Whitecaps fail to show up for BC Place openerOctober 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.
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.
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.