Beckham a class act in draw with Vancouver WhitecapsJuly 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 5 Comments
I will admit is up front: I am a great fan of David Beckham. I admire him tremendously as a person and as a footballer. Contrary to some folks who don’t rate his football skills very highly, I think he uses the skills he does have to excellent effect, and there is no coincidence that his trophy chest is bigger than most people’s homes. He has won the English Premier league numerous times, the European Champions League, La Liga in Spain, the MLS cup, and plenty of other honours. He captained England in major international tournaments.
It was a huge mistake to not include him in the Great Britain Olympic squad: I know Stuart Pearce is psycho, but I had no idea he was stupid as well! Beckham should have been on the team and captain of it to boot.
Sexy Becksy looked quite ordinary playing for the LA Galaxy in the first half of last night’s 2-2 draw however, playing so far back in midfield he was practically an anonymous fullback. One could be forgiven for asking what all the fuss was about when he gave up the ball to the Whitecaps in midfield so that Gershon Koffie could go forward and score a beautiful goal in the 17th minute. Koffie played a wonderful game last night, and was robbed in the second half by Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders. He also saved a goal when Joe Cannon was down and out after making a save.
Barry Robson played in his first home game for the Vancouver Whitecaps last night. He was playing absolutely awful football for 27 minutes, losing the ball, being slow and ponderous and always passing backwards. Frankly, he looked like the reincarnation of last year’s guy Peter Vagenas. Just as I was making a comment to this effect he scored with an absolutely exquisite glancing header from YP Lee’s left footed cross from the right hand side. It truly was a beauty to behold, and Robson was absolutely delighted, as were the rest of us.
Scoring a goal must have cheered Robson up a bit, because he was very good indeed for the rest of the match, nearly scoring off of two free kicks and dribbling into the box for a close miss in the second half. He really endeared himself to the crowd and myself with his fantastic work effort and his never-say-die attitude. Robson seems to be getting fit, although I do not think he is at peak fitness, and he is getting more mentally alert as well. Though he started poorly, his performance after his goal was excellent.
The Whitecaps looked well in control at the half, and it looked like the Galaxy had decided not to play on the night. Unfortunately, they changed their mind at halftime.
The Galaxy were a different side in the second half, and the drubbing they got in the first half seemed to awaken their pride in themselves as footballers. The Beckham, Donovan and Keane show began in earnest. The Galaxy began playing beautiful one touch football along the ground and carried the ball deep into the Whitecaps half seemingly without effort. The Whitecaps were sucking wind and hoping to hit the Galaxy on the counter attack to make it 3-0. With the speedy pair of Mattocks and Richards up front, it looked like it just might happen.
In the second half the Galaxy put Beckham wide on the right touchline. He proceeded to bombard the Whitecap’s penalty area with perfectly accurate Beckham-bombs; the Whitecaps struggled to clear the ball deep in their penalty box. As a football purist, it was a pleasure to see the mastery of Beckham’s technique, and a thrill to see one of the great footballers of a generation. Frankly, you could see the LA goals coming, and they did.
The Whitecaps bench was weak last night. Camilo was taken off in the 69th minute and Nanchoff was brought on. I have ranted about this before, but why Rennie would take Camilo off is a mystery. Frankly, the only thing Nanchoff had to add last night was a fresh pair of legs. Rennie saw the danger on Beckham was posing, but Nanchoff did little to stop the barrage of Beckham crosses coming in from the right side. His addition did not help the cause and, if anything, made the Whitecaps hunker down in to a more defensive attitude, making the situation worse. The result was we conceded two goals after Camilo left the pitch.
Beckham himself finished an extended period of possession for the Galaxy that saw many of their players touch the ball. Beckham started the move with a pass and finished it with a goal in the 80th minute. The panic in the Whitecaps team was palpable. The second goal was almost inevitable at this stage, and LA’s rookie Villareal scored a brilliantly taken curling goal in the 87th minute.
The Whitecaps pushed to win the match in the final seven minutes or so, but some late opportunities did not bear any fruit. We have seen this movie before in previous home games where the Whitecaps gave up late goals (remember the Seattle and New York home games?) to lose precious points by tying the match rather than winning. The same thing nearly happened in the 1-0 home win over Colorado.
Is it stamina we lack, or is it poor strategy? I blame a weak bench and some poor substitution decisions by our coach, Martin Rennie. Just putting fresh pair of legs out there does not do the job. In Rennie’s defence, injuries and suspensions meant our bench was very weak to start with: he did not have much to choose from.
All in all, as a football match, the game was terrific. Major league Soccer has produced a few spectacular matches at BC Place this year, and this was among the best.