Posts Tagged ‘Marc Dos Santos Whitecaps FC’

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Real Salt Lake on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – Whitecaps FC’s three-match unbeaten streak has come to an end, just like their season. Needing a win to try and secure a home playoff date, Real Salt Lake came into Vancouver and earned a convincing 1-0 victory over Whitecaps FC. A B.C. Place crowd of 18,378 was on hand to watch Whitecaps FC close out the season.

Real Salt Lake will head home with a 16-13-5 record, and 53 points. Coach Freddy Juarez will prepare his side for a winner take all playoff match against the Portland Timbers.

Whitecaps FC conclude the 2019 season with a 8-16-10 record and 34 points.

Vancouver solidifies last spot in the MLS western conference, and 23rd overall in the MLS table.

“Salt Lake played a playoff game.” Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos said post-match. “They were deep and dangerous in the counter. We deserved a goal, we deserved at least a point. We did enough for that in the second half. We didn’t have the spark, a little bit of luck especially some balls that Yordy got in the box and could’ve laid it faster. Erik Godoy, big chance. Michaell Chirinos, big chance, so that’s the game.”

Whitecaps FC’s longest tenured player, hopes to be back next season.

“We all know statistically how this season went,” Russell Teibert explained. “If you dig deeper and you look deeper, this was a season of ups and downs. But, we’re building something here. This was always a rebuild year, and we’re going to continue to grow. That’s the message with this team, we will continue to grow. We know we have stuff to work on, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to address those things in the offseason.”

Damir Kreilach put the visitors in front in the 28th minute and they never looked back. In his final MLS regular season match, Nick Rimando made five saves to earn his 154th MLS clean sheet.

The 40-year-old, Rimando finishes his MLS career with a record of 223-174-117.

Poor defensive coverage from Whitecaps FC helped Real Salt Lake set the tone with a first half goal. In his second start at right-back, Erik Godoy was late to close down Corey Baird. The U.S. national team product, sent in a cross. Kreilach was able to get in behind skipper Doneil Henry, and he converted a header off the pitch to make it 1-0 Real Salt Lake.

Whitecaps FC were pressing early in the second half as they looked to secure an equalizer. Michaell Chirinos was by far the most dangerous Whitecap. The 24-year-old was a lively spark on the wing, and he created a pair of quality scoring opportunities.

The Honduran product forced Rimando into a spectacular diving save in the 55′ minute. Moments later, Chirinos darted into the Real Salt Lake box, and hammered the ball off the far post. Chirinos was a man on a mission, but Rimando was up for the task.

Whitecaps FC Academy player, Georges Mukumbilwa, made his MLS debut as a second half substitute. The 20-year-old, Winnipeg native, has been a pleasant surprise this season with Vancouver’s Development Squad team. Mukumbilwa injected some pace into Whitecaps FC’s lineup, as they mounted an effort to square the match at one apiece.

Vancouver’s dismal season came to an end with a lacklustre performance at home. Real Salt Lake was a hungry side, in search of a home playoff date. They came into B.C. Place and got the job done.

Whitecaps FC will head into the offseason facing several questions.

“Next season,” Dos Santos said. “After a year like that, just imagine the work and the commitment happening right now in the back scenes. The commitment, the work, the pieces that are happening in the back scene, the thought process, the moves are huge right now. As the coach, I’m with the GM, the owners, the staff. The only thing in my head right now, from the bottom of my heart, is the people that are coming to the stadium every day and support this team. We have to give back.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Max Crepeau; Ali Adnan, Derek Cornelius, Doneil Henry(C), Erik Godoy; Russell Teibert, Andy Rose, 80 (Georges Mukumbilwa), InBeom Hwang; Michaell Chirinos, Theo Bair, 60 (Yordy Reyna), Tosaint Ricketts, 60 (Fredy Montero). 4-3-3

Real Salt Lake Starting XI: Nick Rimando; Donny Toia, Nedum Onuoha, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera; Kyle Beckerman(C), Everton Luiz; Corey Baird, 88 (Marcelo Silva), Albert Rusnak, 83 (Kelyn Rowe), Jefferson Savarino, 83 (Jefferson Savarino); Damir Kreilach. 4-2-3-1

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Whitecaps FC Development Squad Centre-Back, Gianfranco Facchineri on Friday, October 4, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist.

