A Draw, A Win, And A Loss For Whitecaps FC
Beautiful San Diego California was the site for most of the Whitecaps FC training camp and first three preseason games. I can say it was beautiful because I happened to be down there for a week. Head coach Marc Dos Santos choose to bring camp to California this year instead of back to Hawaii as the team had down in the past. It seemed like a wise decision while it was nice out it was not Hawaii nice.
While the Whitecaps FC had already been down training for a couple of days I arrived in time for the first preseason game against the Columbus Crew. Tuesday afternoon from the University of California San Diego preseason kicked off and the Whitecaps FC came out with their new high press. Both teams were clearly trying to get their legs and they played to a 1-1 draw. Check out a more in-depth article about the Columbus game here. It was great to be back watching live Football again. The team showed glimpses and Ryan Raposo looked sharp scoring the only goal for Vancouver.
Wednesday was a day off for the team but it wasn't an off day for me. I was able to meet with Sports Talk Line and discuss the future, stay tuned for bigger and better things this year! Then I got to spend some time being a tourist and hanging out at the pool. Thursday was a training day and the Whitecaps FC were back in action. I happened to miss this day but did catch Friday. They worked on conditioning, fundamentals and then there new attacking press. It was great to see so much work ethic from the team and players were genuinely mad when a player did not get to their assignment in training.
Vancouver worked on the press to end the practice doing 11 on 11 drills on a shortened field. Trying to force the ball back as quickly as possible, it was a solid training session and the squad looked focused and ready to go. Marc and Phil Dos Santos were very vocal in the system they wanted to play and I think fans will be excited and surprised when they see it for themselves. There were a few players who have been held back in training with minor injuries but nothing seems serious enough to report on.
They finished the day with a water training session back at the hotel the sun was coming down and it was getting cold for San Diego. Only the Canadian players seemed to be cold but most dived right into the pool. After the session pretty much all of the team hung around the pool playing headers, ping pong, enjoying the hot tub or just hanging with the rest of the team. It was a nice sign to see as the Whitecaps FC look to be bonding very well early in the preseason.
Whitecaps FC Bring The Heat To FC Dallas
Saturday morning at 11:00 am again from the University of California San Diego home of the Tritans saw the Whitecaps FC second preseason game. This time against Dallas FC who were also down in the area having their training camp. In front of a decent-sized crowd and a baking 25-degree sun, the two teams kicked off. Vancouver started a very strong side and newcomers David Milinkovic and Christian Dajome got their first action in the preseason. Ryan Raposo started at #10 and looked to continue on the momentum from the first match.
The Whitecaps FC came out on the front foot with some high pressure. They seemed to be really buying into Marc Dos Santos's new style of play. They were also deploying a new 4-2-3-1 formation which allowed them to have more speed and attacking players on the pitch. They were rewarded from the pressure in the 21st minute. Milinkovic pressured high off the goal kick, Russell Teibert came up flying from his midfield position and caused a back pass to goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Teibert kept his run going and forced a mistake by the keeper as he put it right to Raposo. He made no mistake for his 2nd of the preseason and it was 1-0 Whitecaps FC.
Dallas would find an equalizer at the 30th-minute mark. Maxime Crepeau hesitated on a loose ball and Zdenek Ondrasek got to it first and snuck it past him to tie the game up at one. The Whitecaps FC retook the lead 5 minutes later on a free kick from Ali Adnan. He sent a left-footed seeing eyeshot into the top right corner to give Vancouver the lead back. Ali and Inbeom were standing over the free-kick and should do so most of the year.
The Whitecaps were able to keep the pressure on FC Dallas to end the first half. Off a corner, in the 39th minute, Russell Teibert was able to get the ball just outside the 18-yard box and unleash a rocket. The initial corner was cleared and the second attempt was also headed away. But the right to the Canadian who showed he has a bit of strike with the nice finish past Gonzalez. The Whitecaps FC took a 3-1 lead at the 39th-minute mark. You could tell it was FC Dallas's first preseason game as they looked a bit timid.
The first half was won by the Whitecaps FC as they were the more aggressive team. Lots of sliding tackles and aggressive challenges were frustrating to the FC Dallas side. They were calling for fouls after most plays and there were 2 yellow cards given in the first half of a chippy preseason game. Speaking with the Referee at halftime and he talked about how Vancouver was clearly the more prepared team to play and had come out taking this as a regular-season match. That is a good thing to see if you are a fan!
