Hassli joy is short lived

May 20, 2011 at 6:01 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 5 Comments

The Nutrilite Canadian Championship is coming up against some pretty tough competition from Canadian Hockey teams.  Where as we usually have to jostle to get in to Empire Field, we breezed through the front gates and walked unmolested to our seats, because people chose to watch the Canucks and Sharks instead of coming to the footy match.  I would say there were no more than 7 or 8000 people at Empire if that, though 15,000 tickets were bought through season ticket holders.  A bad night indeed for the scalpers who could not give their tickets away.  It was rather like the first Nutrilite game against the Impact in Montreal when the Bruins and the Habs were at it at the same time in the seventh game of the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Starting eleven

Having started so poorly in Major League Soccer, and sitting at the bottom of the league, qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League has become a priority for the Vancouver Whitecaps.   If the Whitecaps can make the Champion’s League group stages, it would be a major coup for the team, and would satisfy the fans.  It would also keep the Whitecaps playing matches in the off-season which will be good for our squad, who might otherwise be sitting idle during the all too long MLS layoff.  The MLS off-season goes on for months.  Sitting idle is not good for footballers.  In Europe they are lucky to get three weeks off.

The Match ended 1-1 against Canadian rivals Toronto Football Club.  The Whitecaps dominated the match and created plenty of chances, but crossbars, goal posts and shocking misses put an end to the dream of a win.  The result left us at a disadvantage with Toronto in the lead because of an away goal to their credit.  The Whitecaps must score goals in Toronto to win.

Not the best match for Jay

While we are all pleased to have our Captain Jay DeMerit back and fit, he had a bit of a nightmare as two errors, one at the back and one at the front, gave the win away.  DeMerit tired as the game went on, was beaten cleanly twice at the back later on in the game. One of these occasions led to TFC’s tying goal.   Worse still was a shocking miss where he was all alone on goal with a free header off of Chiumiento’s perfectly placed cross.  He headed across the goal wide rather than just hitting it in the net.   Jay’s timing and fitness are still not 100%, and, had he not been so crucial to our team, he would have been taken off because he ran out of gas. Teitur probably left him in so he can develop match fitness.  In any event, Jay’s execution on the night was not the best, as I am sure he would be the first to admit.

Eric Hassli scored a beauty, and what a relief it was for all of us to see him score.  The goal, which came in the 65th minute or so after a long and sustained period of pressure from the Caps, was started by a brilliant throw-out by Jay Nolly to Chiumiento. Chiumiento counter attacked quickly, and fed the ball to Hassli.  Hassli put a move on a TFC defender, created some room for himself and hit a powerful left-footed curling shot into the far corner.

Hassli’s joy was short lived.  Ten minutes later a defensive lapse cost us the win, as both Demerit and Janicki lost their concentration on the goal.  Demerit lost track of his man out on the right flank and was well beaten by an over head flick by TFC’s winger.  The resulting cross was flicked into the far corner by Santos, who was Janicki’s mark.  Just like that it was 1-1, and despite our usual last minute heroics, notably by Rochat who nearly won us the game with a header in extra time, that is the way it remained.

Nice one Eric!!!

We are now up against it for the second leg next week and it means winning the match in enemy territory in Toronto.  The Whitecaps must score so will have to attack.  This will leave us vulnerable on the counter-attack.  Last night’s game proved we have the capability to create scoring chances, and, who knows, if we play the same way we might just get some luck and beat TFC by a few goals.


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5 Comments »

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  1. Do keep in mind that the only way that the away goal rule will come into effect is if we tie Toronto 0-0. 1-1 means we are tied on the away goal rule, and 2-2 means we win it on away goals. Of course it would just be simpler to win the game outright but we will need a bit of luck for that – and that is the one thing that have had precious little of this year and in years past in the Nutralite Cup competition. I still think that we will win because Toronto is simply just not as good as us.

    • My hope is we score a goal early, which is the best thing for an away team to do in this kind of competition.

      • But just look at our record. I don’t think we have managed to score a goal in the first 15-20 minutes all season. We are much more likely to get a goal or 2 in the last 15 minutes. Though it would make things soooooo much easier if we got one in the first 10, O just don’t see it.

  2. I think it is quite clear that our season is quickly becoming a failure. Using the we are an expansion team excuse is not acceptable since Portland (5 wins, 17 pts on pace for the playoffs), Seattle had a great first year, Philly (which started from scratch) had 6 wins and look atthem THIS year…we are on track for the single worst expansion team year in MLS history (3 wins)..Portland has shows us thus far that our preparation in 2009-2010 was poor (Cody Arnoux – are you kidding me!) , our player selection was poor and the fact we are sitting like a deer in the headlights just highlights our management is poor. Of the 8 season ticket holders i know, 7 plan not to renoew unless management makes some changes. Bravo Portland on a top down MLS quality organization, Whitecaps – you are stil stuck in the amature league (Nothing personal)

    • The newcomer enthusiasm is starting to wane, and if we don’t beat Toronto tomorrow night I think we will see some dramatic action from the club in the transfer market. I think the summer may bring in a big signing to try to inject some optimism in the side. I don’t think Teitur’s job is on the line yet, but if we get blown out at home by the Red Bulls that may change. 7 out of 8 season ticket holders not going to renew? Those are not good numbers!


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