By KAYLA KNAPP
CARSON, Calif.– After a solid win at Colorado on Wednesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps were looking continue their road trip success. Chivas USA, back from their two week break in MLS action, came into Saturday night’s match at the Home Depot Center trying to pick up their third win at home this season.
The Whitecaps secured their ninth shutout of the season, while the Rojiblancos failed to find a win at home again, as the game ended in a scoreless draw.
Despite the lack of goals—and six yellow cards between the two teams—Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie thought there was a lot to build on going forward.
“It’s a good point on the road. It’s our ninth clean sheet of the season, so there’s a lot of positives to take from that. It’s four points from the last two games on the road,” Rennie said after the match. “So overall it’s all pretty positive things that we can get ready now for the next game.”
This was Chivas’ eighth time being shut out this season—certainly not a positive for head coach Robin Fraser, who pinpointed exactly why the Rojiblancos were failing to get on the score board so frequently.
“We have to do things better to win games, and certainly a big part of that is our approach and the urgency,” Fraser said. “You look at a lot of the teams that have been successful and it is about confidence and urgency. It’s something that I will continue to preach, and as long as I coach
I will continue to preach, it’s a great intangible.”
While the Rojiblancos were lacking that sense of urgency all night, the Whitecaps didn’t have much of it either. The game got off to a slow start, with the two teams seeming to be testing each other out before putting on the pressure.
It wasn’t until the 18th minute that either side had a solid chance on net. But, when Chivas finally pushed in the attacking third, they created a handful of good chances right around the top of the 18 yard box. Unfortunately for the Rojiblancos, they weren’t able to make much of those opportunities.
In the 30th minute Martin Bonjour tackled Jose Correa hard, and the Rojiblancos forward was down for a couple of minutes. Nervy moments in Carson as he received treatment on the field, but he appeared to be just fine after getting back up and shaking off the hit.
The Whitecaps best chance of the half came in the 35th minute, when Sebastien Le Toux slipped in-between two Chivas defenders, but was unable to get his shot on frame, knocking the ball wide of the net.
After the end of the first 45, the score was still 0-0 with neither side really showing much of a spark, though the Whitecaps clearly dominated possession the entire half.
Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon saw his first real test ten minutes into the second half when Chivas attacked down right wing, and a decent cross into the box forced Cannon into an out-stretched save.
Most of the second half was a pure stalemate—Chivas added an extra midfielder to counteract the Whitecaps slick passing, and it worked like a charm.
Aside from a flurry of yellow cards, and a final ten minutes were the Rojiblancos put Cannon to the test in net, there wasn’t much to write home about in the second half.
A flash of energy came for Chivas in the 88th minute when James Riley sent in a curving cross in to Ben Zemanski, who timed his run perfectly to beat the Whitecaps backline. All Zemanski had to do was
one-time the ball past Cannon, but instead he skied it high and wide. It was easily the best chance for Chivas in the entire match.
“I think he’ll want that one back,” Cannon said of Zemanski’s miss after the match.
There’s no doubt Zemanski will be replaying that chance over again, as the game ended 0-0, with neither side able to find that final touch.
Chivas will have to find a way to play with urgency—and quickly—as they travel to Seattle to play the Sounders in the Open Cup semifinals on Tuesday. Fraser believes his team has the skill to compete with a team like Seattle.
“We have this quality in our group and we’ve seen it, not as often as we’d like to see, but we’ve definitely seen it,” Fraser said.
The Whitecaps continue their road trip, as they travel to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC on Wednesday. Vancouver will also be searching for those elusive goals against a TFC side that is on the rise.
“I thought generally our possession was good, especially in the first half, but ultimately it’s about that finish and we didn’t find it tonight, so back to the drawing board again,” said captain Jay DeMerit. “The good thing about things like that is that we have a game coming up real quick on Wednesday, so we can put that right.”