The Vancouver Whitecaps at Columbus Crew stumbled out of the gate in a 4-0 defeat. t wasn’t the start that Vanni and company wanted to start the season. two first-half goals and then a second yellow to Jake Nerwinski in the 53rd minute made a hard task even more impossible.
Lineups, News And Notes
The Vancouver Whitecaps were without Brian White who was still recovering from a knock at training during the week. As expected, Head Coach Vanni Sartini went with a 3-1-4-2 formation. Thomas Hasal would get the start in the net with Jake Nerwinski, Ranko Veselinovic, and Tristan Blackmon playing as the back 3. Michale Baldisimo would get the start behind Ryan Gaul and Russell Teibert. Cristian Dajome and Javain Brown will play on the wings while Deiber Caicedo joins Lucas Cavallini up top.
The Columbus Crew and Head Coach Caleb Porter would go with a 4-2-3-1 formation for the season opener. Eloy Room would start between the sticks with a back 4 of Pedro Santos, Milos Degenek, Jonathan Mensah, and Steven Moriera from left to right. Darlington Nagbe and Artur provided deep midfield support. Derrick Etienne Jr., Lucas Zelarayán, and Yaw Yeboah would provide support for Miguel Berry up top as the lone striker.
The Columbus Crew Would Set The Tone Early In The 1st Half
The Whitecaps would kick off the 2022 season but turn it over quickly to the Crew. They would rush down the right side and Veselinovic was forced to clear it out for a corner. The 2nd-minute corner was cleared and controlled by the visiting side. The Crew would steal it back and Zelarayán would take an attempt from outside the box. His shot was over the net in the 3rd minute. The Whitecaps started off slowly as they felt out the match, making a couple of errant passes.
A steal from Columbus and they were able to win their 2nd corner of the match. Zelarayán would find Degenek in the box but his header was popped well over the net. The match moved into the 8th minute with the Crew once again on the front foot. They would be rewarded as the ball was played into Berry from Zelarayán. His shot was deflected off both Nerwinski and Veselinovic and past Hasal for the 1-0 lead in the 8th minute.
It was not the start Vancouver wanted and they continued to chase possession. The teams would trade fouls in the Caps half and Columbus could bring people forward for another set-piece. The ball was floated to the back post and bounced around before Nerwinski could clear but only to half. Etienne would try a shot from the right side of the box and Nerwinski was able to block it out of touch for a Crew throw. Some hard work down the touchline would win the Caps back the ball and they were able to slow things down and hold possession as we passed the 15th minute.
The Crew would wait for their chance to counter and Artur would beat Nerwinski down the right side. He was in too tight and his chip shot was an easy save for Hasal. The attack would be relentless from the Crew and Artur would get another attempt to beat Hasal. His shot skipped off the grass and Hasal was able to smother it up. Vancouver would try and move quickly and win a free-kick thanks to Cavallini. Gauld would play it quick trying to find Dajome down the right-wing but his pass was a bit heavy.
Things almost went from bad to worse for the visiting side but Hasal was able to come well out of his net and clear away the lobbing ball over top. The crew was getting chances at will as Berry would try a back heal to Etienne. His shot was weak and right at the chest of Hasal but it was all home side as the 1st half moved into the 22nd Minute. Caicedo would get a bit rough tackling Nagbe and was shown a yellow card by Referee Nima Saghafi.
Getting outplayed with the Football the Whitecaps would resort to more physical tactics. Veselinovic was given a talking to after a push on Berry. It didn’t seem to work as Columbus would double their lead in the 25th minute. Brown was late to track back down the left side and Blackmon was far too narrow. Yeboah was able to pick out Etienne wide open at the back post and he slotted it easily past Hasal. It was not the start that Whitecaps wanted for their 2022 season.
Vancouver was winning the yellow card battle as Jake Nerwinski plowed down Yeboah. The free-kick was cleared at the edge of the box and the Caps tried to regain their composure. Zelarayán would haul down Caicedo and Vancouver tried to slow things down as we neared the 30th minute. They would finally string together some successive passes but it was shut down quickly by the Crew. Yeboah would try and sneak in but he was in an offside position. With a 2-0 goal lead the home side wasn’t in a rush to press the issue.
They would wait for the Whitecaps to make a mistake and then try and strike. Artur was given far too much space at the top of the box and curled a shot just over the woodwork and Hasal. With 10 minutes plus stoppage time, Vancouver tried to get one back. A nice run from Teibert and he was able to cross it into the box looking for Cavallini. Vancouver would win their 1st corner of the match and Gauld would drive it into the near post.
