Updated: Aug 29
Orlando, FL – Sporting Kansas City knocked out the last Canadian team standing at the MLS is Back Tournament on Sunday evening after Toronto and Montreal were eliminated earlier in the weekend.
The Whitecaps will be packing up for Vancouver this morning as their squad missing 11 players and starting third-string goalkeeper crashed out following a penalty shootout.
Vancouver Whitecaps did put up a fight in their defeat to Sporting Kansas City on their way out of the tournament. Whitecaps went into the round of 16 games as the biggest underdogs left in the tournament in Orlando. Meanwhile, Kansas City is one of the tournament favourites to win the MLS is Back Cup.
Kansas City outscored Vancouver 3-1 in the shootout which will see them advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals against Philadelphia Union. Pulido, Sanchez, and Busio all scored for Kansas City in the shootout, finally getting past an impressive display by the Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal. Hasal going into the tournament was the Whitecaps third-string keeper but kept Vancouver in the game most of the night with a fine display.
The 21-year-old Hasal looks to be one to watch for the future and one of the real positives for the Caps as they prepare to leave Orlando. During the 90 minutes, Sporting dominated large parts of the game and recorded 22 shots by the first half alone. This was the second-highest in an MLS game in the past decade, but thanks to Hasal the game remained 0-0. At full time, Sporting had recorded 36 shots and set a club record for the most shots during an MLS game.
Vancouver did not offer much-attacking threat during the game and likely had their best chance in 90th minute when Adnan’s free-kick was smothered by Melia. The lack in attacking threat didn’t help with the likes of Cavallini, Montero, and Ricketts not making the trip to Florida for the tournament.
With just 1 win in 4 games at the tournament, the Vancouver Whitecaps did generate plenty of excitement and will leave the sunshine state with their heads held high given the circumstances. The performances of young talisman Saskatoon goalkeeper Thomas Hasal being the standout performer.
Marc Dos Santos said: "My guys are fantastic," after Sunday night's penalty shootout loss to Sporting Kansas City. "The foundations of this group and the foundations of what we could be about, it's great. And I'm extremely excited to see what this group is going to look like when we're able to work with consistency with everyone."
As Kansas City advances it remains to be seen when we will see the Vancouver Whitecaps in action again. The MLS has not released a fixture list beyond the Orlando tournament that finishes in 16 days time. The MLS is still hopeful that games will go ahead in the fall with the Whitecaps hoping to host games at BC Place.
But with the current affairs in the USA and border closure with Canada, it may not be possible anytime soon.
By Mark Ollerton - Freelance Writer