By FRANCO PANIZO
It took just seven minutes for the Vancouver Whitecaps to face their first bit of adversity in the 2013 season.
It did not phase them.
The Whitecaps lost captain Jay DeMerit to a non-contact injury in the opening minutes of their season opener but still managed to defeat Toronto FC, 1-0, at BC Place on Saturday evening. The game’s lone goal came in the second half through midfielder Gershon Koffie, who finished off a beautiful passing sequence with a low shot to the near corner to hand TFC head coach Ryan Nielsen a loss in his coaching debut.
While the win may not have been too convincing, Vancouver’s speedsters Darren Mattocks, Kekuta Manneh and Daigo Kobayashi all challenged TFC’s back line from the opening whistle. Toronto’s defense held up well in the first half but the closing 45 minutes were a bit of a different story.
With Nigel Reo-Coker replacing Manneh at halftime, the Whitecaps got the requisite added sharpness that was needed to put away their Canadian rivals. Vancouver found the breakthrough in the 59th minute when Koffie beat Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik with a low shot that came following some good combination play from Kobayashi and Lee Young-Pyo, among others.
Toronto FC never really came close to finding an equalizer, but rookie midfielder Kyle Bekker looked mature beyond his years in the match. Still, there were not many bright spots for TFC to draw from as the Whitecaps piled on the pressure late in the game in search of an insurance goal.
What do you think of the Whitecaps’ 1-0 victory against Toronto FC? Impressed by all the speed the Whitecaps possess? Is it going to be another long season for TFC?
Share your thoughts below.