Left Coast By Design

Category: The 91st Minute

The 91st Minute – March 28 vs Portland Timbers

Doing something new this season, I plan on giving you a few of my thoughts at the end of every Whitecaps FC match I attend or watch. I’ve grown up on the game of soccer my whole life and feel that my opinion from the safety of my keyboard is just as good as the next blogger. Or at least pretty close to as good. Now on with our regularly scheduled feature.


After rattling off two wins on the road against the Chicago Fire and the expansion Orlando City SC, even the pessimistic of the fan base had to believe the ‘Caps were primed to notch their first MLS home victory against the Portland Timbers. And while a late marker – in the 91st Minute to boot – from Robert Earnshaw got them the win, not entirely sure the pessimists would be too happy.

That’s because the Whitecaps thought it best to play a road game at home.

Sure a win is a win is a win on any day of the week, but I’m thoroughly concerned that a derby match at home brought out a somehow tired Whitecaps squad. You had a “sold out” stadium with a solid contingent of Timbers Army supporters. You had the coaches getting into it via the media. The atmosphere was there. And yet, the play on the field was completely lacking.

Aside from two or three clean opportunities, the team was absent of chemistry and thoroughly outplayed by the Timbers. In fact, if not for that late game magic from recently signed Earnshaw and stellar play from Ousted, this could easily be marked as just another loss to the Timbers. Heck, it would’ve been a loss to the Timbers if possession were the only indication (Timbers had the ball 65% of the time!).

A Few Things

  • Where did the early connection between Octavio Rivero and Pedro Morales go? Or are teams now catching on and defending them well? Even though it seemed like Pedro and Octavio weren’t on the same page, it sure looked like the Timbers were reading both regardless.
  • How Pedro Morales goes seems to dictate how the Whitecaps go. Let’s hope we get creative Pedro against the Galaxy.
  • Props to Nicolas Mezquida on his performance filling in for the injured Mauro Rosales. Sure he scored the opening goal from a solid set piece, but what impressed me the most was his two-way game. It was quite obvious that Sam Adekugbe struggled once Mezquida went off for Deybi Flores.
  • Both Deybi Flores and Kianz Froese found some time during the crucial “bend, bend, bend, bend & don’t break” (they broke) stretch of Whitecaps play in the second half. While I’m all for Robbo getting the youngsters some crucial gameplay, not entirely sold on the left side combination of Adekugbe and Flores – seemed to be the Timbers got far more opportunities on the left side once that sub took place.
  • Will Jordan “The Goal Machine” Harvey get another start where Adekugbe is available to play? Sam misses most of training with bruised ribs (after being stretchered off in Orlando) and yet still starts over Jordan.

The 91st Minute – March 8 vs Toronto FC

Doing something new this season, I plan on giving you a few of my thoughts at the end of every Whitecaps FC match I attend or watch. I’ve grown up on the game of soccer my whole life and feel that my opinion from the safety of my keyboard is just as good as the next blogger. Or at least pretty close to as good. Now on with our regularly scheduled feature.


Talk about a tale of two halves. In the first half of play, the ‘Caps carried much of the play through a high standard of pace, yet could only capitalize on one Octavio Rivero opportunity (and that was to make amends for his early flub on what was a sure goal). Yet, Toronto held their own and got a marker of their own from Jozy Alitdore in the 32nd minute.

Unfortunately, the Whitecaps chose to leave all the creativity and pace in the locker room upon their return to the pitch in the second half and TFC took advantage. After Robbie Findley put the Reds ahead in the 59th minute, the Whitecaps had no answer to Toronto’s smart defensive play. Morales looked gassed. Manneh channeled his inner-Mattocks. Heck, even Mattocks channeled his inner-Mattocks. Regardless, a late penalty kick awarded to Toronto led Altidore to grab his second of the match and a final score of 3-1 for the wrong side.

A Few Things

  • Octavio Rivero did look to be the striker the Whitecaps did not have last season, flub aside. Sure it was only one match, but he had solid pace and was constantly pushing the TFC defenders.
  • Then there was Pedro Morales. In the first half he was phenomenal, but it he seemed to tire significantly as the game went on and frankly had me wondering if he wasn’t him instead of Rosales that should’ve been subbed off.
  • While I’m somewhat adverse to the stretch ’em long and kick the ball long style, there’s definitely much to be seen if a team ever plays the Whitecaps tight. So much pace available to the front line and from the bench.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, was disappointed to see fans litter the field with debris. While I don’t know what Altidore did to attract the attention of a few fans in the south side, there’s no excuse for anyone to be tossing their beverages, garbage and other such crap on to the field. Having had season tickets for the four of the Whitecaps five MLS seasons, I cannot remember a time where that much crap made its way to the pitch – streamers aside.

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