Dismal in DC: the Whitecaps lose ugly

August 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 12 Comments

After the emotional high of last week with a big win and a new coach announced, the Whitecaps came out as flat as a pancake against D.C. United in Washington.  Coach Soehn chose another losing combination, and we can only thank our lucky stars he is on his way back up to head office as of next year.  Today’s problem was our starting midfield, as Soehn put Thorrington, Koffie and Vagenas starting in midfield with Salinas outside left.  None of these ever looked like getting the ball to strikers Camilo and Hassli in a useful manner, and our only hope to score in this match was for Camilo to go on a dribble and get fouled for a free kick or a penalty.  Oddly enough it nearly worked as Camilo was fouled 25 yards out and hit the crossbar with a free kick just before half time.  An amazing scramble in front of goal for the rebound did not result in a goal for the Caps.

It strikes me as odd we have Koffie and Vagenas, both defensive midfielders, playing at the same time.  Soehn should pick one or the other and let Chiumiento start the match.  Vagenas usually passes back to our defense and rarely starts an offensive move,  and Koffie likewise is seldom an offensive threat. In my view Vagenas should be benched and we should let Koffie do his excellent holding midfielder work.

Thorrington was similarly useless in any creative offensive play on the right side of midfield.   It was not until Chiumiemto came on in the second half that we had any kind of ball movement that was a threat.  Due to his play we nearly scored to make it 2-1 but Hassli was too stretched to get a good shot off.

All fans of the Whitecaps who have known and admired keeper Jay Nolly for the last 4 years groaned as he gave up two awful goals, and he will surely step aside for Joe Cannon next match.  In football it is difficult to score and it makes it nearly impossible to win if your keeper gives goals away he should really stop.  Nolly let one go in through his legs at an impossible angle from Najar for DC’s second goal and then let a soft bouncing shot from King to his left elude him for their fourth.  Both goals were crushing to the Whitecap’s spirit.  I am afraid it is back to the drawing board for Jay.

Once again Coach Soehn made reckless substitutions too early to try to get the Whitecaps back in the game; as usual, the substitutions were the wrong ones which only served to turn a losing match into an embarassment for the club and its supporters.  In the first place, a centre back who can’t play the whole game should not be played at all.  We should wait until DeMerit can play a full match before he comes back.  Exchanging Chiumiento, a player who does not defend at all, for the most crucial defensive position is laughable.  Chiumiento should have come in for Vagenas.  Once again, a reckless substitution led to a quick goal for the other team as the Whitecaps were exposed at the back.  How many times does this have to happen before Tommy gets the message? This put the game at 3-0.

If we had kept Demerit in the match (or another center back who can play the whole match) we might have stood a chance by being able to sub off defensive midfielders for attacking ones.  I have no idea what exchanging Thorrington for Brovsky was supposed to accomplish. Exchanging one potato for another to try to make the recipe more tasty simply does not work.

The other thing our team lacked was size and speed.  I am getting tired of watching our team of shrimps get out muscled by bigger and faster athletes.  Pontius, De Rosario and Najar made use of their size and speed to make a mockery of our team.  I am not sure if Nizar Khalfan is injured, but he was not even on the bench and we could have used his strength and speed.  Frankly, they should have let the jet-lagged Jarju come straight home to rest and put Khalfan in the line-up.  At least then we would have some speed at our disposal.

This was, without a doubt, the most disappointing performance of the year.  The Whitecaps have let ten goals in over the last three matches which, in football, means the team is a laughing stock.

Coach Soehn and the leaders in the team must surely look at themselves in the mirror and say “this is not good enough”.  We supporters deserve better from the club and its players.

The play we saw on Saturday was not fitting for the tradition of the Vancouver Whitecaps, which is a proud and winning tradition. Our tradition is not to role over and die.

Time to do better.



