Whitecaps fail to show up for BC Place opener

October 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 3 Comments

In a year of milestones and new beginnings in 2011, the return to BC Place was one of the biggest yet for the Vancouver Whitecaps.  The supporters and the media were there, but why did the team fail to show up?  We have had a few rock bottom moments this year, perhaps the worst being the four-nil drubbing at the hands of DC united in Washington. We have seen some indifferent performances on the road but this was the worst home performance we have seen.

Great roof...awful team...

Rather than getting pumped up for what was symbolically one of our most important matches yet, it was clear many of our starters looked like they wished they were somewhere else.   Once again the small size of our players was exposed as the clearly bigger and more athletic Portland Timbers dominated the Whitecaps in the physical department.  Football is, after all, a physical contest first.  Our team of shrimps was physically second best to the big and intimidating Timbers.  Poor John Thorrington was thrown in the air at one point in the match like a rag doll by one of Portland’s behemoths.

If it was only size that differentiated the teams perhaps we could have made up the gap with skill, but it was not to be: the truth is Portland were technically better as well. Todays match made it official: we are the sad sack team of the league, and most of our starting eleven simply should not come back next year.  The fact is our rival newbies to Major League Soccer from the Pacific Northwest have done a much better job of putting a team on the pitch than the Whitecaps have.

Today the Whitecaps managed to turn an advantage into a liability as Camilo knocked a free kick straight into the wall in the 24th minute. Poor Alain Rochat tried to make a lateral pass from the rebound and gave it straight to the Timbers who, with a very efficient and lightening quick counter attack, created a goal from the turnover.  Rochat looked out of it all match, and perhaps he can’t be blamed since he is playing with a mask to protect a broken nose.  Kenny Cooper stood all alone to the right of Joe Cannon, chested the ball down and stuck a perfect volley over Joe Cannon’s head into the far corner.  His marker, Jeb Brovsky, was trying to make up a gap of thirty yards or so and could not get back on time.  It was a disaster, and the Whitecaps never recovered, losing the match 0-1.

There was unfortunately precious little fight back, as the Whitecaps struggled to move the ball in the Timbers defensive third of the pitch. Portland played a tight and well organized defence which frustrated the Whitecaps.  That piece of individual skill or  magic pass was lacking from the Whitecaps, who did not have the quality to break down Portland’s defence.

Khalfan: Should be playing, not signing autographs!

I and my other season ticket holders all agreed the team was better when coached by Teitur Thordarson, and we also felt the team would be better today had he remained. Teitur’s team was certainly more entertaining to watch.  The bizarre arrangement the team has made to start new coach Martin Rennie next year rather than immediately has taken the wind out of the sails of our team, and has effectively rendered current coach Tommy Soehn a lame duck. How he can be expected to motivate the players and make them play as a team I don’t know. With each player only thinking of whether he will have a job next year, teamwork is almost completely lacking.

The theme that is becoming clear is that 2011 has been a major fumble by the top of the Whitecaps organization.  Paul Barber, Bob Lenarduzzi and Tommy Soehn all have a lot to answer for in what has been a season of failure out of keeping with what the football world and ouy city expects from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

To be fair, all of the class in the front office will do nothing for you if the players don’t want to play for the team.  We knew that this years crop of players was going to struggle a bit in terms of quality, but when they are second best in terms of effort and passion, we supporters have the right to complain.  Once again, today the Vancouver Whitecaps were not good enough.  That it happened on such a monumental day for team on its return to BC Place was nothing short of a disgrace.



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  1. I disagree with a couple of points. While the team under TT usually had some fighting spirit they only managed a win ratio of 0.083. So fighting spirit or not the team simply could not perform under TT. TT also has the advantage of having a much, much easier schedule (which he squandered) – no LA, no RSL, no Seattle, no DC, no Colorado. Of the teams currently playoff bound we played 6 games against them under TT and we defeated none of them. Post-TT we have played 14 games against playoff bound teams and won 2 of them. Hardly a sterling record but magnitude better than under TT.

    The team under TT also didn’t have a legacy losing that has clearly broken them psychologically. Under TT we lost just under 50% of our 12 games. In the next 12 games we lost a further 50% of the games and then we hit the tipping point – the DC game. Since then we have lost 5 of the 7 games, often by lopsided scores (conceding 13 goals and scoring just 2 goals). This team is totally shot psychologically. It seems to me that they have lost the belief that they can win or come back from any kind of adversity.

  2. I doubt that this team could perform under anybody. Last night was disgraceful. I had a lot of respect for TT and we should have left him in the job. I don’t dislike TS, but although he talks a good fight he can’t deliver on the field. Some of his selections , particularly on substitutions, leave me baffled. However, the truth of the matter is that we just do not have the players at the moment, and changes are needed to both improve the team and to satisfy the supporters, who, while they have continued to give good support, have to be presented with a better team to encourage maintenance of their strong attendance in the future. More real value for the money and less hype (eg Jarju).


    • My concern is that I am starting to hear more people (and media people) saying we should make a clean sweep of things and start all over. In the post game show they were saying that Jay DeMerit would get a good price if we sold him! What are people thinking? I am sure there are lots of teams that would take Hassli, DeMerit, Rochat, Camillo, Chiumiento and Koffie off our hands. A few of our players (eg. Jarju, Harvey are too good examples) were good or excellent on other teams & in other leagues. So I think a few of our players would perform much better with a different system/coach. But I agree we desperately need at least another centre back, a right back, and an attacking midfielder to make this a winning team.

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