It was an easy clear for the Crew and they tried to counter. A nice defensive play from Baldisimo would stop those ideas as he was able to get position on Etienne and win the foul call. The Whitecaps looked more lively in the final part of the half as they got their legs. They would win a 38th-minute corner and Gauld would try the near post once again. It was flicked back by Brown but right to Zelarayán. Santos would make a nice overlapping run but his early cross into the box was too close to the Caps keeper and he was able to come off his line and stop the danger.
Columbus would get their first yellow card of the match in the 40th minute as Yeboah and Teibert came together. Yeboah would take the brunt of the contact and remain down on the pitch for several minutes. After the play resumed the match slowed down as Vancouver tried to limp to the whistle only down 2. They would play keep away at the back before Hasal sent a ball too long and out for a throw. The teams would trade possession before Columbus got another great chance.
The Crew countered with numbers and Moreira would find Etienne. He decided to cut it back into the box but Veselinovic was able to make a diving block. The ball popped up in the air and Hasal was able to jump higher and keep it 2-0. It was defensive lapse after defensive lapse as Etienne was wide open again and this time Blackmon had to make a sliding save. Zelarayán would get once more chance but the ball just deflected over the net off Baldisimo.
The 4th official would signal an added 2 minutes of stoppage time before the Whitecaps were able to clear the corner. Columbus would hold onto the ball and Vancouver crawled off the pitch when Saghafi blew the whistle on the 1st half.
Things Went From Worse To Worser For The Caps In The 2nd Half
The Whitecaps would make one change at halftime bringing on Sebastian Berhalter for Baldisimo. Columbus would kick off the 2nd half action but it was Vancouver that would go on the early attack. They would win a deep throw and Nerwinski would find Gauld. It looked like he was taken down in the box by Moreira but referee Saghafi was having none of it. Vancouver would win the ball right back and Dajome would get a chance to fire one from distance. His shot sailed wide of the net for a goal kick.
The Whitecaps seemed to talk about their defensive form as Jake Nerwinski was in a much better position and blocked the cross before Dajome collected it and cleared. The match moved into the 51st minute with the Caps looking much better. Ryan Gauld would win a free-kick and Vancouver would bring players forward. The delivery was still off and Columbus would try and counter. Nerwinski looked to be beaten and pull back Yeboah. He was shown his second yellow card of the match and Vancouver was down to 10 men.
Columbus would almost add to their lead as Santos would cross it into the box perfectly to Yeboah. He wasn’t able to keep his header down and it went over the net for a goal kick. Gauld and Cavallini would try and work a give and go down the left side but it was stopped easily. The counter was even more wide open after the red-card and Hasal was forced to make a huge save to keep it 2-0. Etienne would race down the left side and fire a shot heading for the top corner. Hasal was able to get enough on it to force it out for a corner.
The corner was cleared in the 56th minute but Columbus was right back in. A chip by Artur and Zelarayán would attempt a bicycle kick but just miss the ball. Vanni Sartini would make his second change of the match in the 57th minute replacing Teibert with Cristián Gutiérrez. Things almost got even worse as his first touch caused him to come up a bit labored. He was okay to continue as Vancouver remained in control of the ball despite being down a man.
Berhalter tried to find Caicedo but it was cleared away from danger by the Crew defender. Things would roll on past the 60th minute as it felt like Columbus was just playing with their food before they ate it. Artur would almost make it 3-0 as he fired a shot right off the crossbar. Cavallini would try and counter for the Whitecaps but was tracked down by Santos, but a little too hard, and Vancouver would win the free-kick. It was a short delivery again and cleared by the Crew.
Vancouver would make their 3rd change of the match bringing on Pedro Vite for Caicedo in the 65th minute. Cavallini would try his luck from a long way away but it was deflected over the goal for a Caps corner. Ryan Gauld’s delivery Saturday would leave lots of questions as it was right to the Crew and they tried to counter once again. Vancouver was able to get players back and Columbus was happy to play it back and control possession.
They would win another corner in the 67th minute and Zelarayán floated it in. He bounced around before Berry would kick it over the net. Caleb Porter would make his first two changes in the 69th minute. Luis Diaz would replace Yeboah and Aidan Morris would come on for Artur. Cavallini would almost get the Whitecaps on the board on a corner in the 71st minute. Gutiérrez would Drive it in short but the touch by Cavallini was wide.
Columbus would make another change as Gyasi Zardes would come on in the 73rd for Berry. The game would get somewhat chirpy for the next couple of minutes as both teams were more concerned with running through tackles than getting the ball. The Crew would counter but a great tackle from Gutiérrez would break things up. Gauld would win a free-kick and Vancouver was able to get players forward but there were always far more yellow jerseys than blue in the box.