VANCOUVER, B.C – You can never have enough defenders, especially at the centre-back position. Every top football club needs a commanding, confident anchor at the back. Finding that type of defender is easier said, than done. Vancouver Whitecaps FC could be on the verge of developing a rising superstar centre-back with the brightest of futures.

Gianfranco Facchineri has been training with Whitecaps FC’s first team on and off since mid-August. The 17-year-old Whitecaps FC Development Squad player hasn’t put a foot wrong since earning minutes with Vancouver’s top group.

“It’s been an experience I’ll never forget,” Facchineri explained to Har Journalist. “I’ve loved every second of it, I’ve learned more training with them in the past last little bit, than in years of not training with the first team. It’s been a great experience, and I’m really really thankful for it. Hopefully they’ll be more experiences to come with them.”

While some teenagers might be worried about making a mistake, or getting beat one on one, that’s not the case with Facchineri. He has exceptional instincts, composure, and an astute mentality that you simply can’t teach. He’s not at all rattled by sharing the training pitch with names like Fredy Montero, Yordy Reyna, and Ali Adnan.

“There’s always a little bit of nerves training with older guys,” Facchineri admitted. “Especially these guys, you grow up watching some of these guys on TV. There’s obviously nerves, but the thing is, when you’re out there playing football, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re doing what you love to do, there’s no nerves whatsoever.”

The Windsor, Ontario native, isn’t being treated with kid gloves. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Facchineri is starting to get some ribbing from Whitecaps FC veterans. He views any advice as positive encouragement that will help.

“Obviously, there’s going to be some difficulty playing with these guys. If you make a mistake, they’re going to let you know that you’ve made a mistake. It’s not Sunday league, they’re going to let you know that you messed up, but that’s what you want. They’ve all welcomed me with open arms. They’ve all been really really helpful.”

Earlier this week, Facchineri was named to Canada’s U-17 World Cup squad. While that alone is a great feat, he will also wear the captains armband. Canada will train in Argentina from October 11 – 22.

Canada will kickoff Group A action on Saturday, October 26 against the hosts, Brazil.

“He’s developing nicely.” Vancouver Whitecaps FC Development Squad Head Coach, Nick Dasovic said.

“First and foremost, he’s a great character, good kid, honest, works hard.” Dasovic added. “A team leader, and he’s growing as a player. Marc’s (Dos Santos) had him in with the first team, and he’s liking some of the components he has. He’s somebody that’s willing to grow with the football club. He’s still got a long way to go. The biggest thing for him is his humility. He’ll train with Marc, and he’ll thank him for training. It’s small little details that show he’s a good person.”

Might there be a future first team MLS contract on the table for Gianfranco Facchineri?

Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos wasn’t about to spill any tea.

“He has a physical presence about him,” Dos Santos explained. “He has a very good mentality. He’s a good kid, wants to learn. It’s still early to asses him in an MLS reality. It’s going to be a good experience for him at the World Cup playing in such a tough group. Brazil, Angola, and New Zealand, it’s not going to be easy. We want to see how he goes about things there. Hopefully it will push him up to be one of the kids that joins us in preseason.”

In his first full year with the Whitecaps FC Academy, Facchineri has already taken home an award. On September 24, he was named 2019 BMO RESP Academy Male Player of the Year. His father, Antonio, flew in from Ontario to see his son take home the honour.

Whether he’s in Vancouver or elsewhere, Facchineri’s goal is to be a professional footballer.

“My goal in soccer, in general is to have a career in the game that I love,” Facchineri explained. “If that career can come with the Vancouver Whitecaps, I’d love it. I watch Doneil Henry, Derek Cornelius, (Erik) Godoy, play. Watching all those guys play, it’s great. I hope to be one of those guys one of these days.”

Growing up in an Italian household, Facchineri looked up to football greats like Gennaro Gattuso, and Giorgio Chiellini.

His favourite player is a Napoli born legend.

