Whitecaps Lose in New England, but give reason for hopeMay 16, 2011 at 3:10 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 1 Comment
While we lost a tight match in New England 0-1 last night, the fact is the Whitecaps actually looked like a good football team. They played much better than they did in Wednesday night’s match against San Jose. The Whitecaps got plenty of shots on goal and won two corner kicks in the first 10 minutes which is all they managed in the whole match on Wednesday.
The Whitecaps were very balanced on the night and played sophisticated and intelligent football. Coach Teitur Thordarson had the team very well organized indeed, and it helped to have Jay DeMerit back starting his first match since Houston on April 10. Teitur has an on-field coach in Jay, and it showed.
The Whitecaps fielded a young team, with Nolly in goal, Wagner, DeMerit, Akloul and Wes Knight in defence, Teibert, Koffie, Brovsky and Salinas in midfield and Long Tan and Salgado up front.
Unfortunately it was a bit of youthful enthusiasm that gave the penalty to New England which was the turning point in the match. Wes Knight got sold a dummy in the penalty area by New England striker Feilhaber, lunged at the ball, missed it, and caught Feilhaber instead. There was no hope of getting away with it because the foul took place at the top of the penalty area in full view of the ref. At this level of football defenders have to be more patient in the box because skilled players will take advantage of naive defending to draw penalties. And so it was 0-1 just after the half time break, and a poor reward for all of the good work the Whitecaps had done in the first half. The Caps couldn’t recover.
Long Tan got his first full start up front and it is clear he needs some work. He got into good scoring positions twice but was not powerful or committed enough in execution to score. He needs to improve his speed and physical presence because he lacked both and was easily contained by New England’s defenders. He didn’t really provide any good support for Salgado either. Its back to the reserves and off to the gym to do some weights so he can hold off defenders. He will need to toughen up to play in the MLS.
Salgado again showed glimpses of future brilliance. He nearly scored on two half-chances, which is the sign of a great striker. Once he fills out a bit and develops some muscle he will be a force to be reckoned with. Our lack of physicality up front made us a bit toothless in the match. We could have used Hassli to bang guys around a bit.
Jeb Brovsky and Shea Salinas both had very good matches, and it is nice to see Brovsky improve so much. He and Koffie did a good job in centre midfield. After playing a poor match on Wednesday, Salinas got some good crosses in and gave New England’s left back a torrid time
In spite of the fact we lost, the Whitecaps demonstrated a lot of quality and maturity when you consider we fielded such a young team. We were competitive in the match and all we lacked was a little bit of luck and bite up front. The team played well without regular starters Rochat, Dunfield, Leathers, Hassli and Camilo in the lineup. Chiumiento came on late and didn’t help much when he came on. These fellows will have to sober up and look over their shoulders because there are some good youngsters coming up in the squad. Hard competition within the squad is what makes a team perform well.
When you look past the disappointment of this loss, it is clear once we get some Major League Soccer experience into the squad we will have a team that will win matches. It is rather hard to watch us lose and struggle for draws at this point, but the match in New England showed the future looks just fine.