The Vancouver Whitecaps are through to the semi-final of the Canadian Championship but only on the away-goals rule after coming up short tonight in a 1-0 loss to Cavalry FC.

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini called the performance “shameful.”

“I got to be honest with you guys because when one team tries to win and the other team is very casual, that’s a recipe for the game that happened here,” he said.

Cyprian Kachwele signed another short-term contract with the Whitecaps earlier in the day and was put straight into the starting XI by Sartini as the no. 9. With no. 10’s of Levonte Johnson and Australian newcomer Giuseppe Bovalina, it was a brand new attacking front for the home side.

Much was said about the three up front given the lack of MLS experience between them. Johnson has emerged in recent matches as an option in the no. 10 role, but that has only come off a performance in the first leg of this tie. Both Bovalina and Kachwele were in their starting debuts having only played off the bench previously.

It was a first half dominated by sloppy passing and errant balls. Early chances were exchanged with neither side could break the other down for the first half hour.

Kachwele had a golden opportunity in the 13th minute. Luis Martins played up the left to Johnson who quickly put the ball into the path of the young Tanzanian forward. The shot forced Marco Carducci into a dive, barely getting his fingertips on enough of the ball to divert it wide.

Cavalry came back with their own attempt at the half-hour mark. William Akio received the ball all alone in the 18-yard box to the right of Boehmer. But the Whitecaps goalkeeper was quick off his line and made his body big to block the shot.

It was Cavalry that struck first. William Akio’s cross was intercepted by Ranko Veselinović, but he could not handle it.

The ball deflected off Veselinović’s leg and past Boehmer, tying the game on aggregate in the 33rd minute.

And though that should have shocked the Whitecaps into action, they looked lethargic and unable to mount any sort of counter.

The second brought needed changes to try and inject some life into the squad, but the effort continued to deteriorate.

“I really didn’t like the attitude of the team,” Sartini said of the overall effort. “But that’s on me. That’s 100 per cent on me.”

Neither side could add anything, but it was Cavalry that looked like the team that wanted to with the two-legged tie.

They almost did late in the game, but Boehmer kept the Whitecaps alive. Aside from the own goal, which should not be attributed to him, he was one of the lone competent players for the home side.

A proud moment for Cavalry

In contrast to the Whitecaps, Cavalry imposed their physical game, particularly in the first half. The Whitecaps may have been the better passing team, but it was Cavalry winning the duels and tackles.

“I would say they deserve to win the game. They deserve to win the game, and we qualify only because we were better in Calgary [in the first leg].”

This was the second time Cavalry has come to BC Place to play the Whitecaps. They have now won on both occasions.

A hard reset

Sartini said the match was the “lowest point” of his Whitecaps career. However, he and the team do not have time to dwell on the match as there is another important game coming up this weekend.

“I got to be honest, if you ask me tonight, who plays Saturday, I don’t know. I have no idea. I have no idea because they were all bad. So, we need to forget today.”

The upcoming weekend match will see Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami team come to BC Place. The match is on Saturday, May 25.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.