“I watched the 2006 World Cup with my family,” Facchineri said. “They had Fabio Cannavaro. He’s always been an idol for me. I have a couple of posters up in my room.”

Gianfranco Facchineri is a Whitecaps FC prospect to keep an eye on. He could be MLS bound, delivering crosses, marking opponents, and dishing out meaty tackles before you know it.

In the mean time, he will be loading up on his favourite Italian pasta dish.

“My Nonna’s penne, if I’m being honest.”

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Whitecaps FC will be looking to end the season on a high note when they host Real Salt Lake on Sunday at B.C. Place. Vancouver comes into the season finale riding a three-match unbeaten streak thanks to a wins over the LA Galaxy, Houston, and a draw vs Columbus Crew SC. If Whitecaps FC can earn a result against playoff bound, Real Salt Lake they will have reached a season high, four-match unbeaten streak.

Over the course of the final month of the season, Whitecaps FC have taken on a spoiler role.

In that process, Vancouver may have found a hidden gem on the back-line.

Jasser Khmiri, made his MLS debut on Sunday against the Galaxy, and he did not look out of place. The ‘Towering Tunisian’ played with poise, pace, and power. Khmiri had his timing down, and his instincts looked terrific.

Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos was not at all surprised by Khmiri’s performance.

“Guys, look, we watch players,” Dos Santos started to explain. “It would unprofessional on my part to watch a player and then bring him here, and say ‘Oh, I’m surprised that he’s good’. It would be very unprofessional. We watched him, we watched games. We sent a staff member to Tunisia. We knew that there was a lot of interest from French clubs, and Belgium clubs. He had a problem in his knee, when we brought him here. We took that risk, other clubs didn’t want to take that risk. Our performance group did a fantastic job with him. We know his qualities, the qualities of Jasser, he has very good height. He’s very good in the air, both attacking and defending. He’s comfortable on the ball. He’s a fast player for his position. He’s very aggressive, so positionally he could still grow. He’s an aggressive player, he’s young, and it’s his first game with the club.”

The 22-year-old, Khmiri, was paired with MLS veteran, Doneil Henry. The Canadian international could sense the hunger, and anticipation from his defensive partner. Henry helped make sure Khmiri, kept his composure, and stayed focused.

“It was good,” Henry said. “I know when a player has been out for that long, he’s hungry. I was kind of nervous going into the game. When you’ve been out that long and you haven’t played in any warm-up games, and you go against a front-line like the one we played against, it’s not easy.

I just wanted to coach him throughout the game, and make sure he wasn’t overly excited to go into tackles. You can get burnt or do something wrong. Jasser was excellent for the game, I’m happy. I read that he had nineteen clearances, that’s amazing. It’s a good start for Jasser and there’s a lot to continue to do, and I just want to help him.”

The Galaxy boast one of the top attacking squads in all of MLS. Anytime you can pencil Zlatan Ibrahimovic into your lineup, you have a chance to win, and win big. Khmiri wasn’t fazed by the bright lights, and big names at the other end of the pitch.

He battled with Zlatan, and managed to frustrate the Swedish striker. As close as the Galaxy came, they were never able to take control of the match. Vancouver won 4-3 thanks to a stoppage time winner from Michaell Chirinos. The play that sprung Chirinos, and In-Beom Hwang was setup by Khmiri, who won the ball in his own defensive half.

“We wanted his first game, for him to feel right away what MLS was about,” Dos Santos explained. “I think he was a player in the ninety minutes that understood his role, helped, jumped a lot with Ibra. Challenged a lot with him in the box. We knew a lot of the things from the game against the Galaxy would be crosses in the box, that’s why we wanted to make sure, Doneil, and Jasser would be there to cope with that, and I think they did a good job overall.”

Have Whitecaps FC found a new top centre-back duo for next season?

“Yeah, that’s down to the coaches,” Henry said. “Like I said, while I’m playing, I just want to help the boys out, and be a leader. Just leave the rest to the coaches, and the club.”

Marc Dos Santos wasn’t willing to discuss his centre-back duo for the 2020 campaign.

“I don’t know, no, I don’t know. I don’t know, let’s see how things develop.”

