Vancouver Whitecaps defeat RSL second string

October 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | Leave a comment

The Vancouver Whitecaps enjoyed a whole season’s worth of good luck as they put the usually formidable Real Salt Lake to the sword 3-0. About half of RSL’s first team was elsewhere or injured to begin with. The situation was then made worse for RSL when their player Warner was sent off for a handball just before half time. Camilo, who looked dead set on scoring all night scored on the penalty kick to put the Whitecaps up 1-0 at halftime.

While the Whitecaps only needed one legit goal to win, it certainly helped matters along that the referee gave the Whitecaps their first two goals as gifts.  Both were calls for handballs, neither of which deserved penalty kicks.  The first hit the player’s shoulder, and was not, in my view a handball at all (and certainly not a sending off),  and the second hit a RSL player’s hand off of an entirely unintentional rebound.   It happened in the penalty area, but nowhere near the goal, and did not deprive the Whitecaps of a scoring opportunity.  I suppose it is about time we got some luck and some favourable calls from the refs in MLS!

The Whitecaps gave a few unfamiliar players a start including Carlyle Mitchell, our new guy from Trinidad and Tobago, who played very well at centre back.  Mitchell looked very good, being strong in the tackle and confident on the ball.  Alain Rochat can look forward to being able to play left back again because we have a very good center back in Mitchell,  who surely earned a starting spot next game.

Nizar Khalfan got his first start in a long time.  His performance made me wonder what Tom Soehn has been smoking all along as Khalfan was one of the stongest players on the pitch. Khalfan got a lot of the ball and made good use of it, too, scoring a goal and putting in a few dangerous crosses as well. Khalfan’s was the only really legitimate goal we got on the night, and well deserved it was, because the Whitecaps knocked the ball around well, using the big pitch at BC place to their advantage. While we were lucky to have the numerical advantage for the entire second half, the ‘Caps looked the better team in the first half as well.

Nice one Nizzy!!!

Noticably absent on the field was Mustapha Jarju, who has clearly been given time to sit and think about why he is playing so badly.  I would like to know how many designated players in MLS spend their games watching the team from the bench!  It seems like a shameful waste of money.

Omar Salgado came on for some minutes and headed the ball on for Khalfan’s goal. He looked keen to score himself.  He still needs to work on speed and explosive running to get a way from markers who are catching him all too easily. Long Tan earned his start but frustratingly he did not score.  He might have if Camilo had not been so selfish in a two on one break when Tan was wide open.

While it was fun to enjoy our biggest margin of victory in our first season in MLS, and to enjoy our first win at our new digs in BC Place, the fact is it was a bit of an exhibition match with so many of RSL’s starters away or injured.

We have had bad luck in missing some of the best players in MLS this season through injury, suspension and otherwise.  One of RSL’s players who really impressed was Argentinian Javier Morales who showed himself to be an excellent distributor of the ball with a nasty mean streak.  He left our man Mitchell for dead after tackling him hard in midfield.  Front office take note: we need a guy like that on our team! Why not give him a call and give him our one remaining designated player spot?

The Southsiders did a great job of keeping BC Place noisy.  It is becoming clear that BC Place itself is a bit sterile compared to the electric Empire Field.  BC Place seems to have attracted the sit-on-your-hands set who are more interested in creature comforts than a good football match.  All the more important for the club to keep supporting the Southsiders who are now doing the job they should have been doing  all along.

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