Rochat rocket busts Union

June 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2011 | 3 Comments

All credit to Tommy Soehn.  I have been criticizing him mercilessly because I am a Teitur Thordarson Loyalist, but I will give him credit:  he put out a solid team on Saturday night that performed according to Soehn’s wishes, and we won the match.   A late Terry Dunfield give-away nearly cost us the win we had been craving for so long, but the Whitecaps saw it through and won their first Major League Soccer match since March 19.

Starting eleven

Soehn’s successful team included a number of changes:  Boxall was back at centre-back, Terry Dunfield had a new defensive midfielder’s role,  and Jeb Brovsky was preferred to Gershon Koffie in central midfield. Brovsky responded to his start well, playing the best match for the Whitecaps he has played so far. He had some very nice touches on the ball indeed, and looked confident in his role.  To be honest, I had written him off, but he proved himself to have some special qualities against Philadelphia, and his potential looks good for the future.

Brovsky: first good match


Soehn has stated his ambition to play more of a possession game, and certainly this was true of keeping possession at the back.  For the opening minutes of the game the Whitecaps back line and Joe Cannon played keep away from the rest of the players on the pitch, including our own!  It was all looking a bit boring and unnatural (especially for DeMerit and Boxall, neither of whom is particularly gifted with passing the ball from their feet), but soon thereafter it paid dividends as the Whitcaps shifted the ball from the left side to the right.  The Whitecaps moved the ball up the right side of the pitch where Chiumineto got the ball.  Shea Salinas did a brilliant dummy run and Chiumiento suddenly cut left to the middle of the park, where, after a brief exchange with Hassli, he found Rochat creeping up the left side of the pitch with a lot of room around him.  Rochat took one touch and hit a hard curling shot into the far corner  from 25 yards or so out.   It was an amazing move which started with Brovsky and eventually went through Rochat, Boxall, Leathers, Salinas, Chiumineto, Hassli, Chiumiento again, and then Rochat again for the finish.  This goal proved the Whitecaps can actually play football.  It was a thing of beauty from beginning to end and a real team goal.   Rochat had the football instinct to anticipate the ball would eventually come back to him as he crept up on the Union’s blind side.  Apart from Hassli’s miracle effort in Seattle, which was purely a one-man show, this was the Whitecaps best goal of the year.

"I started it, and I finished it!"

It has to be said the Philadelphia Union were a shadow of what I thought they would be.  Again, we were robbed of the opportunity to see one of the best players on the visiting team as Carlos Ruiz was off on Gold Cup duty for Guatemala.  The Union lived up to their reputation for being a physical team, but created few chances.  To the Whitecaps credit, the team looked very compact and solid throughout the game, making it difficult for the Union to play.  Joe Cannon did not have to make any major saves to speak of.  I have to say I now believe Boxall and DeMerit should start every game at centre back.  I think it is time to settle the back line with what we played on Saturday night and stop fooling around with other players.

Poor Terry Dunfield nearly chucked it all away with an errant pass across the field near the end of the match that ended up being intercepted. Philadelphia put their best move of the night together but it was all for naught when Sebastion Le Toux squandered his team’s hopes for a draw by poking a close range effort wide.  It would have been a cruel fate for Terry had it happened.  Stop making those passes across the field Terry!  Terry was taken off immediately for Gershon Koffie, who tends not to do that kind of thing!  It was the first intelligent substitution I have seen Soehn make thus far. He also brought Nizar Khalfan on to try to get a second goal, which very nearly worked when the Union’s Columbian keeper Mondragon went walkabout outside of his 18 yard box.

The fan support was superb at Empire field and the Southsiders  are getting their act together, putting on one of their best visual displays yet.  It was nice to have a happy moment in this town which was soiled last Wednesday by rioting losers.  The Whitecaps experience showed the brighter side of sport on the night.

Soehn views the battle

The win brought many questions to mind: is it the Soehn effect that brought our first win since matchday 1?  Would Thordarson have won one of the last last four games had he been in charge?  It is easy to speculate, but there is no arguing the fact that Tommy Soehn got it right last Saturday night, and we won because of it.

With a win, two ties and a loss since he took charge,  it looks like Soehn can start to brag that he is gradually turning the Whitecaps around.



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  1. Excellent write up. That goal was a thing of beauty to watch and I am now convinced that Chiueminto can live up to the hype. Like you I was had written of Brovsky, but pleasantly surprised by his performance. I hope he starts next to Koffie on Saturday. KC is going to be tough, but perhaps we can carry a little momentum down there.

    • Thx Cheekymonkey! I am looking forward to seeing the new park KC now call home….

  2. with kc tie tonight, they pass us. We have now the worst team in the mls. as a min we win 5 more games or soehn should be fired.

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