DeMerit header saves miserable matchMarch 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 4 Comments
Jay DeMerit put another feather in the cap of his remarkable career last night, scoring the only goal for the Vancouver Whitecaps in their first road win in Major League Soccer. The victims were Chivas USA who share the Home Depot Centre with the LA Galaxy. It was a just reward for DeMerit, who serves as the Whitecaps captain.
Jay struggled through injury and bad form last season while leading the team in its first MLS season. He has an abundance of character and, now that he is fit, could prove to be one of the most valuable players this year. It has to be said that Jay looks much more comfortable this season, playing with three other solid defenders and having the confidence which comes from some exceptional goalkeeping. With this match his confidence and stature within the club will grow.
DeMerit’s goal was a high in what was a very poor match in LA. Bad weather and rain kept what small fan base Chivas has away from the Home Depot Centre, and the football that was played was a poor advertisement for MLS (The boring scene could not have been in more stark contrast with the nearly 60,000 wild fans who showed up today in Montreal for their first home game). The stands were virtually empty, and consequently there was no atmosphere. In my view this franchise does not have much of a future; people in LA don’t seem to care about it at all.
The Whitecaps looked absolutely awful going forward with the ball, and not one of our attacking players could look in the mirror and say he had a good game. Even the crafty Camilo, who had a few good moments, seemed to have lost all guile and skill. To be fair, the pitch was wet and heavy, and the players from both teams seemed to struggle to stay on their feet. It makes me wonder if training and playing on fieldturf has distorted our players touch on grass. Hassli, Chiumiento, Le Toux and Camilo all seemed to be playing in different games and unable to connect with one another. Hassli looked alone and aloof up at the top of our formation, Le Toux seemed to have lost all ability to cross the ball into good spots, and Chiumiento was virtually anonymous.
Gershon Koffie was set to start but had to withdraw prior to the match because of injury, and perhaps this unsettled the side. Matt Watson did all right in his place, but Koffie’s ability to win the ball and keep it at his feet was lacking in midfield.
While our attack was listless and lacking in imagination, our defence was solid, and our goalkeeping was exceptional. Joe Cannon made a world class save off of Chivas’ Townsend that would be admired in any league in the world in the 31st minute. Cannon went off injured near half time from the effects of an early clash however, and Brad Knighton replaced him.
Knighton made some key saves, proving himself to be very brave in throwing himself at the feet of onrushing Chivas strikers to get the ball. I had my fears when he came in but, to his credit, he calmed my nerves and those of the squad by making some early saves look easy. It has to be said he was key to the win through his play.
It is a pretty poor match when two of your goalkeepers are the best players on the pitch, however!
While it was the first win of the Whitecaps MLS era, it was a match to be forgotten for all other reasons. While it is always nice to win, the football was terrible to watch, mostly because our flair players showed precious little to entertain us. I shouldn’t complain because we are sitting pretty with two wins in the first two matches, but other opposition will prove a much sterner test than Chivas, who were poor and missing some starters to boot.
The Whitecaps will have to do much better against DC United next Saturday to keep the streak going.