Vancouver Whitecaps' Carl Robinson hails Pedro Morales as "difference maker" in win over Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. -- In the build-up to Sunday's Cascadia Cup clash in Portland, the Vancouver Whitecaps had talked about getting off to a quick start.
It was the Timbers who came out of the traps flying, however, taking the lead in the third minute and coming close on a couple of other occasions, before the Whitecaps fought back to hit three unanswered goals before half time en route to a wild 4-3 win over the Timbers at Providence Park.
Although Portland struck twice in the final 13 minutes, the Whitecaps held on to end the Timbers' 22-match home game unbeaten streak and earn their first MLS win over their Cascadian rivals in some style.
"It was a great game today," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told reporters after the match. "I think we took our chances and they took a few of their chances and missed a couple. We'll take it.
"I think it was a very good performance and showed a lot of character. We've never beaten Portland, I made the guys aware of that before the game, but I thought the effort and determination shown by them was fantastic."
The Whitecaps' stunning win was spearheaded by their Chilean Designated Player Pedro Morales.
Morales scored two penalties in the first half and added another two assists in a display of precision passing that highlighted just how important the 29-year-old is to the Whitecaps.
"I brought him here to be a difference maker and he certainly is a difference maker," Robinson said of Morales. "Prior to tonight's match, and certainly tonight, he enjoyed the occasion. He slowed it down when we needed to, a bit like Diego Valeri who runs the show for them.
"It's great to watch. As a young coach, who wants to learn and wants to watch exciting players, today there were a few exciting players on the pitch."
Robinson believes Morales' ability to spray passes around the field brings the best out of his young, speedy attackers.
"If you've got them, you've got to use them in the right way," Robinson said of his fast-paced attack. "You've got to find a system that fits those players. It works with Pedro in the team because he's able to pick passes at will with the fast players.
"But it's about the movement as well. There's no point being a fast player if you don't know where to run and don't know where to move. That's why we're working with this young group to make them better."
Morales had a lot of room to work at Providence Park on Sunday, firing off ten shots, four of them on target and was pleased with his own contribution.
"[It was] a lot to do with work ethic and a ridiculous amount of running opened up some space for me," Morales told reporters through a translator. "I'm just really happy with the way the team performed tonight."