Fans might see Henry and Khmiri in action when Vancouver takes on Real Salt Lake on Sunday. The visitors will be looking to lock up a home playoff date, while Whitecaps FC will look to ‘screw’ another MLS opponent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s season is winding down, but there’s still some excitement, and wonder to be found. Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles will likely mark the Whitecaps FC, and MLS debut of Jasser Khmiri.

Vancouver will travel to California for a matinee affair with the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park. Whitecaps FC come into the match riding a two-match unbeaten streak thanks to a home win over Houston, and a draw vs Columbus.

The 7-15-10 Whitecaps FC squad will switch from a defence of four, to a three or five at the back formation. The ‘Towering Tunisian’, Khmiri, is a strong candidate to feature in Vancouver’s back-line.

“Likely, a lot, likely a lot.” Coach Marc Dos Santos told Har Journalist following training on Friday.

What can Whitecaps FC fans expect to see from the 22-year-old, Khmiri?

“He’s young, he’s a young player that’s been one year out,” Dos Santos explained. “I have to control expectations around him. He’s a fast player, he’s technically good on the ball. On the ball, he’s simple. The quality of his passes is pretty good, strong in the air, aggressive on the man. That’s his main characteristics.”

“We have to put into consideration that he’s been a year out,” Dos Santos added. “He’s recovered now, and his first game is in LA against the Galaxy.”

“We’ll make sure to have him play with no pressure,” Dos Santos continued. “(There’s) no mentality that it’s going to be the game that’s going to set who he is, no, no. There’s a big chance that he participates.”

Vancouver acquired the 6-foot-4, Khmiri from Tunisian Ligue club, Stade Tunisien on February 1, 2019. Khmiri is signed through 2021 with a club option for 2022. His first appearance as a Whitecap has been a long time coming. He has been on the shelf since November 2018 with a left knee injury. That includes knee surgery earlier this spring in Vancouver.

His possible inclusion in Whitecaps FC’s 18-man roster has come as a bit of a surprise.

“He’s done a fantastic job,” Dos Santos said. “It’s tough to do what he did mentally, working a lot alone, for a full season. We feel like maybe having him a minimum of 60 minutes on the field, and giving him another chance in front of our fans against Salt Lake, it could be good for him.”

How is the easily excitable Khmiri, approaching his first minutes in MLS?

“He’s calm,” Dos Santos described Khmiri’s perspective. “He played in sets that were not easy. He played in Tunisia, and you know when you experience that way, it’s sometimes 70,000 people. Aggressive types of fans, different than the North American fan. I don’t think that the stadium is going to fade him out, I think it’s going to motivate him.”

You can forget about Khmiri being two weeks away, his time has come, and now he’s just two days away from his debut.

You might even see some crunching tackles from the athletic, central defender.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Dos Santos said. “It’s going to depend on how he feels the next two days. There’s a chance, yes, but final decision, is not taken yet.”

If the final decision is taken, and Khmiri does start, how big of a test would it be to go up against the high-flying, playoff bound LA Galaxy, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

“It’s a great test for him, for sure.” Dos Santos said.

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Houston Dynamo at B.C. Place on September 14, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist.

VANCOUVER, B.C – On a rain soaked Saturday night at B.C. Place, Whitecaps FC earned their 7th victory of the season thanks to a 2-1 draw over the Houston Dynamo. A crowd of 17,382 watched Fredy Montero come off the bench to score the match winner in the 90th minute.

Vancouver improves to 7-15-9 on the season with 30 points. The Dynamo’s chase to the MLS playoffs takes a crushing blow as they fall to 10-16-4 with 34 points.

“I think we deserve the three points.” Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters post match. “This week, the thing we spoke the most about (was) what are the reasons we play for when you have four games to play and there’s no playoffs.

You play for your teammates and for the group that is (training) every day. You play for sponsors, for the club that pays you, for the club that brought you in and believes in you. You play for the fans that, even (when) knocked out, still come in and buy tickets and support the team and follow the team. We have a lot to play for. That’s the right mentality to have.”

Whitecaps FC goalkeeper, Zac MacMath made fives saves to earn his first victory with Vancouver. The veteran MLS keeper also earned his 47th career MLS win.

