After A 0-0 Fulltime Whitecaps Fall to Sporting KC in Penalty Kicks
A brave effort by Vancouver to keep it 0-0 after 90 minutes but the Whitecaps fall to Sporting KC in the MLS round of 16 knockout stage. Sporting KC won 3-1 on Penalties and they will advance to play the Philadelphia Union in the Quarter Finals.
Thomas Hasal got his second clean sheet in as many starts and the Whitecaps defense was able to minimalize or block any real chances. That or Sporting KC just outright missed the net on open chances as they did several times. It didn't matter in the end as Tim Melia did what he so often does and stops Penalty Kicks to help SKC to the victory.
Whitecaps and Sporting KC Lineups And Game Notes
The Vancouver Whitecaps were without the 5 players that didn't travel to Orlando. They were also without, Janio Bikel, Maxime Crepeau, Jasser Khmiri, Eric Godoy, David Milinkovic and Bryan Meredith. They also were unable to get the services of Jonathan Sirois on loan for this match so Ali Adnan was the backup keeper. You can't make this stuff up!
Head coach Marc Dos Santos would once again switch formations and move to a 4-4-1-1. Theo Bair would be up top and Inbeom Hwang would occupy the number 9 role. Canadian Cristian Gutierrez made his first MLS start at Left back and Ali Adnan would start where he finished the last match on the wing. MDS had little to work with off the bench after Milinkovic was unable to go. The average age for Vancouver was 23 years and 10 months with captain Russel Teibert the oldest player on the pitch.
Sporting KC went with a strong lineup that featured Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, and Mexican International Alan Pulido up front. Former Whitecaps Eric Hurtado was on the bench after scoring in the opening match against his former club.
Sporting KC came in as the heavy favorite after winning their group and would try and take care of things early. The longer Vancouver was able to stay in the game the more chance they had and we would see just that before heartbreaking penalty kicks.
Vancouver Was Able To Hold On In The First Half
Despite some brief moments by Inbeom, Theo Bair, and Cristian Dajome in the first half the Whitecaps were able to just hold on. Thomas Hasal in his second MLS start was another big reason the score stayed 0-0 in the first half. A Couple of big saves on a Gadi Kinda header, and a shot from distance by Ilie Sanchez. Hasal was everywhere including in the back of the net heading the camera.
Sporting Kansas City would have the majority of the chances and should have been up at least one nothing after Johnny Russell skied a great chance and several free headers over the net or off-target.
Very Similar to the Chicago Fire game Vancouver was happy to force things to the outside and block as many of the chances that they could. Sporting KC was quickly racking up the corners and ended the half with 7 and 22 shots on net with 6 on Target. Vancouver would take quick spells of possession but couldn't mount anything in the final third, this was just pasted in from my clipboard of all other Whitecaps articles.
A Scoreless Second Half But Whitecaps Fall To Sporting KC On Penalty Kicks
There isn't much more to say about the second half than the first. Thomas Hasal made some more great saves and Vancouver held on. Theo Bair had some chances early in the half but couldn't quite get them to go. A deflection wide in the 55th minute and a header driven down that was easy for Keeper Tim Melia.
Sporting KC would continue things where they left off in the first half. More pressure, more crosses, and more chances. Hasal had to be sharp to deflect a Pulido shot off the post and out. SKC was first to make substitutions bringing on Gianluca Busio for Roger Espinoza and Gerso Fernandes for Johnny Russel in the 67th minute.
There was a bit of a scary moment and Ali Adnan looked to be getting keeper instructions when Thomas Hasal was struck in the head. Thankfully for the Caps, he was able to continue. Marc Dos Santos would bring on his one and only sub Yordy Reyna for Inbeom Hwang in the 72nd minute. Daniel Salloi was brought on for Khiry Shelton after he looked to tweak his groin in the 80th minute and that was the final sub for either team.
Reyna and Dajome had flashes but couldn't get anything to really connect as the Whitecaps fall to Sporting KC. Vancouver would watch the clock tick down.
When the final whistle blew there would be no added time and we would decide things from the spot. Vancouver chose to shot first and sent out Dajome who beat keeper Tim Melia but not the post. Alan Pulido would step up first for Sporting KC and calmly bury it past Hasal. Next for Vancouver was Leonard Owusu, Melia guessed the right way and was able to get a hand on it but not enough to stop it from going into the net.
After Ilie was able to make it 2-1 from the spot Marc Dos Santos sent out Center Back Derek Cornelius as his 3rd shot taker. I understand this as Derek has a good history from the spot but you need to make sure your best players shoot. I would have liked to see Reyna or Adnan in this spot. Melia guessed right and was able to give sporting KC a great chance to close things out.
Thomas Hasal continued on his fairy tale run with a great save on Daniel Salloi to keep Vancouver in it but Reyna was stopped before substitute Gianluca Busio was able to beat Hasal as the Whitecaps fall to sporting KC.
