The Vancouver Whitecaps started the season with back-to-back wins, but their bright start turned sour quickly. They went winless in seven straight and there was no reason for optimism. That is until Saturday, when Russell Teibert' first two professional goals lit up BC Place and got Vancouver back on the smiling side of the scoreboard in a 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy.
It took more than an hour before either team found the net, but Teibert broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when he cut in from the left and hit a hard, low shot to beat Carlo Cudicini. Teibert doubled the Caps' lead in the 76th minute and while Gyasi Zardes gave the Galaxy hope with an 86th minute goal, Darren Mattocks put the match to bet with a stoppage time clincher.
Some observations and thoughts from the match:
- It may have taken until this week for Teibert to score his first goal, and then his second, but this has been coming. The 20-year-old has impressed all season, using some fantastic skill combined with a knack for finding creases in opposing defenses with runs, passes or dribbles. While Martin Rennie may think it best to bring him along slowly, it's tough to argue that Teibert doesn't deserve a starting spot right now. At some point, Rennie will have to give it to him, "bring him along slowly" plan or not.
- Bruce Arena still doesn't completely care about the first few months of the regular season. He will keep throwing his kids out on the field and seeing who grows up and in a couple months he will start caring about the results.
- Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean impressed early in the season and Zardes kept the hot shot kids narrative going with his first career goal today, but not all of the Galaxy young'ns are shining. Greg Cochrane continues to struggle and today was his worst match yet. He was burned on all three goals, was beaten several other times and has now completed just 66 of 118 passes in his last three matches. Cochrane can still come good, after all he is a rookie who does have a great work rate, but he has a long ways to go.
- The Whitecaps defense still has a lot of question marks, but on this night they looked more organized than they have at any point this season. LA kept the ball for long stretches and spend plenty of time in the Vancouver third, but the back line held up nearly every time and conceded very few chances. They cleared balls away, got into passing lanes and most impressively, their midfield tracked back and got to nearly every second ball.
- Once again, Omar Gonzalez was brilliant. He will rue a missed opportunity in front of goal when he headed wide from five yards, but he was immense at the back yet again. He's the best defender in MLS and yet he still manages to exceed expectations with regularity.