The Vancouver Whitecaps were outclassed in their 3-1 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Avaya Stadium.
The Whitecaps were lucky soccer is not played on paper, because the statistics after the game highlighted the gulf between the two teams. San Jose had 899 touches and 710 passes to Vancouver’s 443 touches and 236 passes.
“Overall they were the better team,” Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos said after the game. “They won every one-v-one, they were more intense in their game, created a lot of chances. They allow chances a lot. If we had a little more quality coming out of pressure, it would have made a difference.
“I don’t think there is much to say. It is key not to forget this game; there are a lot of things to learn as we move on to Montreal.”
Not only did the Quakes pass the ball more often and had more touches, but they also controlled all the danger areas.
When the dust settled at the Avaya Stadium, Maxime Crépeau was the new record holder for the most saves made in a single Major League Soccer game.
The result could have been much worse had it not been for the 25-year-old in Vancouver’s goal.
The Canadian national team keeper made 16 stops, topping a record previously held by former New York/New Jersey MetroStars keeper Tony Meola, who had held the record for 22 years. San Jose also set new records with 43 shots overall and 19 on goal.
“Great,” Dos Santos said to describe Crépeau’s performance, adding “he’s been like that” all season.
17' Max keeping us level 🛑
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) August 25, 2019
“I don’t want to talk much about individuals,’ Dos Santos continued. “We shouldn’t talk about Max’s saves. The highlight of the game is that we played a team that deserved to win.”
Crépeau’s performances, however, deserved attention. Signed from the Montreal Impact in January, Crépeau spent last season on loan with the Ottawa Fury in the United Soccer League, highlighting that there are diamonds in the rough to be found in the lower divisions in North America.
The native of Greenfield Park, Quebec, has quickly developed into one of the best goalkeepers in the league. Heading into Saturday’s game, Crépeau ranked third among all MLS keepers with 124 shots faced (5.46 per 90 minutes). Of those 124 shots, Crépeau saved 90, which ranks him fifth in the league. Furthermore, no other keeper in the league was forced to leave his line more often than Crépeau (57 times).
Despite the heavy workload, Crépeau only ranks 11th with 1.5 goals conceded per 90 minutes. That statistic is improved when one keeps in mind that seven of the 34 goals he conceded were penalties — no other keeper in the league has been beaten more often from the spot.
The takeaway from those numbers is that the Whitecaps managed to unearth a fabulous talent, but also that the season could be much worse had they not signed Crépeau.