Just like that, the Whitecaps are third in the West. For now.
Had you told any casual fan that Vancouver would go into Toronto and surrender three goals, the assumption would have been that they’d lose. Toronto’s new home is supposed to be a fortress and Vancouver had done little to prove that they had any sort of consistency – not defensively and not offensively.
The Whitecaps have won three in a row now. The first two could have been seen as fluky. Two 2-1 wins against Chicago and Portland. The one against Portland was a dominant display, but it was such an anomaly that it was hard to credit to the Whitecaps as a trend. Or even the start of something. It just wasn’t like them.
The latest win against Toronto FC – in Toronto – was something else. It was, well, odd.
Vancouver did not control the game. How could they? Toronto is a deft team with the (formerly) best defense in MLS and an offense that was populated by Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. Toronto had it going on. They had finally returned home after eight straight away games and they were continuing right where they left off.
Until their Canadian brethren came to town.
When you look at the numbers, Toronto was so incredibly dominant and controlled everything imaginable. 64% possession, 21 shots to Vancouver’s eight, 11 corners to Vancouver’s zero.
It has the makings of a lambasting. But it was anything but. It was one of the most entertaining games you’ll see this season. The Whitecaps dominated the counter, using Kekuta Mannah and Pedro Morales to propel a high-speed attack that made the most of their eight shots, putting six on target and four into the net.
That kind of conversion rate is enough to beat anyone.
Sebastian Giovinco took more shots than the entire Whitecaps team combined, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the fierce, quick attacks of Vancouver.
Again, it’s hard to read into this much. Between this match and the Portland match, we have seen two very different, almost opposite clubs. and the results don’t match up. The Whitecaps are just as enigmatic as we thought they were and they continue to prove that every week.
However, for now, they are in third place, they’ve won three in a row and they are starting to grow into a contender status. We will just have to see if that status will ever include any bit of consistency.