Coaching Error Costs Caps Win Against Austin

August 30, 2010 at 4:38 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2010 | 4 Comments

Poor Marty Nash.  He created the first goal for the Whitecaps with a firm tackle in midfield and fought like a lion as usual.  He sprayed passes all over the park and bossed the midfield in his usual manner.  With the Whitecaps up 2-1 and the Austin Aztecs sucking wind, Nash was substituted in the 80th minute while Austin prepared to take a free kick to the left of the Whitecaps goal. Ethan Gage came into the game cold and was immediately caught in a critical defensive situation.  He left two men unmarked behind him.  The Aztex promptly scored off of the free kick.

While I can see Whitecaps coach Thordarson’s thinking, which was to bring a defensive player in to lock up a match which looked well in control, both the substitution itself and the timing were poor.  In the first place, Nash is better defensively than Gage, so why not leave him in and let him finish the job?   Secondly, the timing of the substitution was poor: why thrust a new player in at the time of a critical defensive situation?   Surely, Teitur could have waited for a goal kick to sub Marty out.

After  Nash left the field, Austin had a three more chances and could have easily stolen the match.  This was clearly a poor substitution, and Gage must look at himself in the mirror on this one.  The Whitecaps were worse off when Nash left the field and Gage came on.

On the bright side, it was a great afternoon at Swangard and the football was easily the best we have had all season.   Both sides played some very sophisticated  football and a draw was really the proper result on the day.  It has been so long since the last home match that it was like a family reunion in the Southside.

The match was notable for a number of reasons and we got to see a few of the new signings in action.  Terry Dunfield, a Vancouver native who has returned from a long stint in England showed what an accomplished pro he is with a very solid match in midfield.  Ridge Mobulu played his first home match (I believe it is his first match for the Whitecaps, but I am not sure) at striker and really impressed.  He scored a fabulous goal in the second half from a near impossible angle after rounding the keeper and beating two more defenders.  As Julian of the Southside remarked, it has been a long time since we have seen such a touch of class at Swangard.   Mobulu ran intelligently all day and clearly is a very polished player.  We can expect to see more goals this season out of Mobulu, for sure.

The addition of Mobulu seemed to give Cornelius Stewart renewed confidence and energy, and it was Stewart’s quick reaction to the ball after Nash’s tackle which caught Austin out that gave the Whitecaps an early advantage in the first half.   Stewart scored from 25 yards out and cooly drove the ball into the net on the keeper’s left side.

Austin showed their class on their first goal coming from a corner kick in the first half.  A cross from the right of the Cap’s goal went across the goal to the far post where an Austin player headed the ball back into the six yard box for an easy header.  Austin looked like the AC Milan of the 90’s on that goal!   It was, technically speaking, one of the best goals we have seen at Swangard in recent memory.  Too bad the Caps didn’t score it.

If this is what we have to look forward to the rest of the season, it will be great to watch.  It was nice to leave the park having watched some good football and an entertaining match.

Once we get our new guys match fit and playing together, we are a threat to win it all.



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  1. […] the game. If he was meant to help out defensively, Thordarson needs to rethink his tactics. UPDATE: Whitecapsfanblog agrees, and spotted Gage missing a defensive assignment on the second […]

  2. Excellent report, good sir. It was a great afternoon in the sun, and the football on display was wonderful. I disagree slightly about the level of sophistication, but I’m a fan of a possession game. We played very well to our strengths, and could have had three goals in the first half.

    Here’s my match report, and please come over to The Offside site for more thoughts on our beloved Caps:

    Two defensive errors from set-pieces cost us the points tonight. Nice to see both Stewart and Mobulu get on the scoresheet, though.

  3. I will admit that the timing of the substitution was poor, but if there are 2 men unmarked, then it is not just Gage’s or Thordarson’s fault. That is a larger defensive breakdown. In the end, Johnson was Zourab’s man, so I put he blame on him.

    If Janicki and Akwari are in the lineup, the Caps win that game.

    • I wasn’t as assertive in my report as you, masster, but I think I agree. I wonder though if Austin’s speed would have hurt us, as Bellisomo and Tsiskaridze are faster than both Janicki and Akwari.

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