Whitecaps tie one on again versus Red BullsMay 30, 2011 at 4:03 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 3 Comments
Today was one of those glorious days for a football fan: first of all we got to watch the Champions league final; then we got to watch our own Vancouver Whitecaps play on a beautiful sunny day at Empire field. While we are nowhere near the quality of Barcelona Football Club, we can all now be proud we have a serious football team to support in Vancouver, along with a stadium filled with passionate fans.
Barcelona FC showed the world how the game of football is meant to be played when it easily beat Manchester United 3-1 earlier today: Pinpoint passing, fantastic individual skills, wonderful movement, and tactical sophistication to spare. While it was great to watch the Champs League final on the tele, there is nothing like going to the park and supporting the local team. Long live the Vancouver Whitecaps!
Today 21,000 fans showed up to watch the Whitecaps draw 1-1 with Red Bull New York. While we do get a point from the match, a tie at home is more like a loss because visiting teams consider a tie to be a good result, rather like a win. While the Red Bulls will leave town with smiles on their faces, us fans trudged out of the stadium disappointed again, and our players looked down in the mouth at the end of the match.
The Red Bulls were without Thierry Henry and Marquez, but still are a solid side without them. We competed very well with them, and were it not for Greg Sutton making a great skate save on Eric Hassli’s effort in the second half, a win was ours.
We thought we had an early goal, but the linesman had other ideas. I’m not sure if Rochat receiving the through ball was offside or whether Camilo, who put the ball in the net, was offside and I don’t think I will ever know because it was not in the hi-light package! Perhaps the linesmen paid some hush money…(here is a picture which proves the goal was onside: sidehttp://twitpic.com/54hwnv). I hate linesmen: more often than not their job is to deprive us football fans of joy. Mind you, they do come in handy when the calls go our way.
Eric Hassli scored our goal from a penalty shot in the first half which was earned by some fantastic interplay between Camilo and Chiumiento. The two dwarfs completely outsmarted the Red Bulls defence, sending Camilo through free on goal. Camilo made a cut inside the box and was brought down. Hassli immediately walked to the ball and picked it up to claim the penalty. It is nice to see that kind of confidence from the big man, and that same confidence saw him put the penalty away without any bother at all. Eric clearly plays for the fans, and we are getting to love him more and more as time goes on. He put in a fantastic match today. He ran his heart out, won a thousand headers, and was always involved. After a bit of a slump, Eric is back.
Poor Alain Rochat had a bit of a poor first half today and I think it is fair to say he was not quite himself. Although he fed the ball to Chiumiento for the play that led to the first goal, He also lost his footing on the goal we gave up. He fell over, and his mark was able to cross the ball to that little bald man Luke Rogers who deflected the ball into the goal past a leaping Jay Nolly. Rochat played much better in the second half, when he finally got his head in the game.
Shea Salinas also played poorly today, though it wasn’t for lack of effort. Shea got a lot of the ball but was seemingly unable to provide it to his teammates. He worked hard, but his inner compass needs adjusting a bit, because his passing was very inaccurate. Time to spend a bit of extra time with the ball after practice, Shea! Salinas was pulled off with 30 minutes or so to go and Teibert was given a chance to shine, but also came up a bit dull.
Our substitutions all failed to really bring anything to the match, and taking Chiumiento off for Khalfan looked a bit odd. Clearly Khalfan was brought on for his speed, but to no real avail. Salgado came in late again for Camilo, too late to really have an effect on the match. Frankly, we were hoping Dunfield would come off, but perhaps Teitur Thordarson thought it was too risky to take Mr. Reliable out of centre midfield, even though Terry did not have his best match today. In think Terry is exhausted and it is really catching up with him.
It was a bit hard to leave Empire Field again without a win, but the fact is we could well have won that match: it was within our reach. The Whitecaps are having trouble coming up with that last good pass in the final third of the field which is where goals come from. This was especially the case in the second half of today’s game, when the Whitecaps were unable to put too much pressure on the Red Bull’s defence other than Hassli’s effort. The defences on Major League Soccer teams are well organized, and it takes something a bit special to create goals. While Camilo and Chiumiento created something special on the first goal, we need one or two more players who can make that final pass that breaks a defence down, so that goals can be created.
It is time for the Whitecaps to use some of that sponsorship money for another designated player. A good playmaking midfielder would do nicely, please!