Defence Lets Us Down Against Portland

July 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2010 | 1 Comment

One of the remarkable features of the Vancouver Whitecaps this year has been our solid defence.   Our back triad of Nolly, Janickyi and Akwari in the center of defence has been strong and difficult to score against.  Last night, two of the three had bad games.  Janicki and Nolly made two key defensive errors which cost us the game.  

Poor Jay Nolly was not on his game last night, and was struggling to keep up with the match.  He was at sea a number of times in coming out for crosses.  Goalkeepers need to make the right decision when to come out for the ball.  If they come out for a cross too late or for a ball they can never get to, the result is usually not good.  So it was last night when Nolly foolishly came out for a cross in the second half that was never his, and fell short of the ball when trying to punch it away.   He ended up out of position and on his ass as a scramble in front of goal ended up with Danso slamming the ball in the net for Portland from close range.   It was the game winner.  Jay was poor in his distribution as well as a limp throwout to Hirano late in the game allowed Dike to do a goon act on Hirano.  Dike should have been sent off for a deliberate attempt to injure but stayed on the pitch.

Prior to the goal described above, Janicki lost his concentration and let  nippy Portland striker Pore through alone on goal.  Rather than taking him down outside of the box, Janicki took him down in the box, resulting in his own expulsion and a gift to Portland of a penalty kick.  This goal allowed Portland to draw level and handed them the advantage of playing the rest of the match with one more player than the Whitecaps. 

Two defensive errors was all it took to deprive us of three points which looked in the bag after we went 1-0 up early in the second half.  Khalfan scored a goal from deep inside the penalty area from a deceptive cross from Phillipe Davies which lulled Portland’s defence to sleep.  I all looked good up to that point.

I hate to give credit to Portland but they were sharper last night than we were.   The Caps gave them a game and looked the superior team for much of the first half, but in the end we were outplayed and outsmarted by a team that was smarter on the night.   Out players looked small against the giants of Portland such as Futty and Dike, who bruised our players with their size and speed.  

Losing to our arch-rival is never easy to swallow, but we learned a few hard lessons in how to defend properly.  Nolly must stay in his goal unless he is sure he can get to the ball.  Janicki needs to make quicker decisions in key moments.  

Back to the drawing board.

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  1. To be fair to Janicki, it looks like he tries to bring him down outside the box but the Portland player stays on his feet then falls in the box. We always knew that eventually our lack of speed in the middle at the back would be exposed, and it was. Usually Knight would have closed the guy down but he was too busy with their wide player, who did a good job of keeping Knight wide in the second half.


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