The Vancouver Whitecaps came to the Rose City to build a bonfire. Unfortunately, the Portland Timbers built one first and the Whitecaps ended up getting burned.

After a poor game against the New England Revolution, this was a chance for Vancouver to bounce back. But they squandered it and it was another disappointing and frustrating night.

What we learned

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini put out an interesting lineup. That included Mathias Laborda as the holding defensive midfielder.

That’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them.

The Whitecaps started fine. It was better than the game in New England but there was still a lot to be desired. Sebastian Berhalter made some dangerous crosses from the right wing. However, no one has on the end of them.

The Whitecaps were doing well. Their transitions looked good but they couldn’t create anything. They were close but managed one shot on target in the first half. Vancouver was close to creating shots but what is close? There is no close in soccer other than good plays and bad plays.

Speaking of bad plays, the Timbers scored twice off them. Javain Brown mishandled controlling Evander’s long ball and Jonathan Rodriguez made him and the rest of the team pay. Dang it. Portland is always a dangerous team off transitions and Vancouver got cooked.

The Whitecaps looked shaken up after the goal and The Timbers kept coming. There was some really poor defending from Laborda, Tristan Blackmon and Ranko Veselinovic as Felipe Mora scored a banger. None of them took him on.

Unfortunately, things got worse in the second half. After getting a yellow card for tugging on Diego Chara’s shirt in the first half, Alessandro Schöpf got his second yellow…for doing the exact same thing. Sure, you can argue that the first yellow could’ve been just a foul but it is disappointing to see a veteran like Schöpf get sent off for that.

The good news was the Whitecaps did not concede any more goals. The bad news was that they couldn’t score one themselves. Unfortunately, Vancouver was firing like Stormtroopers. Well not exactly because at least Stormtroopers manage to get their shots off. The ‘Caps only managed seven shots in contrast to the Timbers seven. But only two were on target for Vancouver.

Once again, nobody was getting in on the crosses, the passes could’ve been better and the build-up lacked the edge.

After the opening Timbers goal, it felt like the Whitecaps got their lives sucked out of them. It was like the aliens from Space Jam arrived. Well, maybe not that but it was very clear how lacklustre they looked.

There was a lot of miscommunication with the passes. The frustration was also showing with 12 fouls and two yellow cards.

They had a plan but once the first goal went in, it was out the window. Once again, it wasn’t good enough.

Stat of the match

Fotmob has the expected goals at 1.19 to 0.45 in favour of the Timbers. That sounds about right.

What was said

Sartini talked about his team needing more confidence.

“That’s the big word because after the first goal, the tactical transformation of the team became like a team that was all behind & no one was trying to press,” he said. “It’s something we need to improve on for sure.”

Ryan Gauld has been in very good form the past few weeks. He didn’t score on Saturday but it was clear he was the one leading the offensive charge the Whitecaps had, even though there wasn’t much.

“It’s the main job we need to do,” said Sartini when asked about taking the pressure off Gauld. “We need to figure out how to score, how to finish these chances we created, and how to get this team to score more goals.”

“I think after that first goal, I think we dropped off a bit more,” said Berhalter.

“When you look at the effort in the second half, it was there from every single guy,” he also said. “From ten men I think we stuck together as a group…it’s frustrating. But I know we’re a good group of guys and we’ll be OK.”

Best of Twitter

Best Helmet

I was surprised when I saw Bjorn Inge Utvik wasn’t starting. Aside from the game in Colorado where he got sent off, he has proven he is a capable starter for this team.

Best burnt by the bonfire

Rivalry games are great. They aren’t great when your team loses, especially in the way the Whitecaps did. There was some effort but they were lacking that spark, or that hunger to win. Instead of turning zero into one, they were turning zero into negative one.

Best I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore

Something it’s better to say nothing. It is also sometimes hard to put a performance like that into words.

Best told ya so

Looks like signing free agents from within MLS wasn’t the best transfer policy. Who would’ve thought? In all seriousness, it was an underwhelming winter window for the Whitecaps but looking back, I still thought they had a good enough squad to compete for the top four in the Western Conference. However, they need more than just “good enough” on the roster.

The transfer window opens on July 18 for MLS. It can’t come soon enough. Since he arrived in 2019, Whitecaps Sporting Director and CEO Axel Schuster’s summer windows have been way better than his winters. So there is hope at least, it’s not much but it’s something.

Best 3.14

There is nothing like a good pie. After watching a game like that, why not have some? Sources have told me that Nathan had an apple pie. Now I’m craving an apple pie or a mango peach pie from Jollibee. Now those are good stuff.


As Will McKenzie from The Inbetweeners famously put it: Well that was *Bleeping* Dreadful.

In their last 10 games, the Whitecaps are 2-3-5. This is bad, this is very, very bad. Vancouver has not been the same team since the 4-0 win over Toronto FC on April 16. Remember that? Those were good times. Whitecaps Twitter was a happy place. It felt like the Whitecaps were the greatest team the world has ever seen and no one could stop them. Dreams of home playoff games and trophies danced in the heads of the Whitecaps faithful. It was beautiful.

But now? It is the opposite of that. It is more dread, anger, disappointment, or whatever other negative feeling you can think of. The NFL’s Detroit Lions and their fans have an infamous saying: Same old Lions. The feeling is the same with the Whitecaps and they are showing they are the same old Whitecaps. That is a team that disappoints and is ridiculed by many for not showing improvement and spending money.

This year was supposed to be different, it was supposed to be a special one. It is disappointing to see it go to waste. Of course, we are barely halfway through the season but things need to change, we all know that. But how can things change? Tactical adjustments? Yeah. New signings? Absolutely. Outgoings? Yeah, I can think of a few. A new coach? Unlikely at this point.

Vancouver now sits ninth in the Western Conference and has games in hand on multiple teams. To make things worse the Seattle Sounders came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 against FC Dallas. Brilliant, just brilliant! They can’t waste this special year any longer. I’m tired of the same old Whitecaps and I’m sure you are too.

Up next is St. Louis SC as they visit BC Place next Saturday. (June 29) Kickoff is at 7:30 pm.