SEATTLE, WA — After going undefeated during six games, the Vancouver Whitecaps lost 1-0 to their Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. Due to international call-ups, both teams entered their second regular-season meeting severely depleted. The Sounders, however, handled the absence of their star players much better than the Whitecaps, who have played their third game in one week.
Gold Cup impact?
“Sometimes we had some space to create better chances, and there were decisions in our opportunities that need to be better,” Vancouver head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “Then at the end, they push, especially in injury time. The last five minutes, I felt that this third game in eight days [had a big impact].”
“It is very wrong, and I need to educate everyone about that, that we are playing league games while the Gold Cup is going on,” Dos Santos said. “It is actually very amateurish and we have to improve as a continent as a nation, both Canada and the US, that you are playing a competition during another competition, that is amateurish.”
The counter-argument would be that Seattle also had to do without key players in this game. The Sounders were without star striker Raúl Ruidíaz and midfielders Nico Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan, while the Whitecaps missed four Canadian national team players and forward Lass Bangoura.
But the difference for Seattle and Vancouver is that the Whitecaps have now played three games in one week while Canada were playing in the Gold Cup. With Canada eliminated from the Gold Cup, however, the Caps will receive some much-needed reinforcement.
Ali Adnan, to stay?
“It looks promising. I won’t say anything until something has been confirmed,” Dos Santos said to TSN reporter Corey Basso on Saturday.
Fox Sports Asia reported that the Integrity Commission looking into the forging of documents in Iraqi football have asked the Iraq Football Association to suspend 72 players suspected of age fraud from playing for the national team. The 25-year-old Adnan is among the players named on the list, and a source told Pro Soccer USA that allegations have suggested that Ali Adnan could be up to three years older than his current listed age.
Although it is not a good look for Iraqi football, the scandal might help the Whitecaps. The Caps have put in a bid but had to fear counter offers from European sides, with the investigation ongoing the market, has changed improving the chances for the Whitecaps to hang on to the player.
Impact players needed
It would be an essential piece of business for the Whitecaps to retain the wing-back. Against Seattle, the only chances the Whitecaps developed were over the left wing, and the most significant chance of the game was an Ali Adnan shot from inside the box.
Retaining Adnan, however, will not be enough. Vancouver struggled once again to break into the final third and create chances.
“Sometimes we had some space to create better chances, and there were decisions in our chances that need to be better,” Dos Santos said after the game.
Ahead of the game, the Whitecaps were tied second from the bottom when it comes to passes played to the final third per 90 minutes and the game yesterday was unlikely to have improved the state by much.
Hence, the Whitecaps will be busy in July as on top of retaining Adnan they also want to sign a ball-carrying midfielder and possibly a striker.