TUCSON, ARIZONA – Now that’s a debut.
A second-half Octavio Rivero brace propelled Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a 2-0 win over New England Revolution Wednesday in their first preseason match of 2015.
All three players entered the match at halftime, when Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson opted to make a wholesale lineup change. Goalkeepers David Ousted and Paolo Tornaghi shared the clean sheet for Vancouver, combining to make four saves.
Robinson fielded a mix of youth and experience in both halves Wednesday on a beautiful afternoon at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. His starting lineup was composed primarily of MLS players – Whitecaps FC Residency graduate Jackson Farmer, who didn’t look out of place at right back, was the lone exception.
With Morales sitting in a deeper role, Marco Bustos assumed the attacking midfield position. The 18-year-old nearly drew a penalty with a dangerous run into the Revs box in the 30th minute, but was deemed to be tackled legally. Left winger Kekuta Manneh also created a few half-chances for Whitecaps FC in the first half, but was not able to find the back of the net.
One of the best chances in the opening half came in the 39th minute when New England’s captain Jose Goncalves flicked a Chris Tierney corner just over the goal. Charlie Davies and Kelyn Rowe also caused some problems in the attacking third, but after 45 it remained scoreless.
They came close to opening the scoring in the 53rd minute, when Parker got his head on a Mezquida corner only to see former Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton come up with a diving save to keep the score level.
Vancouver kept coming though and eventually broke through in the 57th minute. That’s when Laba made a fantastic interception in midfield before playing in a sliding Rivero, who poked it past Knighton to put Whitecaps FC ahead 1-0. Just five minutes later, Rivero added his second of the day. This time, Mezquida released Rivero into space and he outwaited Knighton before calmly slotting it into the open net.
The Uruguayan striker had a few opportunities to complete the hat-trick, including a strike that just missed the net in the 76th minute. That came moments after Tornaghi made a big save at the other end.
But the final whistle sounded with Whitecaps FC claiming a 2-0 win in their first of three preseason matches over the next week in Tucson. They will also face San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday and Western Conference newcomer Houston Dynamo next Tuesday, February 10, before returning to Vancouver the following day.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Erik Hurtado (right hip), Andre Lewis (right knee), Russell Teibert (left foot) were unavailable on Wednesday due to injury.
- Also unavailable were Steven Beitashour (not at camp in Tucson – will join team in Vancouver next week) as well as Kianz Froese and Kendall Waston, who are set to join the team in Tucson tonight.
- Trialists Robert Earnshaw, Kalif Alhassan, and Dane Richards each appeared for Whitecaps FC in the second half.
57′ – VAN – Octavio Rivero (Matías Laba)
62′ – VAN – Octavio Rivero (Nicolás Mezquida)
Shots: Vancouver 13 New England 8
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 New England 4
Saves: Vancouver 4 New England 3
Fouls: Vancouver 10 New England 9
Offsides: Vancouver 2 New England 1
Corners: Vancouver 5 New England 3
21′ – NE – Teal Bunbury
78′ – VAN – Jordan Harvey
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 41.Jackson Farmer^, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 22.Christian Dean, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 28.Gershon Koffie, 77.Pedro Morales; 30.Mauro Rosales, 32.Marco Bustos, 23.Kekuta Manneh; 11.Darren Mattocks
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 27.Ethen Sampson, 26.Tim Parker, 18.Diego Rodríguez, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 30.Ben McKendry; 35.Kalif Alhassan* (8.Robert Earnshaw* 76′), 9.Nicolás Mezquida, 34.Caleb Clarke (20.Dane Richards* 76′); 29.Octavio Rivero
New England Revolution
22.Bobby Shuttleworth; Jeremy Hall, 2.Andrew Farrell, 23.Jose Goncalves, 8.Chris Tierney; 12.Andy Dorman, 6.Scott Caldwell, 16.Daigo Kobayashi; 10.Teal Bunbury, 9.Charlie Davies (Juan Agudelo 30′), 11.Kelyn Rowe
18.Brad Knighton; Jeremy Hall (25.Darrius Barnes), London Woodberry*, Jacob VonCompernolle*, 33.Donnie Smith; Tyler Rudy*, Marco Fenelus*, 4.Steve Neumann; Yuzo Tashiro*, Sean Okoli, Tim Mulgrew*
* Unsigned Training Camp Participants
^ WFC Residency Graduate