The Vancouver Whitecaps flew to Portland for the first stop of their seven-game road swing. After the missed opportunity against the San Jose Earthquakes at BC Place on Sunday, they needed the three points.
It wasn’t easy, but they got them. The tour is off to a great start. The band was off-tempo a few times but they closed the set with ease.
There were a decent number of Whitecaps fans who made the trip to Portland. They will be going home pretty happy for sure.
What we learned
- A working-class DP is something to be. Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini called Ryan Gauld a working-class DP (Designated Player) after their first away win of the season on June 24 against LAFC. Well, the working class DP was working hard and the hard work paid off. Gauld pulled off another masterclass with an assist and two goals. They let him cook and the meal was delicious. The Flying Scotsman has left the station!
- Brian White got on the scoresheet with his ninth goal of the season. He and Gauld are both tied in team scoring. Gauld’s run to catch up to Ali Ahmed’s pass and his cross to White was top-notch. The Flying Scotsman is running at full steam. This header from White was perfect.
- Speaking of Ahmed, he had another great game. Whether you play him on the left, right or down the middle, he can do anything. Maybe we should replace the Camavinga memes with Ahmed. The first two goals wouldn’t have happened without Ahmed, his passing was the catalyst. The Canadian international was also very good defensively as he made two interceptions and eight recoveries according to FotMob.
- The Timbers had 64% possession in the match but in the first half, had zero shots on target and weren’t creating any big chances. However, in the second half, things changed as they started to look very threatening. Felipe Mora and Evander got Timber Joey to use his chainsaw. Ranko Veselinović and Tristan Blackmon got their signals crossed on Mora’s goal and it seemed the Whitecaps fell asleep on Evander’s goal
- The seven minutes of stoppage time were as nerve-wracking as Adam Sandler’s film Uncut Gems. There were some big blocks and clearances including Ahmed running back to stop a dangerous Timbers transition. “This is how I win,” is probably what Ahmed and the Whitecaps thought as that happened.
- Sam Adekugbe and Richie Laryea bring so much to the flanks. Sartini likes to have his team be quick on the transition and the two Canadian internationals provide a ton of pace for both attacking and defending. There is a reason why they were brought in. After all, Laryea was the one who won the penalty that eventually led to Gauld’s second goal.
Stat of the night
Ahmed completed 22 out of 28 passes. (79%) Yeah, he’s quite the player.
What was said
Sartini talked about how tough it got when Portland got back into the game.
“They (Portland) are a very good team…it was hard to maintain the same level and stability for 60+ minutes…but in the end, I think the win was very well deserved,” he said.
The Whitecaps head coach had some high praise for Gauld.
“I think in the last two months, he is in the same category for MVP of the league,” said Sartini.
Gauld, being humble as he is, dedicated more time to talking about the team’s performance instead of just his own. He particularly talked about the two new signings. (Adekugbe technically isn’t new)
“Players like Sam and Richie are going to add to the quality,” he said. “The squad is in a very good place.”
Blackmon talked about the upcoming stretch with six more games on the road and welcomes the challenge.
“It’s gonna be tough but…we showed a lot of character with the win here…we’re very confident going into this stretch,” he said.
Gauld echoed Blackmon’s words.
“It’s going to be tough with all that travel,” he said. “We have to make sure we are ready mentally and physically and repeat the performance we did tonight.”
The Gauld and White connection
Gauld and White have brought their 2021 chemistry back and it looks like they have taken it to a different level. It is very welcoming to see them both very high on the MLS goals and assists list.
Right in the face
Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought of Scott Sterling when Veselinović made that face block late in the game.
Every Whitecaps game is the same. Every Whitecaps game is different.
After this Tweet, Portland got back into the game. But there are so many problems with the Timbers: Their final third play, defending, passing, you name it. Things could change between now and Decision Day but I’m not sure if they make the playoffs at this point.
I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore
The Timbers players were pretty angry after committing fouls. You can understand their frustration of being down by two before halftime to their rivals but if you are angry about committing fouls, don’t commit fouls.
The Whitecaps will be in Chicago to play the Fire on Wednesday. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. Pacific.
With the win over the Timbers, the Whitecaps sit seventh in the Western Conference with 34 points. However, they are only three points back of third place. Remember, they have a game in hand.
All points are necessary to open the door to the playoffs and home playoff games. The first show was good, but the Whitecaps need to give another great performance on the next stop of their season-defining tour.