Davide saves us from home embarassment

May 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | Leave a comment

Whew! The little chubby one saved us against San Jose...

OK, I’m a bit late with my match report of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, but what with work, my own footy exploits and other hobbies it gets hard to get reports done in time. Please forgive me.

Davide Chiumiento certainly has pulled his weight for the Vancouver Whitecaps this year.  Though he tends to disappear for long stretches of matches,  when his mind is focussed he is our finest offensive asset. He has put up big offensive numbers, having scored a goal and provided a good number more.  Were it not for Davide’s time injury time equalizer, it would have been a very depressing night indeed at Empire. First of all we all got absolutely soaked, but more importantly the Whitecaps played their poorest performance yet.  The players and the fans were visibly distraught by the fact we were being outclassed by a club at the bottom of the league.  One of my party was so disgusted he left at half time, put off by the wet and the Whitecaps poor form.

Starting eleven: hard working but low on flair

Several of the players we started in the match are very hard workers, but have feet of stone.  No one can fault the effort of the likes of Knight, Janicki, Brovsky, but why play all three grinders?   At the level of the MLS you have to be able to have a bit of a delicate touch with the ball. Shea Salinas, who does have a touch, played a poor match, and we failed to get crosses in to the box again. We have to find a way to free up our wide men so we can get crosses in.  I think Khalfan, who has demonstrated he can get crosses in to the box for goals (two against Kansas City), should be given another go on the left flank.  Eric Hassli chugged around all night until he was substituted, having received almost no service in the box at all, which must be very frustrating for him.  Our lack of effective wing play is illustrated by the low number of corner kicks we are getting.  We only managed two, which shows we are not putting enough pressure on opposing team’s defenders.

Poor Terry Dunfield struggled all match, and gave the ball up twice on the play that led to San Jose’s goal.  I can forgive Terry because he must have been exhausted, having played in all of the last 5 matches without a break.  A footballer’s body can’t take that kind of stress with games every three or four days and travel on top of it.  Terry played his part in the equalizing goal, however, feeding the ball to Chiumineto for his curling wonder strike that confounded defenders, strikers and goalkeepers alike as it curled into the far corner.  It was a piece of magic that redeemed an otherwise bleak evening.

The Whitecaps played like a team of strangers until the last ten minutes of the game, which is  a pattern which is getting to be tiresome.  No team can play flat out for 90 minutes, but we have to find a way of creating good spells of play in the first half, rather than always playing with a deficit to make up.  Desperate last minute football can only take you so far.

DeMerit returns. Thank God!!!

One piece of great news is that Jay DeMerit played the last 15 minutes of the match and seemed able to cope well.  It is no coincidence the Whitecaps’ performance picked up and we got even at the last while Jay was on the pitch.  The loss of his leadership has left a real vacuum in our side in recent games.  Lets hope he is able to stay healthy.

Another player we missed was Gershon Koffie, though I must credit Jeb Brovsky, who had his best match yet.  He has gained in confidence but he must work on his touch on the ball.   A central midfielder must be able to settle the ball in one touch and make plays.  I hope Teitur was just resting Koffie and he is not injured.  We need that guy!

Our central defensive pair and Keeper Nolly looked shaky all night and might have been punished  more extensively by a better side.  Janicki looked shaky on a number of occasions and Akloul seemed to toss himself on to the ground after every play, though he was actually winning high balls unlike previously.  San Jose’s goal came from our inability to clear our lines, and the leadership vacuum at the back was clear.  On San Jose’s goal, Nolly coughed up a rebound when he parried the ball;  he should have put it into touch for a corner.

Though the Whitecaps played a dour match on Wednesday, they do not look completely at sea.  They are staying competitive in the matches they are playing, and are not being blown out or dominated.  A number of ingredients are still missing, though. One ingredient we need is a fit Jay DeMerit. Wednesday’s match proved to me that getting Demerit fit and playing 90 minutes must be the Whitecaps number one priority.  His leadership at the back is needed; he has the ability to spread confidence throughout the team.

I feel once DeMerit gets fit to play 90 minutes we will put some wins together.

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