Whitecaps Schedule Boggles the Mind

August 18, 2009 at 4:30 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2009 | 1 Comment

Football Clubs in Europe, and football commentators generally, state concerns with fixture congestion.  In England, for instance, a club like Manchester United will have to compete in the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Football League Cup and the Champions League.  In Europe it is considered absolute madness for a player to play more than two competitive matches in one week.  This is why the big clubs carry such massive squads.   In the League Cup, a team like Manchester United will play second or third stringers rather than have their top talent suffer an injury which will take them out from the two competitions which really matter: The Champions League, and the Premier League, which provides qualification for the Champions League.

And yet, look at the USL-1 schedule which the Whitecaps have to play this week.  Having played their hearts out in front of us last Saturday, they must board a plane and play in Carolina Tuesday, and in Charleston Thursday. Then they must fly back to Vancouver for a match next Sunday.  Four games in eight days!  And this is not the first time this has happened this season.  I am not sure if other teams are facing the same crazy schedule, but it looks like the Caps have drawn the short straw for this year’s schedule.  Oh, the price of being the Champions!

I feel sorry for the players and for Teitur.  For the players, fatigue means they do not play as well, and they risk injury.   For us fans, it means we watch tired players who are not mentally sharp.  This means the football is poorer to watch.   Ideally, games should be between teams who are well rested and players who are hungry to play.  Coach Teitur must somehow mix and match his squad to keep them fresh and motivated.  The teams we must play on the road, Charleston and Carolina, are at the top of the table, which means there is no easy game. If the road trip is not successful, we could well kiss our playoff chances good-bye.

I realize the USL-1 faces enormous challenges because of the vast distances between clubs.  This means road trips must be rationalised in terms of ensuring the cost of  travel does not bankrupt clubs.    This year’s schedule has been a disaster and has disrupted the continuity of the fan experience to such an extent that one can feel the enthusiasm waning.  There was a huge gap in home games where we needed to wait almost a month to see the team play back in June/July.  Where there is little access to coverage of away games, this means the typical fan loses contact with the club.

As I have said in a previous post, this has been a bizarre year for the Whitecaps.  After our triumph last year, this year’s team looks to emulate the 1980 squad, which also failed to find form after a championship year.

1 Comment »

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  1. Hi I thinks its quite simple. I look at Portlands schedule and they had many of these 4 games in a week or so. Ok they have handled it obviously much better with their experienced players but in short

    Announce you are leaving the USL-1 in 2011 get a crappy schedule. I dont blame the league but am looking forward to the MLS


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