Number one goalkeeper, and MLS saves leader, Max Crepeau was out of the eighteen due to an ankle injury he picked up while on national team duty with Canada. MacMatch earned his 6th start of the season for Vancouver.

“Zac has worked really hard,” Doneil Henry explained post-match to Har Journalist. “Max (Crepeau) has done really well this season, and solidified himself as a number one keeper. Zac, I thought he did really well today. It’s good for his confidence, and good for the team to know that whenever he’s called upon, he can play.”

Vancouver started in a 4-3-3 formation with Tosaint Ricketts leading the line, flanked by Yordy Reyna, and Michaell Chirinos. It was a familiar story for Whitecaps FC as they struggled to create scoring chances in the final third of play.

Fighting to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, the visiting Houston Dynamo weren’t much better. Coach Davy Arnaud deployed his Forever Orange in a 4-2-3-1 formation. While Mauro Manotas started up top, he didn’t create much. The service from his teammates just wasn’t there. It was a quiet first half, as neither side looked dangerous offensively.

The tide quickly turned in favour of the home side as Vancouver earned a penalty in the 53′ minute. Yordy Reyna sent a free kick into the Dynamo wall that was handled by Manotas. Referee, Robert Sibiga immediately pointed to the spot.

“It’s changing the game.” Dos Santos added. “Am I for VAR? Yes, but limited things. What’s changing is those goals. When I was a kid and you’d (see) players scoring, taking off their jersey, running in the crowd. Now, you score and there’s always suspense. The crowd gets up (in a) good-environment goal, then there’s suspense. That’s killing the game. It’s sad.”

As is with most Whitecaps FC matches, the penalty shout was turned over to a Video Assistant Review (VAR). However, this time, the decision from VAR was confirmed.

“I’m happy,” Henry said. “I’m not going to talk about the VAR, and get myself into trouble. It’s really good that we got one in our favour.”

Vancouver’s designed player, Hwang In-Beom stepped up to take the penalty. In-Beom sent Joe Willis the wrong way to score the opening goal of the match.

The visitors tied the match in the 78th thanks to sloppy rebound control from MacMath. Maynor Figueroa fired on target. MacMath and his defenders failed to clear the rebound. Manotas was a in a perfect position to pounce on the rebound to square the match.

Houston Dynamo held a private closed door meeting following the loss to Vancouver. Swedish international, Adam Lundqvist, spoke post-match about the mood of the team.

“We all knew that the performance was there, it’s just that we were lack in (a) different part of the game. Like I said, we can’t let this affect us anymore. There’s a new game next week, so like I said, there’s another game and you can always move forward. We have to take the positives of this game, keep learning and keep moving forward.”

Just as it looked like both teams were going to settle for a 1-1 draw, Whitecaps FC were able to nic a goal at the death. Montero nut-megged, Houston’s keeper to rescue all three points for Vancouver.

The 32-year-old has been in and out of Vancouver’s starting lineup this season, but he has remained patient and focused. Montero’s winning goal, was also his first goal form open play since May 10, 2019.

“Fredy from the beginning, if he’s in the team, or out of the team,” Henry said. “His mentality, and his attitude never changes. He’s not one of those players that slacks off. He keeps good tendencies, and good qualities as a player. I think that’s why Fredy has always done good at every level.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will look to continue to play spoiler as they host Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, September 21 at B.C. Place.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Zac MacMath; Ali Adnan, Derek Cornelius, Doneil Henry(C), Scott Sutter; Russell Teibert, Andy Rose, Hwang In-Beom; Michaell Chirinos, 71 (Theo Bair), Tosaint Ricketts, 81 (Fredy Montero), Yordy Reyna, 90, (Lass Bangoura). 4-3-3

Houston Dynamo Starting XI: Joe Wilis; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Jose Bizama; Boniek Garcia, Tommy McNamara, 72 (Memo Rodriguez), Matias Vera; Christian Ramirez, 83 (Ronaldo Pena), Mauro Manotas, Tomas Martinez, 60 (Alberth Elis). 4-2-3-1

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs New York City FC at B.C. Place Stadium. August 31, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC have officially been eliminated from the MLS playoff race following a 3-1 defeat to New York City FC. The ‘Boys in Blue’ set the tone early with a pair of first half goals, and a second half free kick cracker.

