Whitecaps beat Colorado on Robson debutJuly 5, 2012 at 11:57 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 4 Comments
Poor Barry Robson. When he was interviewed after the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 0-1 away win in Colorado, he looked like he had seen a ghost. Among his first comments were “it was hot…” Barry discovered a few home truths about Major League Soccer in his first match for the Caps. The first was that if you are not quick about moving the ball you will be absolutely demolished by a physically huge player on the opposing team. Robson gave up the ball a couple of times because he was not quick enough on it. The second is that the MLS is a summer league and a lot of games are played in temperatures far greater than in Great Britain. The suffering was etched on his pale ginger skin.
Robson’s lack of match fitness was apparent, but we should not worry because he was not that far off of the pace. He really looks like a proper footballer and I believe we are in for a real treat when he gets match fit.
Darren Mattocks continues to impress, scoring an opportunistic winner just before half time. A scorching cross from Jordan Harvey on the left side created the goal. Colorado’s defense failed to clear and fumbled the ball for the alert and speedy Mattocks to run on to. It may prove to be a critical goal in the dogfight for the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference. The win puts us in third place in the west, 2 points above Seattle, 9 points ahead of the surging LA Galaxy and 7 ahead of Colorado. Not bad at all.
Normal defensive service was resumed after the 0-3 breakdown in LA, and the Whitecaps again relied on heroic defending to see them through. The heat on the night meant the game was hampered by mental breakdowns on both sides, especially where passing was concerned. It was certainly no great display of footballing prowess. The Whitecaps offence produced only one shot on goal all match, and that was due to a clumsy defensive blunder on the part of a Colorado defender.
Some interesting Line up changes illustrated that the Whitecaps are definitely playing a system into which different players can be slotted. Alain Rochat played Jun Davidson’s role, and Mattocks played Le Toux’s role. Harvey filled in for Rochat at left back. Hassli played up front and looked generally unhappy with matters as usual. For me, the biggest shame this year is the inability of Rennie to get the best out of both Hassli and Camillo, both of whom have great football skills but look out of sorts in Rennie’s joyless defensive approach. It’s certainly no “beautiful game”, and there looks to be no room for that kind of player at the Whitecaps this year. Those of us who love the beautiful game, however, are surviving on some pretty thin gruel at this point!
Still, it’s nice to win, isn’t it? While they don’t play what you might call Champagne football, this year’s Whitecaps are a solid and resilient side that finds a way to win. I am looking forward to the second half of the season, which looks like it will be very interesting indeed. I believe it will be a dogfight for that fifth playoff spot, and that the Caps will be right in the thick of it.