Whitecaps patchwork quilt fails test in Houston

April 11, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | Leave a comment

After watching the first four games of the Vancouver Whitecaps new era in Major League Soccer, it has stuck me how little the team has looked like an expansion team. Today in Houston, we looked like an expansion team, suffering a 3-1 loss to Dynamo. It was like watching a division 2 match from last year.

In our first four performances we looked like a team that knew each other and played together as a unit. Today there was no cohesion or mutual understanding, with the exception of one brilliant play between Chiumiento and Camilo.  The Whitecaps were very poor in possession today, quickly losing the ball after few passes, and were ineffective at winning the ball back from Houston.

One could argue we were  a bit unlucky: after we tied it up 1-1 we gave up a goal because DeMerit couldn’t move when he pulled his groin on the play, putting the scorer onside.   Teitur took a gamble on DeMerit’s fitness, and the gamble failed: he should not have played at all, Captain or no.  Jay Nolly made his first big mistake of the season for the third goal by coming out of his box for a through ball he had no business coming for. Nolly made a difficult challenge for the striker easy by taking himself out of the play.  The last thing a football team can afford is for its keeper to give up easy ones on a platter for the other side. It is a shame because Jay has played very well indeed and was the man of the match against New England on Wednesday.

The only good news is today’s loss came as a result of suspensions and injuries.  The team we put out was a patchwork quilt. We missed the suspended Hassli’s ability to hold the ball up front. The midfield pairing of Brovsky and Rochat were a poor substitute for Dunfield and Koffie, who were not available for selection due to injury and international duty respectively. Rochat was played out of position, and Brovsky was barely heard from all match, which is not what you want from a central midfielder. Houston were able to boss the midfield, and consequently our possession percentage was  abysmally low, especially in the first half.

This game will be remembered for the first game Omar Salgado played for the Vancouver Whitecaps, at the tender age of 17.  He only had a few touches of the ball, but what he did he did well.  Mark this day in your memory Whitecaps fans, this kid is going to be great.

There was a wonderful goal by Chiumiento and Camilo, both of whom showed real class for our equalizer in the first half.  But it was the only really memorable play we put together for the whole match.   Chiumiento otherwise had a very poor match and demonstrated how he blows hot and cold, as those of us know from his performances last year. Last year he was described as a “luxury player” by Portland’s coach because of his lack of defensive skill. Today he looked like one. If he hadn’t put Camilo through for the goal, his grade today would definitely be a fail.

This was not a pretty match to watch as a Whitecaps fan, the worst match so far.  It just demonstrates the right players need to be fit to play and in the positions they play best. I suppose we knew there would be days like this…

Lets forget about it and get behind the boys next Saturday and lift the team. We need a win. It is up to the twelfth man now. Lets get ready to make some thunder at Empire next week and drive the boys on to victory over Chivas.

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