A crowd of 17,512 spectators watched New York City FC clinch a playoff spot, and improve to 14-5-8, (50 points).

New York City FC rookie, Gary Mackey-Steven, scored his first career goal that stood up as the eventual match winner.

“No, I think it’s first (time he’s score on his birthday) so it’s nice to get off the mark, extra special it’s my birthday but the main thing is getting the three points and I thought the boys done really well today so it’s a good victory again.”

Alexandru Mitrita, and Heber also scored for New York City FC, who have now won four matches in a row. Yordy Reyna had Vancouver’s loan goal as Vancouver looked to have found momentum, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

New York City FC quickly replied. Mitrita sent in a world-class free kick over the Whitecaps FC wall, to the right of Crepeau.

Let me talk bad about Max today in the third goal,” Whitecaps FC Coach, Marc Dos Santos said post-match. “Max knows, what I’m going to say. He knows how much I appreciate him and how much is given to the team. In that third goal, we felt that there was a man lacking in the wall, and the ball went through.  A goal that we can concede in a moment that there’s a lot of belief in the team. Then we we concede that third one, and it becomes difficult.”

Whitecaps FC drop to 6-15-9, (27 points) with a 4-6-4 record at home.

“Guys are pissed off,” Whitecaps FC centre-back, Doneil Henry explained. “New York City FC, top of the eastern conference. A couple of mistakes and you get punished. I didn’t think we played bad. Maybe we could have been a little bit more clinical on the day. The goals didn’t go in the net. It’s tough.”

It didn’t take long for the visitors to open the scoring after some sloppy play from Whitecaps FC. Tony Rocha nicked the ball off skipper, Jon Erice, and found a streaking Heber. The Brazilian forward broke in and hammered the ball past Crepeau for his 14th goal of the season.

“It means a lot.” New York City FC’s, Anton Tinnerholm spoke about his teams win. “It was a tough one today, we didn’t play the best, but we still got the three points. In the end, it’s all that matters. We’ve had a couple of games this season when we haven’t played one-hundred percent. We got the three points, and that’s what makes a good team even better. I think we have to keep on going.”

A hush fell over the crowd in the 15′ minute when Whitecaps FC right-back, Jake Nerwinski went down. The New Jersey native, was helped off the pitch by Whitecaps FC staff. Nerwinski left with a right ankle sprain. He left the stadium in a walking boot, and the assistance of a crutch. Scott Sutter came on for Vancouver’s first substitution.

Injuries continued to pile up in the first half. New York City FC’s Heber was a victim of the B.C. Place turf. He was forced to exit the match with a right quad strain. Scottish international, Gary Mackey-Steven came on in the 21′ minute.

It did not take long for Mackey-Steven to make an impact. Max Morales played in a lovely through ball that sent midfielder in on goal. Mackey-Steven delivered a brilliant strike to double the visitors lead.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side. Tosaint Ricketts chased down a lose ball inside the New York City FC box. The Canadian international was tripped up in the ensuing process. Referee Marcos de Oliveira pointed to the spot.

Before Fredy Montero stepped up to take the penalty, VAR (Video Assistant Review) struck again.

The penalty was called back, and the boo birds rained down at B.C. Place.

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I don’t want to talk about.” Dos Santos looked to a avoid talk about the VAR decision. “I know it’s not your fault, you’re doing your job, you’re fine. I know, three kids, the wife, I want to take they to Disney (Land) one day. I’m not talking about VAR.”

The Whitecaps FC coaching staff disagreed with the call, and made their thoughts known. Assistant Coach Vanni Sartini, and Goalkeeper Coach, Youssef Dahha, were both tossed from the match. The duo riled up the crowd as they departed the pitch.

Despite the deficit Vancouver came back after the interval with some enthusiasm. Whitecaps FC had several key opportunities to cut New York City FC’s lead in half, and they did exactly that in the 64′ minute.

Ricketts setup Yordy Reyna inside the New York City FC box. The Peruvian international fired a rocket past Johnson for his team leading 7th goal of the season.

