The Vancouver Whitecaps had to get back into gear quickly after Wednesday’s Canadian Championship game. But FC Cincinnati were in town and they are the best team in MLS this season.

However, unlike Ron Burgundy back at the newsroom the morning after a party, the Whitecaps for the most part did not look hungover.

What we learned

The Whitecaps in this game played solid against the Supporters Shield contenders. Though there were some nervy defending moments and sloppy passes, the same thing could be said about FC Cincinnati. It was a pretty even game. Possession was 54% to 46% in favour of Vancouver and it felt like one goal could change the tide of the game.

Well, FC Cincinnati has one player who just does that. That was Luciano Acosta who scored an incredible arc over Yohei Takaoka.

But the Whitecaps weren’t done. Sergio Córdova was brought down in the box hockey style and they were awarded a penalty. Ryan Gauld converted his third goal in his last three games. All were penalties but a goal is a goal. No, I don’t want to hear any Pyan Pauld jokes.

Gauld has been good all season but this past few weeks, he has shown glimpses of his 2021 form. Not only scoring penalties but Gauld has been very creative and shown a lot of fluidity in the attack.

This was also Córdova’s best game as a Whitecaps so far. Yes, he didn’t score and the bar is low, but he played well against Cincinnati. He was winning fouls (including the penalty) drew a couple of yellow cards, showing his strength to evade defenders and making himself available for scoring chances. The Venezuelan had two good chances himself in the first half. One was saved by Roman Celantano and the other was a shot outside the box that just missed the right goalpost.

Córdova looked more engaged than he did over the last four or five games. Maybe, just maybe, this is the start of good things for him. Saturday night felt like baby steps for the DP striker. He looked way better than Romelu Lukaku did in the Champions League Final.

Pedro Vite’s confidence continues to grow. Last season, we didn’t see Vite fighting for the ball, making fast runs and making dribbling around defenders look easy. Remember, he has just been called up to the Ecuadorian national team for the first time. His growth has been a delight to watch.

The Whitecaps deserved a point. They fought hard against the league’s best team even with many starters resting. That goes to show how much depth they have. A few seasons ago, under Marc Dos Santos, they would have crumbled early and part of the reason why was because of the lack of depth.

Could it have been three points? Absolutely. But there is no shame in drawing against FC Cincinnati

What was said

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini was happy with his team’s performance and also talked about how his team should be higher in the standings.

“We did the things we were supposed to do but I think we started off a bit too aggressive,” he said. “We deserve more than 21 points(this season), we’ve been a bit unlucky.”

Sartini also talked about how impressed he was with Córdova.

“This is the Sergio we bought,” he said.

White was satisfied to get a point as well.

“It’s great we got a point,” he said.

He was asked about the preparation leading up to the game.

“Everybody was ready to go, we knew had lots to prove,” said White. “Again, it was a good result but we needed the 3 points.”

Stat of the match

Córdova won six fouls including the penalty. That’s promising for him.

So Close

Again, Córdova played well, but too bad he didn’t score. After missing the target in warmups, that would have been something.

Nathan Durec, Alexandre Gangue-Ruzic and I were watching Córdova in warmups and saw him miss the net multiple times. We were talking about how he didn’t look engaged but the opposite happened in the game.

Captain Ranko

If Gauld and Russell Teibert aren’t playing, Veselinović is a good choice to wear one. He has taken a lot of responsibility over the past year and a half and on the pitch has shown he can be a leader.

Right side Raposo

I feel like Raposo should play on the right side more. He is naturally right-footed and his crosses looked more dangerous on the right. Being on the side of his stronger foot, allows him to be more creative if that is the right word.

A bit of trivia for you

Right now, Manchester City are the European champions and the treble winners but once upon a time, they lost to the Whitecaps and that included a 5-0 beatdown as you see in the Tweet above. That was on May 24, 1980, at Empire Stadium.

The Whitecaps won two games and lost once against Man City all time. The loss came on July 18, 2011, at Empire Field and it was a 2-1 win for The Citizens. Camilo scored in the first half to give the Whitecaps the lead but Mario Balotelli and Shaun Wright-Phillips scored in the second half.

Like Man City on Saturday, the Whitecaps had a decent number of chances but it took them until late in the second half to score. Maybe guys Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Iikay Gundogan or Kevin De Bruyne guy will join the Whitecaps when their legs don’t work like they used to far. Far fetched but it is fun to dream!

Up next

The Whitecaps have a week and a half off due to the international break. Their next game is on the road against the Colorado Rapids on June 21 and that is the start of three straight games on the road. Kickoff for that one is at 5:30 pm Pacific.

Of course, the Whitecaps need to translate their home success on the road and it has been almost a year since they won away from BC Place.

“The objective is to win our first road win of the season in the upcoming weeks,” said Sartini after the game against Cincinnati.