Bad penalty takes? wrong players? More subs? There would be a lot of questions from this game if you wanted them. Considering what the team has had to go through including the delays in travel and the bubble in general It was a rather positive performance.
Post Game Media From The Whitecaps
It was a tough way to go out but head coach Marc Dos Santos, Russell Teibert, and Thomas Hasal were all in relatively good spirits. Despite it being after 1 in the morning Orlando time and Rusty wanting to get some food. MDS talked about the match and the Whitecaps fall to Sporting KC,
“I thought tactically our approach, we covered the ground how we wanted to go about the game. The effort of everyone was fantastic. We tried to put ourselves in a position that in the second half, we could have finished our opportunities. There’s two really close ones. I think a shot that got deflected from Theo that was so close, then a very good free-kick from Ali that was close. Look, my guys are fantastic. The foundations of this group and the foundations of what we could be about is great and I am very excited to see how this group is going to look like when we are going to be able to work with consistency with everyone."
"Very young team today, incredible professionalism and effort. We did everything we could and then penalty shots, its 50/50. I saw Maradona miss, I saw Platini miss, I saw Ronaldinho miss. You know, it happens. I am very proud of the group. I am very proud of our guys. I am very proud of the staff, not only the technical staff, the medical staff, everybody that came here with the right attitude and every time there’s a setback or a problem, the attitude of the staff, of everyone in the club, of the players was incredible. So we are leaving this tournament stronger that’s for sure.”
On The Performance of Thomas Hasal
"Thomas needs to stay focused. Thomas needs to stay away from the blah blah blah of social media and guys that get too excited fast and too low fast."
Checks phone messages to Thomas... Sorry Coach.
Thomas needs to stay in his bubble and focus, keep working and it is the only way he is going to become better and better, but he showed great signs in the last 180 minutes but I said it yesterday I think, when you look at Thomas, what he showed in pre-season and how he listens and how he works with Bryan and how he works with Max, it is important for his growth. He needs to stay in planet earth and not allow media or people to bring him to planet mars. He needs to stay in planet earth.”
I asked Russell Teibert about the motivation and support he could feel from the sideline? It wasn't worded as eloquently as that but thankfully he understood what I was trying to ask.
“This was a collective effort not just from the 11 guys that were out on the field and from the subs that came on. This was from an organization – everybody needed to step up to the plate and do their job and you saw that. You saw that in ways like you mentioned – from the support, from the staff, from the players, from the subs, everybody on the side cheering this team on, wanting it for the club, wanting it for the fans."
"It’s truly special when you have everybody pulling on the same direction. That’s what we had here. And that’s what makes teams. Teams grow from experience like this, from tournaments like this, from times like this. Especially in defeat, you learn in defeat and that’s exactly what we’ll do here tonight.”
Keeper Thomas Hasal When Asked About The Game and His Performance
“Yeah, of course it’s been a big, special first few days, but I think tonight is all about being proud of our team performance, especially feeling now, we’re obviously disappointed to be out of the tournament, but, it’s a feeling of pride for everyone out on the field that gave their all today. These guys in front of me didn’t stop running, especially this guy beside me. Not one player gave up for a single moment in this game and the rest of the team is a part of it as well. Everyone was a part of it, and everyone has given their all these last few days.”
After the Whitecaps Fall to Sporting KC in the MLS round of 16 veteran Keeper Tim Melia was asked about the performance by 21 year old Canadian Thomas Hasal,
"He was the difference-maker all game. I think that we controlled a lot of that game, we could’ve maybe had a little better execution in front of goal but he changed the entire game, he kept that team in. He’s a very young goalkeeper and he had a great performance. The future’s bright for all of Vancouver’s goalkeepers, I think they’re all very talented and they have a very good future ahead of them."
There could be big things to come for the young Canadian after his impressive showing in the MLS is back tournament. Despite the Whitecaps fall to Sporting KC, he can't be blamed for it and if you look at the roster and the performances there isn't much blame to go around.
Ali Adnan scored a beauty, Reyna scored and looked sharp off the bench. Dajome netted 2 for Vancouver and Leonard Owusu looked impressive in the midfield. Jasser Khmiri, Derek Cornelius, and Ranko Veselinovic all had mistakes but give a lot of promise if the season is to resume after the Whitecaps fall to Sporting KC.
The Whitecaps Are Out Of The MLS Round Of 16 Knockout But The Action Continues
As MDS said the team will now head back to Vancouver and have to quarantine for 14 days before getting back to normal lives and training. Sporting Kansas City will continue on to the Quarter Finals with a Thursday, July 30th match against the Philadelphia Union. Make sure to stay tuned to Sports Talk Line as we will keep bringing you MLS is Back Tournament coverage.
Despite the Whitecaps fall to Sporting KC the MLS season will go on and I'll make sure to bring you Interviews, news, and more so make sure to follow me on twitter. And check out the Unnamed Sports Show on The Sports Talk Line YouTube Channel every Thursday at 3 pm Pacific 6 pm Eastern Time as I go live to talk sports and chat with guests every week.