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  1. I agree with most of what you are saying but I can not understand the strong anti-Soehn stance you take. Yes, many of his subs are mystifying to me, and all of his subs in this game don’t make any sense to me. His choices as to who should be on the bench often seem to go out of the way to snub the D2 players from last year but he is not the reason we lost this game. The players on the field lost this game before Soehn made any changes. And I hate to say it but the man you must pin the blame squarely on (not just say he had a part in it) is Jay Nolly. He was not at fault not just on goals 1 & 2 but also the 3rd was savable. Soehn gambled that pulling more attacking player on (and removing a player coming back into fitness) would bolster our attack; i.e., playing to our strengths. This is not an unreasonable move. On the other hand, I think that if he had played the back line in positions they where accustom to instead of scrambling them we would probably have only lost 3-0. Bottom line = Soehn 10% to blame, Jay 75% to blame, the rest of the team 15% to blame.

    • JES: Thanks for your comments, certainly worth thinking about…

      • I actually meant to say that the 4th was savable. The 3rd would have required an exceptional save to stop it and we clearly do not have an exceptional keeper on the roster.

  2. Not having seen the game visually, i can’t accurately comment on this game but it seems more of the same from Tommy Soehn in terms of incomprehensible and amateur team selection and substitutions. I completely agree with you about the simple ineffectiveness of replacing Demerit (who shouldn’t play until he’s fit for 90 minutes) with Chiumiento (who not only should start in place of Vagenas, but is not a sensible sub for a centre back)
    Koffie has been excellent and coinsistent and should definitely start ahead of Vagenas when available. They don’t need two (or three holding midfielders on the field at once)
    Loved your comment about subbing Brovsky for Thorrington (again, if these injured players aren’t ready for 90 minutes, don’t start them!) and calling them potatoes! ha ha.
    Sometimes I think Soehn makes substitutions to be seen to be doing something, but he’s not accomplishing anything with his strategies.

    • I most certainly agree with your last comment!

      • Do keep in mind that players coming back from injury will never gain match fitness (at least not a full 90 worth) by training alone or reserve games (there just aren’t enough of them & they are spaced too far apart). They have to, at some point, play real matches to gain 100% fitness.

  3. JES do your initials stand for JEan Sagstetter Soehn? At times you seem to defend Tommy like his wife’s postings on Facebook (before the caps pulled them ) did stating Vancouver lacked real soccer fans. He is a crap coach and by the look of most (not all) of the team he is crap at selecting players. He has ruined the tradition that we had here but then again from his wife’s comments about our lack of knowledge he is clueless about our history as well.

    • Umm, no. Just to be very clear – I am not a Soehn fan. But I notice that there are some people on these forums – you being the most prominent – that are anti-Soehn to a degree that borders on fanaticism. I was reading anti-Soehn diatribes as soon as TT was fired & before Soehn had even coached a game. Some people posted a number of lies about Soehn (e.g., that he fired TT – he could not as he was not the boss of the coach, that would be Barber & Lenarduzzi). But I prefer truth to lies & reality to the anti-Soehn fantasy. Soehn has done very little with the team though he has a better record than TT and I don’t like his team selections at all (picking Duckett or Brovsky over Knight or Janiki). So I try to put the blame where it is appropriate, not just a spew out an anti-Soehn diatribe for every single game and every single problem we have.

      • Hi Jes I can assure my distaste for soehn started around game ten. Up until then my view was that in any business tietur is not delivering and should be fired “soon”. I now realize (as do many others ) that tietur was not the root problem and in fact the root of the problem was player selection (for the most part), player fitness/conditioning and ultimately horrendous coaching…all three fall under the management of soccer operations…soehn. The word fan is derived from the word fanatic and indeed until the whitecaps a rid of soehn or they bury him so deep in the organization under the typical “we don’t know what to do with him so we will call him the director of business development ” role this seasons outcome is his responsibility and unlike barber I have yet to hear him take any responsibility.

  4. if we knew demerit coulnt’t go a full 90 why was duckett the only defender on the bench? did tommy go into this game thinking “wow we are definatly going to have to take of a defender for a midfielder in this game so there is no point in dressing greg janiki”?

    • Now this is a legit criticism of Soehn’s team selection. He knew DeMeritt wouldn’t last the game (in a post-match interview DeMeritt said that they planned to sub him in the 70th minute). The only CD that Soehn brought with him was Duckett! I can see replacing DeMeritt with Chiumiento if he wants to focus on getting some goals (which we needed at the time), that is simple taking a gamble by playing to our strengths. I wish we still had Akloul he would have help immensely.

    • I like your style, freely, I like your style…


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