Whitecaps end first MLS season with Colorado loss

October 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 4 Comments

If the Whitecaps first season in Major League Soccer started with a bang with a 4-2 win against Toronto back on March 19, it ended with a whimper today against the reigning MLS champions Colorado.  The Rapids beat us 1-2 , which had the effect of putting the Whitecaps at the bottom of the MLS table, even on points with the New England Revolution.

It was fan appreciation day, but the Whitecaps played like a team of strangers, abandoning the nice passing game they demonstrated recently in home matches against Real Salt Lake and DC United, for a choppy, disjointed game with little rhyme or reason to it at all.  The first half  had a couple of bright sparks, notably chances by Long Tan, Jordan Harvey and Nizar Khalfan, but these were rare moments in a half which was one of the poorest we have seen all season.  I felt as if the team had dropped down a division and I was watching at Swangard Stadium again.

It was a match which contained two comical goalkeeping errors, which accounted for one marker for each team.  First to make a fool of himself was Colorado’s keeper Pickens, who thought Alain Rochat’s curling free kick early in the second half was going wide and was mistaken.  Pickens lifted his hands over his head hoping to see the ball go by the post, but it went into the net instead.  It was a shocking display of poor goalkeeping at this level.

Not to be outdone, Joe Cannon had a clanger of his own ten minutes later when he let a low blast from a free kick from 19 yards out go through his legs into the net.  All that was needed was a foot save but Cannon tried to scoop up the ball with both hand but was too slow.  It was the worst goalkeeping error we have seen all season from the Whitecaps, and Joe must be kicking himself after playing so consistently well since being given the starting job over Jay Nolly since the away match against Portland on August 20.

Colorado’s Thompson  scored a third goal from a long shot which deflected off of Jay DeMerit’s foot as he attempted to block. I am not sure if it is bad luck, but Jay seems to have played a part in far too many goals this year.   Had Jay let the shot go, Cannon would have stopped it. Sometimes it is just better to let the keeper take responsibility rather than risking a deflection with a desperate lunge.  Jay’s all out approach to defending is admirable, but he should take a leaf from Rochat’s book and use his brains a bit more.

Out of favour stars Hassli and Chiumiento, who were certain starters for the Whtiecaps at the beginning of the season,  sat on the bench for most of the match. Jarju did not play at all. Long Tan and Nizar Khalfan were preferred.  I was puzzled that Hassli did not start, and that he did not get more minutes. Our most expensive players missed the better part of the last  few games.

Chiumiento has missed most of the last six games.  I doubt if all three of these players will be back, and the writing is on the wall for Chiumiento, whose offensive talents are massive, but who can’t or won’t defend.  Chiumiento gave his all tonight when he came on as a sub, trying to demonstrate he can work hard and defend, but it all looked a bit desperate.  I don’t think Martin Rennie will like him, and I would pick him as the player to leave in the off season.

All in all, the fact that three of what are supposed to be our best players started on the bench demonstrates what a sad sack year it has been. Ideally, an MLS team’s designated players should be certain to start, and the more expensive players who are not designated players should also be starting if they are fit.  Instead, budget players Brovsky, Khalfan and Tan, who make very little money at all, are being preferred.  All of this means there is a major reshuffling of the deck coming, with either money being redistributed or players simply being bought out of contracts or not being renewed.

After today’s and this season’s bad showing the team needs some shock therapy.  I hope Martin Rennie makes some bold moves after the training camp he will conduct in the next few weeks.  Another year like this would be unbearable.

It was interesting to note that the Whitecaps held their own against games played by both the BC Lions, who were playing in Hamilton and on TV,  and the Vancouver Canucks, who played Minnesota earlier in the day.  I was struck at how many Vancouver sports fans made their was straight from Rogers Arena to BC Place once the Canucks were finished.

It is a bold new era for Vancouver sports fans.  Now if only we could get a decent team on the pitch…

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4 Comments »

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  1. I think you’re remiss in not pointing out that on Joe Cannon’s goal, the wall that had been set up to protect the net completely disintegrated in front of him. This meant the amount of time that he had to block the ball was significantly reduced and directly led to him not getting his entire body behind. I think if were being truthful we have to say that the worst goals that we have let him all year were goals that have come through Jay Nolly. I am particularly thinking about the D. C. United game, where Jay let in two absolute howlers of goals. There was another game earlier in the year Jay was involved in where he also led in several particularly easy goals.

    • The keeper’s job is to set up the wall to cover one half of the goal, while the keeper covers the other half. The wall fell apart, but the shot did not go through the wall but beside it straight at Cannon, who should have protected his side of the goal and stopped it. There are no excuses for that one, it was purely his fault. No doubt Nolly had a few bad ones in DC, but avoiding those bad goals was supposed to be Cannon’s job when he took over.

      • Well, as I have said a number of times, not once this season did one of our keepers “win” or “steal” a game for us this season. Neither one of them seemed like we could depend on them make a brilliant save at crucial time. Cannon made a number, but not consistently, Nolly made a couple but when he collapsed he took the whole team down with him.

  2. If you are talking about trading away Hassili, Chiumiento, and Jarju there are several issues that you have to take into account. Both you let them go you have to ask yourself if the coaches that we’ve had this season have got absolutely the best out of all 3 of these players. I think that neither coach got anywhere close to consistently results out of these players. Particularly in the case of Jarju, who was played out of position in almost every game, and only played in a handful of games, the jury is still out. We also know that Chiumiento is one of the best midfielders in MLS when he feels like it. Martin Rennie has a reputation for getting the best out of his players. I think we will see much better results from all 3 players next year.

    Then you also have to think about who is going to replace them If we get rid of them. personally I don’t see anybody out there who could replace Chiumiento (on his day) or Hassili. There are only 14 players in this league who scored more goals than Hassili this year and I don’t see any of their teams giving up any of those players. So that means we would have to get somebody from overseas to replace him and we would have to go through the same problems of acclimatizing a European player to a North American league with all the travel that entails. Unless there’s somebody out there who is miles ahead of these players I don’t see much point in guessing the team of their best players and sending us down the path of Toronto.


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