After a short break to get some water and calm down. FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez was a bit fired up at halftime yelling at the refs and his own players. The two teams resumed play for the second half. The Whitecaps FC made a handful of changes for the final 45 minutes.
The second half of the Whitecaps FC match was controlled mostly by FC Dallas. They had the majority of possession and corners. Thomas Hasal was making a good reason he should be on the squad and get time in the starting 18. He was able to control his backline being very vocal. Dallas was not able to convert on any of the corners they got in the second half. Vancouver was not able to get any solid chances the other way either. The second half saw a lot of players looking for spots on their respective squads.
The Whitecaps FC were able to seal the deal in the 80th minute with more of the press. After Dallas wasn't able to get any dangerous chances Yordy Reyna made them pay. He stole the ball at midfield shortly after FC Dallas won it back and came in on a breakaway. It showed great confidence and finish to chip it over the Keeper and the Whitecaps FC had a 4-1 lead. They would close out the game not allowing any more chances and the final whistle blew. It was a positive result with Raposo, Adnan, Teibert and Reyna all getting on the scoresheet.
The Whitecaps FC would train Sunday with Monday being a travel day after the 4-1 win against Dallas FC. Jasser Khmiri, Eric Godoy and new goalkeeper Bryan Meredith were held out of the game with slight injuries. Khmiri would get his preseason start against the L.A. Galaxy on Tuesday. The Whitecaps FC looked to find their ideal formation with a 4-2-3-1 which allows them to maximize the talent they have.
Training Camp For Whitecaps FC Moves Up To LA
The Whitecaps FC Preseason would continue in San Diego with a couple more days of training before heading up to LA on Monday. there they would face off against the L.A Galaxy at Dignity Sports park in Carson California. The team would play one more preseason game before returning back to Vancouver. It was a very closed-door affair as only the Whitecaps would reveal their starting lineup. Highlights were also at a premium for the game as both teams seemed to be fielding close to starting 11's.
Jasser Khmiri would get his first taste of preseason action and Freddy Montero would start as the #10 underneath Lucas Cavallini. It was a taste of what head coach Marc Dos Santos could start this season but there were still lots of questions. The Galaxy would come out the more attacking team scoring the first two goals. With the limited information, it was hard to tell which one was Aleksandar Katai but from the Galaxy highlights, he defiantly had one of them.
The Whitecaps FC would finish the first half down 2-0 to the LA Galaxy. Khmiri would be subbed off for Andy Rose in the 39th minute. Marc kept mostly the same lineup besides Khmiri to start the second half and he was rewarded. Designated Player and new addition Lucas Cavallini had been unlucky not to find the back of the net so far the preseason. He wouldn't be denied Tuesday as Adnan found Cavallini who tipped it to Inbeom and got it right back. He scored to cut the lead to 2-1 for the Whitecaps FC Feb. 4th.
It didn't take long for the Galaxy to restore their 2 goal lead as ********* ****** *** LA. And Then of course **** ***** ******** * *** ******. All in all, it was a good second half for the Galaxy with some confusion by the Whitecaps FC. A penalty kick and the score ended 4-1 in favor of the bad guys and it was a **** *** ** ****** ***** * **** and will be an **** ****** *** season for both squads. Please do not try and decipher the stars as you will get nowhere! It seemed to be a disappointing match against a well prepared LA Galaxy side.
Whitecaps FC Jersey Reveal And The Rest Of Preseason
Vancouver headed back home to train before a tournament down in Portland. They would have some more preseason action in the coming weeks. Some of the staff would head to New York where they revealed their new jerseys Wednesday evening along with the rest of the MLS teams. Jersey has been teased all over social media for most teams and people have complained they look alike. That was the point as Adidas is helping the MLS celebrate their 25th year. Have a look at the new kits that the Whitecaps FC will be wearing this year. Looks pretty good on Lucas Cavallini.
Don't worry if you are not a fan of these Whites FC Jersey as it will be an away kit. The beloved Hoop kit will still be around at home. I for one think they are sharp and simple and like the subtle patterns. The colour is also nice and is also a bit of a throwback to past years colours. MLS chooses to unveil all of the kits at a massive event and it was a good decision to draw more attention to the league.
The Portland tournament will go a long way to show what the team is looking like this year. Leonard Owusu should join the team in Vancouver and expect maybe one or two more signings before the season opener February 29th. I for one am excited about this season for so many reasons. To be fair I have got to see the team play already so maybe you should get out for the home opener if you don't take my word for it.