Sunday, August 30, 2009

Match Report: Vancouver Whitecaps v Rochester Rhinos (USL1)

Vancouver Whitecaps stayed in the final USL playoff place last night following their 1-1 draw at home to Rochester Rhinos.

The point extended the Caps unbeaten streak to five games and with just five more League games remaining and a seven point gap over 8th placed Miami, a play off place is all but assured. It's where they finish in the play off mix that's up for grabs now.

It wasn't their best performance of the season but was far from their worst and they were unlucky not to take all three points from the encounter and tie Rochester for 5th place.

The first half was end to end stuff, with both teams having chances to open the scoring and the Whitecaps had Jay Nolly to thank for a couple of important stops. The Caps were the more dangerous looking side and pinged a few efforts agonisingly just wide, with Martin Nash and Nizar Khalfan having two good efforts.

Vancouver continued to force the action in the second half with Khalfan and substitute Gordon Chin having a couple of good chances before they finally got their deserved breakthrough on 66 minutes.

Wes Knight took one of his trademark long throw's from the right and it hit the right spot, in this case Charles Gbeke's shoulder, to fly into the net. A good goalscorer can find the net with any part of his body and Gbeke did just that to score his 10th goal of the season and give the Caps a 1-0 lead.

I have to say that I thought that that would be the match winner as Rochester were looking unlikely to find a way past Jay Nolly, but they did just that in an unorthodox fashion with ten minutes remaining.

It was two ex Whitecaps players that combined to tie the game up (isn't that so often the case). The classless Steve Kindel made a run down the left before whipping over a perfect cross to Ze Roberto. The Brazilian failed to connect properly and headed the ball into the ground, where the awkward bounce took the ball over Nolly before dropping into the net. 1-1 and that's how the game ended.

With the Caps having a relatively easy run in, the forthcoming match with Montreal could have a real impact on the final playoff placings (no pun intended!). It would also be very satisfying to hand the Frenchies the bottom seeding following their surrenderings earlier in the year to TFC.

Vancouver are now unbeaten in five and are going into the playoffs with some good form. Once they get there, everything changes and back to back Championships are certainly there for the taking.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 1 Rochester Rhinos

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