since their inception in MLS, but it might not be a problem for the future as Teibert matures and grows. Now, he's looked good against Edmonton, but he hasn't looked that impressive in regular MLS play. That has to change. He's a young guy who will do very well in the league, but he has to start proving to Head Coach Martin Rennie that he can keep that mojo going when it's not the Canadian championship. For a Canadian, it's easy to get up for those games. Now it's time for him to get up for the MLS matches as well.
Same Lineup, Different Result
Many criticized the lacklustre defense the Whitecaps trodded out against Edmonton last week. Johnny Leveron, Greg Klazura and Jordan Harvey all played poorly, while Andy O'Brien had a tough time trying to wrangle all the backups into a cohesive unit. Not this time. While Klazura still played far too safe for my tastes, Harvey had one of his best matches as a 'Cap. Period. He might have played his way into more playing time, as Alain Rochat has been struggling as of late. Rochat is Mr. Everything though, so I doubt we'll see him on the bench anytime soon. Leveron was solid, if not spectacular, and Andy O'Brien played the role of field general quite well. As for Brad Knighton, he wasn't tested a whole lot, but he did stop what he needed to. Before the match, Knighton had made it clear he wanted to play more. I'm not sure if this was the match that will put Knighton on Martin Rennie's radar, but the fact that Joe Cannon allowed four goals in two matches against FC Dallas could mean we'll see more of the young American. Hey, think about this; Cannon and Knighton now have the same amount of shut-outs.
The Vancouver Whitecaps will play the Montreal Impact on May 15th, in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship Final.