It wasn't the result the Vancouver Whitecaps were hoping for, but in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy, a young and in some ways surprising lineup acquitted themselves well for the visitors.
Head coach Carl Robinson was forced to leave out Matias Laba due to suspension, but instead of bringing in Nigel Reo-Coker after missing two weeks due to concussion, the Welsh tactician opted to play Russell Teibert as a holding player alongside Gershon Koffie in a 4-2-3-1.
“I thought the performance was very, very good,” Robinson told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “Obviously the result was disappointing because we didn't get anything out of the game. But I think we were excellent in the first half – very, very positive and caused them problems to try and break us down, but gave ourselves opportunities in the attacking transition.”
Indeed, if not for the heroics of Jaime Penedo in the Galaxy goal the outcome could have been much different. The Panamanian netminder's best work happened off two separate first-half opportunities from Manneh. First, the Gambian got on the end of a Pedro Morales set-up that Penedo stopped before the veteran netminder once again came out on top in a one-on-one situation just before halftime.
- Get more Vancouver Whitecaps news at WhitecapsFC.com
As for at the other end of the pitch, Robinson was clearly frustrated at the way in which the Galaxy found the match's lone goal, as a fairly innocuous ball behind the backline quickly turned into an excellent take and delivery from Stefan Ishizaki for Robbie Keane to finish.
“I felt we deserved a goal from the first-half performance,” Robinson said. “So disappointing then we come out in the second half and after one minute in the second half, a 40-yard straight ball gets behind the defenders and obviously then the cross and Robbie's movement for the first and only goal.
“Disappointed for that, a little a bit frustrated, but pleased with the performance.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.