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Whitecaps through to CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals


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Espana fought its method to a 3-2 triumph in the 2nd leg of a round-of-16 series at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Wednesday.

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Getsel Montes had a brace and Ramiro Rocca included an objective for the home side, while Brian White and Simon Becher each scored for Vancouver.

The Whitecaps entered into the video game up 5-0 after a definitive first-leg win at B.C. Place on March 8.

“I’m happy the qualification was never in discussion. We were always in the game,” Sartini said. “And at the end, I told the guys, even if they were a little bit down, today we did not lose 3-2, we won 7-3. So we need to be happy.”

The ‘Caps will face either LAFC or Costa Rican side Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in the quarterfinals of the tournament between the top clubs in North America, Central America and the Caribbean next month.

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LAFC held a 3-0 aggregate lead over Alajuelense heading into the second leg of their series Wednesday.

Espana heavily out chanced the ‘Caps in Honduras, putting up 10 on-target shots against Vancouver’s 4.

Vancouver anticipated the home side to assault a lot, Sartini said, and the group did a good job holding up against, then countering till White opened the scoring in the 66th minute.

“And then it became a little bit careless,” the coach said. “I think players were very tired at the end. And the fact that a lot of players who played 90 minutes, they never played 90 minutes before today. And the wind became a big factor in the second half.”

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Midway through the 2nd half, Whitecaps protector Javain Brown battled his method through a series of Espana protectors and dished the ball to White at the top of the charge location.

The American striker — who came off the bench in the 61st minute — fired a shot in previous Espana’s goalkeeper Luis Lopez to break the goalless deadlock with his second of the competition.

A minute later on, the Honduran club connected things up after a rebound dropped in traffic and Montes popped it in past Vancouver ‘keeper Thomas Hasal.

Rocca gave Espana its first lead in the 75th minute, sending a shot into the corner of the net off a cross.

Becher knotted the score at 2-2 in the 83rd minute, working his way around an Espana defender before finding room between Lopez and the post for his first goal in CONCACAF Champions League play.

Montes put away his second goal of the game in the 86th minute, heading a shot in past Hasal off a corner.

The Whitecaps need to work on defending headers, especially off of set plays, Sartini said.

“We need to do much better in terms of positioning, in terms of being aggressive,” he said. “There are some players that they don’t get the reality that if you are zonal, it doesn’t imply you are a stick. We require to assault the ball.”

Six Whitecaps gamers were revealed yellow cards throughout the match, something the coach said he was worried about heading into the quarterfinals.

“I think we took too much yellow today. I think a couple of them were avoidable, a couple of them were maybe 50/50 yellow, but unfortunately we got them,” he said. “We’ll have everyone for at least the first leg against LAFC and then we’ll see.”

Sartini made sufficient modifications to his lineup heading into Wednesday’s video game, switching out 8 gamers who began in a 1-1 draw versus FC Dallas in MLS use Saturday.

The modifications consisted of providing Canadian ‘keeper Hasal his first start of the season and replacing White with Sergio Cordova in the starting 11.

Wednesday’s video game significant Vancouver’s 4th of 5 matches in 2 week. The Whitecaps will go back to MLS play Saturday when they go to the L.A. Galaxy.

This report by The Canadian Press was very first released March 15, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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