“I think Yordy has been outstanding for this team,” Doneil Henry said. “Especially in the last seven to ten games. You see effort, you see his momentum, his work rate. He shows you the kind of player he is. Salute to him, he’s been fantastic.”

It’s been a season to forget for Whitecaps FC. The excitement and anticipation that was there during a hectic off-season hasn’t met on field results. Vancouver will look to play spoiler and finish out the season with four matches remaining.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Max Crepeau; Ali Adnan, Andy Rose, Doneil Henry, Jake Nerwinski, 15 (Scott Sutter); Russell Teibert, Jon Erice(C), 45 (Michaell Chirinos), In-Beom, 82 (Theo Bair); Yordy Reyna, Fredy Montero; Tosaint Ricketts. 4-3-2-1

New York City FC Starting XI: Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat, Alexander Caellens, Maxime Chanot(C), Anton Tinnerholm; Keaton Parks, Tony Rocha, Max Morales, 90+1 (Justin Haak); Alexandru Mitrita, Valentin Castellanos, 70 (Sebastien Ibeagha), Heber, 21 (Gary Mackey-Steven). 4-3-3

 

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC centre-back, Érik Godoy on Tuesday July 13, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The most underrated player on Whitecaps FC this season? It’s not who you think, a durable defender that never complains, that’s been vital to the back-four in his first season in MLS.

Érik Godoy.

The 25-year-old, Godoy has been under appreciated this season as an anchor in the back-four. Whitecaps FC have played 26 matches this season, and Godoy has been on the pitch for all but 14 minutes. He was a first half substitute for Doneil Henry (back contusion) in Minnesota on July 27.

Godoy credits his durability to the preparation he takes off the pitch.

“I think the biggest thing for playing all these games, and all these minutes, is mental toughness. I always prepare myself to go into training, games, to give my best, recover well, eat, and sleep well.”

With all the matches, travel, and tactics, you have to wonder if Godoy is getting tired?

“I feel a little tired now, especially, because I didn’t do a preseason when I came here.” Godoy said in an exclusive interview with Har Journalist.

Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos would like more players with Godoy’s positive mindset.

“He has been important,” Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters earlier this week. “Erik is a player that never talks. He always trains with an intensity, and a commitment all the time. If we would ask him to play a reserve team game today, he would say okay, and not even question it. His mentality is what we need more here. We need more guys with that type of mentality.”

Godoy was quick to score Whitecaps FC’s first goal of the season, at home vs Minnesota United FC. His 6th minute header off a corner still stands as his lone goal this season. Despite his early success, that’s not Godoy’s most memorable moment with Vancouver.

“When we beat LAFC when they were in first place. It was definitely a game that gave us a lot of momentum going forward, and it let us continue forward that week.”

Defenders don’t get the accolades that strikers, wingers, and midfielders do, but Godoy has been just as dependable and solid for Whitecaps FC. It can be quite the adjustment for a new player coming to a new league, country, and different style of football.

“I think it’s a growing league,” Godoy described MLS. “It’s improving. Now you’re seeing players who aren’t just coming to MLS to retire, but coming here straight from Europe to play their careers.”

Godoy has been pleasantly surprised by his first impressions of his new surroundings.

“It’s the first country, I’ve played in outside of my country,” Godoy explained. “The league, the stadium, the quality, the level, all surprised me. It was better than I anticipated, it made it easier for me to transition into it. I’m looking forward to next year.”

Godoy is on a one-year loan from Club Atlético Colón in Argentina. He isn’t quite sure if he will be back with Whitecaps FC next season, the decision is out of his hands.

“Yes, we’re evaluating the process, and the possibility of staying next year,” Godoy explained. “The answer will have to come from the club, and the coach in December.”

Have Whitecaps FC had any discussions about bringing Godoy back?

“Of course, yeah of course,” Dos Santos said. “It’s a player that we would like to keep here.”

Vancouver will host D.C. United on Saturday July 17, at B.C. Place. It could be a busy night for Érik Godoy with former England international, Wayne Rooney possibly leading the line for the ‘Black and Red’.