Columbus would get a bit physical as Morris would be shown a yellow card for kicking through Gauld in the 79th minute. After several minutes of back and forth play the Columbus Crew would put the match out of reach. Etienne would rush down the left side and lay it off in the box for Zardes. He would slot it to a wide-open Diaz who would fire it in the top of the net and make it 3-0.
Things went from worse to worser just minutes later as Lucas Zelarayán would dance in and make no mistake. The Argentinean was rewarded for all of his hard work. Caleb Porter would make two changes after the goal, Alexandru Matan would come on for Etienne while Jame Igbekeme would replace Nagbe.
The Whitecaps would make more changes in the 88th minute as Cavallini and Gauld would make way for Emiliano Brienza and Ryan Raposo. Columbus would control things as the final minutes would wind down. The 4th official would unmercifully signal 4 added minutes of stoppage time as the Caps tried to keep it 4-0. It was kick and chase as the time slowed down. Brienza would get a shot late for Vancouver but it was wide. The final whistle would eventually go as the Crew gave their fans something happy to go home about.
For the Whitecaps it’s a long flight home and a wonder what could have been with 11 men the entire match. A bad bounce but Columbus was clearly the better team on Saturday afternoon. The Crew finished the afternoon with a 7-0 advantage in shots on the net, those are important. The good thing for Vancouver is it is only game 1 of 34.
Post Game Thoughts And Media After A Vancouver Whitecaps At Columbus Crew 4-0 Loss
Head Coach Vanni Sartini Spoke to the Media following the Vancouver Whitecaps at Columbus Crew 4-0 defeat. He was asked his thoughts on the match.
“Yeah, the result speaks for itself and I think for one to analyze, it was a very bad start, very bad first 20-25 minutes and then we actually did much better the last 15 minutes of the first half until Jake (Nerwinski) has been sent off. We were doing well, we were back in the game. I think we were doing the things that we were supposed to do, and we were playing much better. Then after Jake has been sent off, of course it was really hard, so maybe 4-0 is too hard. We need to forget the result. Don’t forget the things that we have to do better, work on it and because next Saturday, there’s another top team coming to BC Place and we need to get a result there.”
Then I asked Vanni about the play of the midfield this afternoon and if he thought they were rushing passes and trying to be too perfect on day one?
Sebastian Berhalter spoke last and was asked about the match and settling in with his new team.
“Tough game going in, it’s not the result we wanted. Number one, we’re out there to compete and win the game, obviously it didn’t go the way we wanted, just disappointing. You know, to have a red card […], it’s just disappointing to not come up with a result especially in the first game… I felt good, the guys are great and they all have been super welcoming, Vanni too, it makes it really clear and straightforward. I did feel comfortable but it’s unfortunate how the game went, but it felt good to get out there and it felt good to wear a Whitecaps shirt for sure.”
The Unnamed Moments Of The Match
It was not the start that the Vancouver Whitecaps were looking for to kick off the 2022 Major League Soccer season. Of course, I would get tested to find The Unnamed Moments Of The Match in a 4-0 drubbing. But I wouldn’t be a good writer if I didn’t! So Naturally, this section will remain blank…
The Unnamed It’s The First Match Of The Year Nima
Well, I did agree with the second yellow card given to Jake Nerwinski in the 53rd minute. That was the only yellow card that I agreed with. It’s the first match of the season and nothing besides the tug was egregious. Week 34? Sure but not week 1.
The Unnamed Lapse Of The Match
The Whitecap’s first goal shot themselves in the foot and it was a tale of defensive mistakes. How is Derrick Etienne that wide open!
The Unnamed Tweet Of The Match
Sometimes it’s the little things! Or the lack of having to clean up a whole bunch of little things. You can always count on Couch Ultras to make some kind of positive after a 4-0 loss. Minimal goal celebration clean up at least.
Sports Talk Line And The Vancouver Whitecaps
The Whitecaps return to Vancouver for their home opener at BC Saturday, March 5th. They will hope for a better result but at least Sebastian Berhalter is excited to play in front of his home crowd for the first time. “I’m really excited. I can’t wait to be in front of all the supporters for the first time. It’ll be great to be able to play in that stadium. I think, not only for myself but we’re all really excited, and hopefully can go out there and get a win.”
Make sure to tune into the Sports Talk Line Website and Youtube Channel all season for Vancouver Whitecaps coverage. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JoshuaGriffith0 for the latest news and updates as I give you away match and home match coverage from BC Place.
And don’t forget to check out the 90 + Podcast twice a week as we break down the game that was and look ahead to the Vancouver Whitecaps’ next opponent!