TFC: Calm, Cool, Collected
How many times did those three words show up in the same sentence as “Toronto FC” last year? Probably only when accompanied by “not.” But the Reds looked calm and composed, compact and difficult to break down in defense. It took a fantastic bit of combination play for the Whitecaps to get the half-chance that Gershon Koffie fired in. New coach Ryan Nelson stressed organization and defense in the preseason and he certainly got that tonight. TFC didn’t get a result, but there are plenty of positives to build on, especially considering how historically bad the defense was last season. When the forward corps gets healthy this team will be in much better shape.
Nigel Reo Coker’s Solid Debut
Reo Coker started the game on the bench, but entered at halftime and played a very good second half. His experience, composure and leadership were all on display as he helped settle Vancouver after an erratic first 45 minutes. Expect to see him in the starting XI sooner rather than later.
Kobayashi > Miller at attacking mid
Vancouver started the game with Miller in a central role underneath Mattocks and Kobayashi out wide. The results were less than stellar as an uninspiring Miller helped the ‘Caps to just two first-half shots. After the break, Martin Rennie changed to a 4-3-3 with Kobayashi as the tip of the midfield triangle and Miller out wide. It’s no coincidence that Vancouver looked much more dangerous in the second half with Kobayashi providing a brilliant layoff pass to set up the winning goal. Whether Miller and Mattocks can work up top remains to be seen, but the Whitecaps would probably be better off benching the Scot to make room for Kekuta Manneh or Camilo.