Whitecaps 1, Toronto FC 0: Mother’s Day heroics from Ricketts snaps Caps losing skid

Tosaint Ricketts rethought a Lucas Cavallini pass in the 90th minute to give the Caps a dramatic 11th-hour win over Toronto FC at BC Place on Mother’s Day.

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The Vancouver Whitecaps played like a bunch of moms on Sunday.

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“I told the players after the game that you played like a bunch of mothers today,” said head coach Vanni Sartini. “Mothers care, mothers fight for their children, they are tough and they have to be tough. So I’m really happy that they showed on the field that we played like a bunch of mothers.

“Like the best mom, my mom,” he concluded just minutes after he FaceTimed his parents.

And the moms aren’t giving up as it wasn’t until the 90th minute for the Caps to finally break through and it came from the boot of substitute forward Tosaint Ricketts, who scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Toronto FC at BC spot.

He was robbed of a crucial goal in the dying minutes against Montreal, on Sunday he grabbed three points for the Whitecaps on Mother’s Day.

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Rickett’s first goal of the year sent Toronto (3-6-2) to their fourth consecutive loss while the Caps (2-6-1) ended their own three-game slip.

To say that this stretch of games in the Caps season is gigantic would be an understatement. Aside from Wednesday’s Canadian Championship game against Valour, the Caps have three league home games and anything but six points away from them, and it feels like they may be pennies eyeing their playoff chances.


NEXT GAME

Wednesday

Canadian Championship

Valor FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

19 o’clock, BC place, TV: onesoccer.ca, Radio: AM730


The first half was a largely uninspired performance, which a local German media representative distantly described as “boring” and eating bratwurst again.

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Vancouver had just 41 percent possession and 79 percent passing but had the two best scoring chances of the half, both of which forced big saves from Toronto’s Alex Bono.

The game started in the second half, putting the announced 17,709 spectators in the stadium on its feet as Ricketts wounded the winner home.

Here’s what we learned…


Vancouver Whitecaps goaltender Thomas Hasal leaves the field with an injury as Dr.  Dory Boyer supports his hand with a towel during the second half of an MLS soccer game against Toronto FC in Vancouver, BC, Sunday May 8, 2022. .
Vancouver Whitecaps goaltender Thomas Hasal leaves the field with an injury as Dr. Dory Boyer supports his hand with a towel during the second half of an MLS soccer game against Toronto FC in Vancouver, BC, Sunday May 8, 2022. . Photo by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

GOOD LUCK HASAL

Toronto’s best first-half scoring opportunity came after Ranko Veselinović was booed for a handball. Referee Victor Rivas initially missed the call until video referee Malik Badawi drew his attention to the rule violation.

Alejandro Pozuelo had admonished Hasal for what he believed to be a simulation and their conversation continued until the designated Toronto player executed the kick.

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Pozuelo’s attempt, a weak strike only a mother could love, was ‘mothered’ by Hasal to keep the game scoreless.

It looked like Pozuelo had his revenge in the 70th minute when Jayden Nelson slammed home a rebound from a Pozuelo shot that Hasal spilled, but Rivas flagged him down for an apparent foul. When replayed, the decision seemed as offensive as a bad Jo Momma joke.

“It’s a mistake,” Toronto head coach Bob Bradley said. “That can be seen on the VAR. It’s clear. Anyone who has seen it realizes that Hasal was never in control. It’s too bad…they say he might have broken or dislocated his finger; It’s a shame, but that could have been… on the shot when the ball went loose. He was never in control. It’s a good goal.

“The system has failed. You can have a system, but if the person in charge doesn’t see that at that moment, then the system doesn’t work. Let’s see what PRO has to say about it. But for me it is a clear mistake.”

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Hasal left the game with a hand injury and was replaced by Cody Cropper, who saved the game with a header at the far post just seconds after coming on.

Hasal was unlucky with injuries, a broken leg and a concussion in 2020, costing him 12 games that year. Sartini said Hasal’s status is not yet clear, but that he has a splint on a finger on his left hand.


Toronto FC goaltender Alex Bono (25) and defender Shane O'Neill (27) defend against Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld (25) in the first half at BC Place.
Toronto FC goaltender Alex Bono (25) and defender Shane O’Neill (27) defend against Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld (25) in the first half at BC Place. Photo by Anne Marie Sorvin /USA TODAY sports

BY NUMBERS

8th: Number of regulars Toronto missed the game. They started with two 19-year-olds and two former Canadian Premier League players in Lukas McNaughton and Kadin Chung. Both played for Pacific FC last year.

5: That’s how many times the Whitecaps have overtaken their opponent this year. They had a 15-9 lead and 6-4 in goal. It’s a surprising statistic considering they came in last in the league in shots (86, tied with TFC) and shots on goal. They also had a 1.8-1.3 expected goals (xG) lead.

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561: The number of days since Ricketts last scored for Vancouver. This goal was also a game winner, scored in the 57th minute of a 2–1 win over San Jose on October 24, 2020.

19: The number of touches Ryan Raposo has had off the bench in his 20 minutes of play. It was also the number of touches striker Brian White had before being substituted off in the 70th minute.

4: The Whitecaps played with a back four for the first time this season and the first time in 45 minutes had passed in Sartini’s first game in charge last year. When changing formations, they defended in a 4-2-2-2 and attacked in what Sartini put it, “3 1/2”. Full-back Javain Brown would come up on the right, allowing Ryan Gauld to move inside as the No. 10, essentially turning the formation into a 3-4-1-2. They will roll it out against Valor and San Jose.

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Vancouver Whitecaps' Tosaint Ricketts blows a kiss to the crowd as he celebrates his goal against Toronto FC during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, BC on Sunday May 8, 2022.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Tosaint Ricketts blows a kiss to the crowd as he celebrates his goal against Toronto FC during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, BC on Sunday May 8, 2022. Photo by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Discretion before bravery

It’s a short week for Vancouver, who host Canadian Premier League side Valor FC in their first Canadian league game of the season on Wednesday night.

Valor (1-1-2) is currently sixth in the standings, playing to a goalless draw in their last game.

This game is as massive as next Saturday’s game against San Jose, which is two points ahead of Vancouver.

“(Wednesday’s game) is very important… because there is no appeal. Let me be clear: Wednesday is the most important game of the year,” Sartini said of the game against Valour.

“If we lose, we’re eliminated from the Canadian Championships. This is a competition we want to try to win. We have to have great respect for Valor and go there with all our weapons… because the last two Canadian Championship campaigns have been very disappointing for the club. We have to change that.”

jadams@postmedia.com

twitter.com/TheRealJJAdams


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