Vancouver Whitecaps FC enter the Gold Cup break on a high after a comeback win against New York City FC. Yordy Reyna, in his first home appearance for the ‘Caps, scored the winner as Vancouver won 3-2.
After the Whitecaps took an early lead, NYCFC turned the score around with two quick goals before halftime, the second a very questionable penalty. But Vancouver were able to capitalize on defensive errors and had the last laugh.
First, the goals
It was the perfect start for the Whitecaps as Brek Shea pressured Maxime Chanot into giving the ball away on the wing. Shea fed the ball to Fredy Montero, who made no mistake with the one-on-one.
After taking the lead, though, the Whitecaps surrendered the initiative to NYCFC and gave up a series of corners. Finally, in the 34th minute, the roles were reversed as Shea lost his man from a corner and Chanot redeemed himself with a goal.
Six minutes later, Thomas McNamara fell over in the penalty area and referee Baldomero Toledo gave a penalty against Kendall Waston’s arm cast. David Villa made no mistake with the penalty and suddenly the ‘Caps were behind, with tempers fraying and yellow cards flying.
Whatever coach Carl Robinson said to his team at halftime made a difference, however. It was a far more focused and purposeful Whitecaps side that came out for the second half, and they took advantage of NYCFC’s defensive lapses. First, Jordan Harvey volleyed in a Christian Bolaños cross at the far post.
Then, in the 88th minute, newcomer Yordy Reyna introduced himself to the BC Place crowd with a headed finish to seal the three points. Reyna was completely unmarked in the penalty area, but credit also goes to Jake Nerwinski for his perfect cross.
- Nerwinski is growing into the role. It’s not ideal circumstances for the rookie to get a sudden run of first team appearances, coming as a result of Sheanon Williams’ suspension for domestic matters. Williams was available to play on Wednesday. However, he didn’t even make the bench, leaving question marks still hanging over how the club intends to deal with the issue. But while Nerwinski has had his ups and downs over the last few matches, he looked far more confident on Wednesday. He even put in the assist for the winning goal.
- The return of the captain. Kendall Waston’s return from injury was a welcome relief after the Whitecaps conceded four goals on the weekend. Andrew Jacobson filled in admirably at centre back in Waston’s absence, but looked far more comfortable back in midfield, where he had Italian World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo in his pocket for much of the match. Waston did give away the penalty, but it’s hard to blame him for that. The stats will say that NYCFC had 20 shots, but many were speculative, low-probability efforts from outside the box, and Waston’s blocking played a big part.
- Welcome Yordy. It’s been a tough season for Yordy Reyna. The Peruvian signed during the offseason and then broke his foot in a preseason match. He got half an hour against Chicago last weekend. But it’s his performance on Wednesday that will have Whitecaps fans anxious to see more. He’s a creative force in a team that’s desperately lacking in creativity. And he can score too. Just watch some of this movement, and picture him alongside Alphonso Davies:
The Whitecaps now have a break for the Gold Cup, with their next match on July 19th against LA Galaxy. If there are no new injuries, Robinson should have almost his entire squad available for selection at that point. The second half of the season could be an interesting one for the Whitecaps.