Disaster on Hastings Street gifts Columbus winJuly 8, 2011 at 8:11 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 2 Comments
On Wednesday night as the Whitecaps substitutes came out before the match a good majority of fans on the West side stood up to greet them with standing ovations, in spite of the fact the Whitecaps had lost three straight matches. Such is the depth of the fan support the Whitecaps have been given this year.
Sadly, the patience and enthusiasm of Whitecaps supporters again went unrewarded as the Whitecaps chucked one away in what was the most disappointing home match of the Season. It was our first home loss since FC Dallas came to town back in April. While we lost with honour against FC Dallas, against Columbus the Whitecaps snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
In the 72nd minute The Caps were awarded a mysterious penalty kick after dominating most of the match. Terry Dunfield immediately picked the ball up and confidently strode to the spot with the ball. He resisted a plea from Camillo who wanted to take the penalty and looked determined to score. Unfortunately Dunfield did not take the penalty with the conviction he had when he picked up the ball to claim the right to take it. He struck the ball with no confidence or speed and it was easily saved by Columbus keeper Hesmer.
The absence of Hassli really hurt us, because no doubt he would have taken the penalty and would have dispatched it. Surely the first choice on the night for free kicks or penalties was Camilo, who certainly has earned the right to take one, given he has drawn a number of them this year which Hassli has claimed. Though Coach Soehn praised Dunfield for having the courage to take the kick, Terry’s confidence has not been right for some time now, and perhaps Soehn could be criticized for not making it clear that Camillo should take any penalties on the night. To be fair, it is usually the players on the pitch at the time who make this choice, but it clearly was the wrong one, and I wish Camilo had put up more of a fight. Had he done so I believe I would be writing about a win rather than a loss.
Camilo himself threw away a chance before the penalty kick, firing straight at the keeper when he was through all alone on goal. All he needed to do was shoot the ball low next to the keeper and we would have been on our way to a win. It was not only Dunfield’s miss that let us down on the night.
The match turned completely on its head when Salinas was sent off just minutes later. Shea Salinas has to be one of the fairest blokes you will ever see play a game of football, but he went into a tackle with his studs up at full speed and force and caught the Columbus player with a vengence. The red card justifiably came out: advantage Columbus. Poor Shea was nearly the hero earlier when he hit the post at the death of the first half.
A Columbus team that had come to play for a 0-0 draw now sensed a win was possible. After enjoying an inspiring penalty save and now going a man up, Columbus suddenly sensed they could win the match. It just demonstrated how the Whitecap’s poor decisions and inability to execute key plays is letting them down.
The fact the tide had turned dramatically visibly shook the Whitecaps and they gave up a number of chances through defensive lapses. Columbus won the match with that old goal poacher Jeff Cunningham coming off the bench to score the winner in the last minute of regular time. There was a collective groan of disgust as we fans all exchanged knowing glances and shook our heads in bitter disbelief. People immediately got out of their seats and started to leave. For the first time this season, many fans booed the Whitecaps as they waved to the crowd when the match was over. It was a disaster on Hastings Street.
The Whitecaps made a timely addition today in acquiring left back Jordan Harvey from the Philadelphia Union. Look for Alain Rochat to move to centre back with DeMerit in an attempt to get someone playing intelligent balls out of the middle of the back line to get attacks started. Let’s hope Mr. Harvey injects some life into a squad which is beginning to look as dead as a doornail.
It seems that the front office has got the message after a futile coaching change: the squad badly needs strengthening.