The San Jose Earthquakes fired more shots at an opponent than any other game in MLS history as the Caps fell 3-1
All sorts of records fell Saturday night at Avaya Stadium; club, record, positional … and so did the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The San Jose Earthquakes fired more shots at an opponent than any other game in MLS history, and despite another heroic effort from Max Crepeau — setting the MLS record for most saves in a game — could keep the Caps from falling 3-1 on the road.
After Jake Nerwinski’s first career goal gave the Caps (6-13-9) the lead six minutes in, the game ran downhill toward Crepeau’s net, with Judson (7th), Chris Wondolowski (34th) and Andrés Ríos (73rd) scoring for the Quakes (12-10-5), who snapped a four-game winless streak that included three straight losses.
Here’s what we learned:
The Quakes set a team record for shots with 32 in their first meeting with Vancouver in July — a 3-1 win — but went one better Saturday night, firing 43 shots toward the Caps’ net, breaking a record that had stood since 1998.
Crepeau deflected a Wondolowski header off the bar three minutes in, the first of a bevy of acrobatic stops, finishing the game with 16 saves — breaking a record set by U.S. international Tony Meola, who set the mark with the New York Metrostars in 1997.
The Whitecaps were outshot 43-5 overall, 19-2 on target.
“I think it’s every game that we’re facing a team that’s attacking us, and we’re dropping a little bit too low, and we’re a little bit too passive in our last third. And teams like San Jose … they crash the net every time they have a chance,” Crepeau said when asked about the shots disparity.
“It’s being more aggressive in our half, defending and after that, when we win the ball back, securing the first pass and getting it out of pressure, because we struggle with the first pass. After that, we didn’t maintain possession.”
The Whitecaps had a season-low 24.7 per cent possession, with the swarming, smother man-marking scheme used by the Quakes to drown any Vancouver attack before it even started.
But despite the imbalance in play, the Whitecaps only trailed 2-1 until Rios salted the game away in the 73rd minute.
Vancouver has given up more than 60 per cent possession seven times this season, but are surprisingly 3-3-2 in those games, including three 1-0 home wins (LAFC, Dallas, D.C. United). Saturday’s result — and the 6-1 LAFC loss it resembled, both in feel and statistics — were the only multi-goal losses in that count.
BIG BAD JAKE
Nerwinski, the Caps third-year right back, shocked the hosts with a sixth-minute strike to give his team a 1-0 lead.
After some strong hold-up play by Theo Bair in the corner, the lanky striker passed the ball back to Nerwinski, who beat Vako before uncharacteristically driving on goal, then unleashing a left-footed curler that found the far corner behind Daniel Vega. It was his first point of the season, and first point since the 2018 season-finale, when he assisted on Alphonso Davies’ first goal in a 2-1 victory over Portland at home.
Nerwinski has made 10 straight starts at right back, the longest consecutive game stretch of his career.
The Whitecaps travel to Montreal for a midweek game, the first game back in Montreal for both Crepeau and coach Marc Dos Santos. The Impact are just below the playoff line, and just fired coach Rémi Garde.
“I’d be lying if I said it was just another game … it’s family, friends there, and it’s always a special moment when a player who is born somewhere goes back to play against his former team,” said Crepeau. “It’s nice to see family and friends, but once it goes on the pitch, it’s all business.”
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact
5 p.m., Saputo Stadium, TV: TSN 1/5; Radio: TSN 1040 AM
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