Whitecaps hit rock bottom In T.O.June 30, 2011 at 8:44 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 4 Comments
I’m not sure who to feel the most sorry for after that terrible match. I felt sorry for myself, for the Whitecaps, and for Canadian football generally. The poor state of football in Canada was on display in the Whitecaps 1-0 loss to Toronto FC. It appears to be bad news all around as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal all have very poor teams this year. The only city that is happy with their football is Edmonton, who currently sit a very impressive second in the NASL in their inaugural season.
The priorities of the Vancouver Whitecaps for this season were exposed as our top players were rested so that they might be ready for the Canadian Championship second leg which will determine which Canadian team will progress to the next qualifying round of the CONCACAF Champions League. If we win on Saturday we will have one more team to beat to qualify for the group stage. If we were to qualify for the group stage of that competition, it would mean we have achieved something important this season.
The Whitecaps back line was composed of second stringers, as Leathers, Rochat and DeMerit were rested. Only Boxall was present as a starter from the Whitecaps most recent matches. Dunfield was rested while Vagenas started; the out-of-favour Koffie played in midfield as Chiumineto is injured. Bench warmers Salgado and Teibert started up front.
This sorry match was decided by the softest penalty award I can recall. Janicki and Soolsma were fighting for the ball and Soolsma lost his balance and was clearly losing the ball when he got a love tap from Janicki that would not be called in any serious football league. The poor quality of officiating in the MLS was again laid bare for all to see. Soolsma buried penalty.
The Whitecaps brought Hassli and Camilo on in the second half to try to save matters but with no crosses coming in from the flanks and no passes coming through the midfield all three of our forwards withered and died on the vine. Salgado created one chance with his feet but shot wide. It was encouraging to see he can play with his feet, and the lad is visibly bulking up a bit. We have to remember he is still a youngster. While the statistics for possession showed the Whitecaps had the lion’s share, virtually nothing of any use was done in the attacking half of the pitch. Coach Soehn’s emphasis on possession has been achieved, but to what end? Frankly I would prefer us to gamble a bit and attack in greater numbers a la Teitur Thordarson.
What was most distressing about watching this match was the lack of techinical skill and creativity on the pitch for both teams. I could not believe the number of balls that went astray; the passing was abysmal on both teams. Toronto’s little Plata was the only player who looked at all special on the night.
The Whitecaps squad looked down. Perhaps it is too many matches in too close proximity, or the draining effect of the long distances travelled away from home, or the fact that the popular Mouloud Ackloul was released from the squad. The players must know that several of them are on the bubble as the team will look to improve in the transfer window. The players looked shaken, and played poorly.
Toronto’s fans will get a boost from a victory, but they will also gain confidence from the fact their team has signed Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, two solid European professionals, as designated players.
After losing to our Canadian rivals and seeing Toronto’s prominent new signings, the Whitecaps front office must by now surely know the pressure is on to sign some much needed quality players to try to save a season which has truly hit rock bottom.