Whitecaps’ Jacobson settling into offensive role ahead of visit to Colorado

Whitecaps' Jacobson happy in offensive role

Soft-spoken and usually a man of few words, Andrew Jacobson didn’t want to spend a lot of time talking about his stunning goal.

No, he hadn’t seen a replay, adding quickly the strike that helped the Vancouver Whitecaps earn their first road points of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Montreal would be meaningless if they didn’t continue on the same path.

But what the veteran midfielder was happy to discuss was his two-year-old son Henry’s reaction to dad’s exploits while watching the game on television back in Vancouver.

“He was running around screaming,” Jacobson said with a proud chuckle after training this week. “My wife has it on video. It was pretty cute.”

With the Whitecaps down 1-0 in Montreal, Jacobson peeled away from a crowd of teammates and opponents as a free kick bent towards the Impact penalty area.

A defender headed the ball away from immediate danger in the chaotic goal mouth, but only as far as Jacobson, who snapped a picture-perfect volley into the top corner from 18 yards out.

“When I was younger I probably would have just hit it as hard as I could,” Jacobson said of his 29th-minute effort. “I’ve seen enough of those sky over.

“I figured … get it on frame and see what happens.”

With a number of attacking players out injured — including midfielders Yordy Reyna and Brek Shea — and 16-year-old phenom Alphonso Davies starting to wear down, Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson also played a hunch three weeks ago.

He switched his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation with two defensive midfielders to a 4-1-4-1 setup that saw both Jacobson and Tony Tchani pushed further up field to support striker Fredy Montero.

The result was Vancouver playing well in a 2-1 road loss to the Portland Timbers on April 22 before the same lineup broke through in Montreal.

“It’s about people wanting to get in the box,” said Robinson. “I’ve challenged my players to want to get in the box and want to score goals.

“It’s just about continuing to do the right things.”

But what made him think Jacobson — a player who had scored just eight times in 203 Major League Soccer appearances over eight-plus seasons with five different clubs before Saturday — was suited to fill that role?

“Maybe I might know a little bit about the game?” Robinson joked, adding that Jacobson has had four or five great chances the last two outings and finished the most difficult of the bunch. “I get to work with him every day and I get to see that technically he’s very gifted.”

Jacobson, who would cap his day against the Impact by setting up Cristian Techera’s second-half winner, said he’s enjoyed the more advanced role in a formation that forces the Whitecaps (3-4-1) to attack on the road, where they visit the slumping Colorado Rapids (1-5-1) on Friday.

“It takes a lot of work and it takes everybody moving off the ball,” said Jacobson, a 31-year-old from Palo Alto, Calif., acquired from New York City FC in March 2016. “If you start to get complacent you can get burned real quick.”

Colorado had the second best record in MLS last season and opened 2017 with a victory, but has dropped five of its last six, including four straight.

Vancouver, meanwhile, has lost six in a row at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which sits about 1,600 metres above sea level, with the Whitecaps’ only points there all-time coming in a 2012 victory.

“The altitude definitely affects you,” said Jacobson. “I’ve always thought a lot of that is the mentality of guys going into it, almost giving yourself an excuse.

“Every year’s a different team. We haven’t played there yet with this team.”

Notes: Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey, who started his career with the Rapids, is in line to make his 250th MLS appearance. … Shea (knee sprain) was a full participant in training this week and could be available Friday. Reyna (broken foot) is still a few weeks away from returning after getting hurt in pre-season. … Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard is eligible to return after serving a three-game suspension. … Vancouver wraps up its four-game road trip in Houston on May 12.

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Political theatre shines light on womens issues

The Vagina Monologues returned to Fernie last weekend for the second time,… Continue reading

Local rink heading to curling provincials

The Mens Masters East-West playdown took place in Sparwood from February 2-4.… Continue reading

Kootenay East MLA reacts to Throne Speech

Tom Shypitka says speech falls short of intended mark.

Specialist shortage affecting elective surgeries

East Kootenay Regional Hospital recruiting additional anesthetists

Youth compete in winter Olympics

Bundled up under layers of fluorescent clothing, children excitedly participated in École… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Most Read