New season, same problem for Whitecaps

 

 
 
 
 
Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, left, of Argentina, scores a goal as Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston, of Costa Rica, defends during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
 
 

Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, left, of Argentina, scores a goal as Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston, of Costa Rica, defends during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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The Whitecaps trotted out all of their attacking newcomers for their MLS regular-season opener Sunday — and got one goal in the first 93 minutes, from, of all people, veteran fullback Jordan Harvey.

Yes, for the somewhat stunned sellout crowd of 22,120 — the new lower bowl capacity at BC Place — it was a reminder of too many games from 2015. Just too many good opportunities wasted.

The supposedly more dangerous Caps did get off 21 shots, but still fell 3-2 to a Montreal Impact side that was without former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.

The turf-adverse Drogba was hardly missed as Ignacio Piatti, a 31-year-old Argentine midfielder, toyed with Caps defenders, scoring twice and setting up another goal by Dominic Odura when normally reliable Caps’ goalkeeper David Ousted made a huge gaffe.

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“We gifted Montreal the win today,” bemoaned Caps’ head coach Carl Robinson. “When you give three bad goals away, you don’t win games.”

Harvey was just as blunt. “We dug ourselves a hole ... couldn’t finish and made some mistakes.”

Centre back Kendall Waston scored a meaningless consolation goal, on a header off a corner in the final minute of stoppage time. It was too little, too late for a Vancouver side that could have — should have — had four or five goals. They were that dangerous.

Dangerous and exciting, filling the Impact box with crosses and corners from the likes of young Canadian fullback Fraser Aird, who was particularly abused by Piatti, and Costa Rican veteran Christian Bolanos, both of whom were making their MLS debuts.

But the clinical finish was missing, as was any semblance of luck, most noticeably when the ball was on the foot, head, or any body part of striker Octavio (The Big Oh, No) Rivero.

The young Uruguayan, who had just two goals from the run of play in the final 28 games of his debut season in 2015, hit a crossbar in the 21st minute and was robbed by Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush off a header in the 68th minute. But he also put balls directly into Bush on a couple of other gilt-edged chances.

As he did consistently last season with the snakebit striker, Robinson praised Rivero’s effort and the fact he got himself into scoring positions.

“I thought he played very well, but he didn’t score a goal,” said Robinson. “The keeper made some good saves, he hit the cross bar. Sometimes that happens.

“If he wasn’t getting into the area to create the chances, then I’d have a concern, but I’ve got no concerns with Octavio.”

Veteran MLS striker Blas Perez, who made his Caps’ debut in the 66th minute for teenage midfielder Kianz Froese, who was a surprise starter, and Japanese League import Masato Kudo, an 81st minute substitute, also failed to generate a quality scoring chance or even a shot.

With the Caps pushing forward in numbers for a late equalizer, Piatti scored his second of the game, in the 88th minute on a two-man break with Oduro. He took a pass wide left, coolly worked around Pedro Morales in the Caps’ box, then slotted a shot far side on a solidly beaten Ousted.

Piatti had opened scoring in the 19th minute when he broke clear of Froese down the left side. Just inside the box, he danced around Bolanos and Aird, who did little more than wave him by, before cutting across a falling Watson and finding the far side of goal from eight yards out.

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Oduro made it 2-0 for the Impact in the 43rd minute when Ousted and Waston appeared to get their signals crossed on a low through ball from Piatti.

Ousted, charging out of his net, and a good 10 yards outside the box, missed the ball with a left-footed swipe as Waston pulled up. The ball fell to Oduro who easily finished into the vacated net.

“It was all me,” said Ousted. “I should have communicated better to Kendall. I tried to slide and ended up sliding past the ball.”

“On a personal level, that’s some of the worst I’ve played as a Whitecap. I’m gutted for the team. I thought we did well in periods today. I thought we scored two good goals, but we ended up giving three away, which is not a nice start to the season.”

The Caps did salvage something out of the first half in stoppage time when Harvey got his foot onto the end of long free kick from Pedro Morales, ripping the ball into the upper netting from five yards out.

The Caps also lost their season opener at home in 2015, 3-1 to Toronto FC before going on a four-game win streak.

They’ll look to bounce back on the road at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday and in Seattle in two weeks time.

“We use that (2015 experience) a lot,” said Harvey. “It’s a different team, I think we have a better team this year. Hopefully we go to Kansas City and get a result ... get on a run. That’s all we can go on.”

gkingston@vancouversun.com

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Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, left, of Argentina, scores a goal as Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston, of Costa Rica, defends during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
 

Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, left, of Argentina, scores a goal as Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston, of Costa Rica, defends during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, left, of Argentina, scores a goal as Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston, of Costa Rica, defends during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ goalkeeper David Ousted (1), of Denmark, allows a goal to Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, of Argentina, during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016. T
Whitecap Octavio Rivero, right, heads the ball past Montreal Impact Victor Cabrera, left  during the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Whitecap Kendall Waston, right, can’t stop Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti from scoring the first goal during the first half of the season opening regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. Sunday March 6, 2016.
Whitecaps FC fans marched and chanted their way down Robson Street towards BC Place Stadium before their team’s season opener against Montreal Impact Sunday March 6, 2016.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jordan Harvey, front, and Montreal Impact’s Ambroise Oyongo, of Cameroon, vie for the ball during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Whitecaps FC fans marched and chanted their way down Robson Street towards BC Place Stadium before their team’s season opener against Montreal Impact Sunday March 6, 2016.
Vancouver Whitecaps' Pedro Morales, right, of Chile, knocks down the ball as Montreal Impact's Laurent Ciman, of Belgium, tries to move it past him during second half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jordan Harvey, left, and Tim Parker, centre, celebrate Harvey’s goal against the Montreal Impact during first half MLS soccer action in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Montreal Impact's Ignacio Piatti, of Argentina, celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, of Argentina, celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Montreal Impact’s Marco Donadel, left, of Italy, and Ignacio Piatti, of Argentina, celebrate Piatti’s goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Whitecap Kianz Froese, top, battles for the ball with Montreal Impact Lucas Ontivero during the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Whitecap Kianz Froese, right, battles for the ball with Montreal Impact’s Lucas Ontiveroduring the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Whitecap Kianz Froese, right, battles for the ball with Montreal Impact’s Lucas Ontivero during the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston, left, of Costa Rica, and Montreal Impact’s Lucas Ontivero, centre, of Argentina, collide during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Whitecap Kianz Froese, right, battles for the ball with Montreal Impact Lucas Ontivero, during the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Montreal Impact’s Dominic Oduro, of Ghana, celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during first half MLS soccer action, in Vancouver on Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016.
Vancouver Whitecaps players stand for a photograph before playing the Montreal Impact during an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday March 6, 2016.
Whitecap Octavio Rivero, left, battles for the ball with Montreal Impact’s Donny Toia during the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, right, and Marco Donadel celebrate Piatti’s goal against the Whitecaps during the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
Montreal Impact’s Dominic Oduro celebrates his goal against the Whitecaps dduring the first half of the season opener regular season MLS match at BC Place Stadium March 6, 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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