Chicago and the refs

May 10, 2011 at 4:19 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 5 Comments

After yet another formative rookie expansion team performance, I am afraid there is precious little to write about from the Chicago match.  The Vancouver Whitecaps are still trying to find themselves as a team as we watch in agony.   Those halcyon days of March and early April have been replaced by one turgid performance after another.

The Vancouver Whitecaps season thus far is mirrored in the performance of Eric Hassli:  he started brilliantly  but has fizzled out to the point where he hit a new low by looking like an amateur when he stumbled and fell when clean through on Chicago’s goal. I feel for Davide Chuimiento, who put two match winning through balls on to the feet of Hassli and Camilo  only to have one erased by a brutal foul and the other ruined by Hassli’s clumsy finishing.  The quality of Hassli’s performance was brought into stark relief when the Whitecaps salary figures were released by the MLS players union this week.  We payed between 600 and 900 thousand for that!

Paying a guy a lot of money does not make him play well, but for that kind of loot we expect a man who is capable of some quality. Hassli has not really done anything since he hit the post against Chivas back in April, five matches ago.  Something is wrong, and he does not seem to be a happy player.  Perhaps he is homesick, or having trouble adjusting to his new life.  Or is there an injury we don’t know about?

We are still having problems getting crosses into the box, and Shea Salinas had a bad match after showing so much promise for the last few games.  If we don’t get crosses in, Hassli will never score again!  Crosses force defenders and goalkeepers to make errors by putting them under pressure, which is where many goals come from.

The Whitecaps had some very good moments, and actually started to look like a football team towards the end of the match where they had Chicago on the ropes.  The Whitecaps need to play for 90 minutes.  We have to take our good 20 minute spells and replace them with 90 minutes of quality.   If we are only playing well for a minority of the match we will have trouble winning more than a few games this year.  Teitur Thordarson’s challenge is to get his team to play a whole 90 minutes rather than fumbling about for 70 minutes, and then finally figuring it out for the last 20 or so.

The officiating in the MLS really needs some serious overhaul.  Skilled players are having their legs and ankles broken, and Camilo is lucky he still has two legs left after he was viciously brought down when he was clear through on goal.  The penalty?  A yellow card.  Oddly enough this play did not make the MLS highlight package, probably because the league is so embarrassed by its officials. Whatever happened to FIFA rules? Hassli get thrown out of the game for taking his jersey off and celebrating with fans, but players are allowed to scythe their opponents to the ground if they are clear through on goal…

Major League Soccer has the reputation of being a league which is fit and physical, but if it wants to have a league in which goals are scored it had better start protecting its better players against egregious fouls or the league will lose fans.  We don’t go to matches to see people’s legs broken in half, but to see good football and some goals.  If this continues the MLS will gain the reputation of being a goon league and skilled players will stop coming here.

Not for the first time this season, we have seen the poor quality of refereeing in MLS bringing the league into disrepute.  Its time for change before the league becomes a mockery.



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  1. Must agree with you on Hassli. If his performance doesn’t improve very soon he ought to be benched and released or traded at the earliest opportunity. We are not seeing much return on the relatively big investment so far. Quite the contrast with young Plata at Toronto FC.

  2. Hassli needs better service. He receives a lot of passes 30 or 40 yards outside the goal area… what are we expecting him to do, dribble through the last 3 or 4 defenders by himself? There’s more to it than just Hassli. It is a symptom of a team not being able to control the ball in the last third of the field.

  3. Of course it’s not all Hassli, the game is a team sport, but after game #1 he has been more of a bumbler than star performer.

  4. I agree with you on the standard of refereeing and some of the outright dirty tackles in the league. The tackle on Camilo was a straight red card, or should have been, and later in the game Rochat was cleaned out from behind by a defender who decided that the player’s legs should in no way prevent him from going through them to get to the ball. No foul, as I recall. I see another player had his ankle broken by a wild tackle on the weekend. Sure the guilty party was given a red card but will he be given the harsh discipline he deserves? Tackles such as that and the awful one on the Seattle player a couple of weeks ago can ruin a player’s career and the league should come down hard on the players who perpetrate them.

    There is too much inconsistency in the refereeing and standards must improve for the league to have the credibility it seeks in the world of soccer.

  5. Hassli is ruined i am afraid. Watching him again tonight against San Jose..he is either incredibly lazy or just not intrested, he doesn’t want to be here anymore its clear, we should ship him home and go shopping again.

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