Le Toux saves Whitecaps in poor show against Edmonton

May 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2012 | Leave a comment

Martin Rennie chose to use the second leg of the Candian Championship semi-final against Edmonton to have a look at his bench players. Except for regular starters DeMerit, Hassli, and Camilo, the rest of the squad was made up of players who are normally on the bench or who spend a lot of time on it. Davide Chiumiento was given the start and made the most of his opportunity, providing assists for three goals.

No jerk chicken please, only goals…


Of the bench players who failed to make a major impression were Nanchoff, Klazura, Franks, and Mitchell. All of them looked very ordinary and frankly not above the class of the visitor’s squad.

Players who showed promise or were a revelation were Mattocks and Barbara. Mattocks put his culinary misadventures behind him, scoring a nice goal during injury time to make the score 3-1 for the Whitecaps. Barbara only came on for seven minutes or so, but those seven minutes were sensational. Barbara drew a penalty with his first touches of the ball, then claimed the ball to take the penalty, only to see his effort knocked on to the post by Edmonton ‘keeper Monsalve. He looked very good with the few touches he had, and Hassli had better keep sharp or Barbara might replace him. Lets hope Barbara stays fit because he could be a very useful player indeed. While he has not played at the highest levels, he is a natural goalscorer and got into some dangerous positions. His physique is impressive: he is built like a bulldog, but has explosive speed, which is key for a striker.

The Whitecaps were awful for 70 minutes. I had hoped the Whitecaps would put on a show of possession football by passing the ball along the ground, but the side that started the match were no better than the tier two Edmonton FC team. The Whitecaps struggled to put passes together and frequently lost possession to a hustling Edmonton squad. The Whitecaps played without shape, often leaving massive gaps in the central midfield.
When Edmonton scored a goal in the 54th minute, the better team was winning the match.

Chiumiento on fire: three assists on the night

All of this poor play prevailed until Sebastion Le Toux came on as a substitute after 70 minutes. Le Toux turned out to be the key to the game as he took only five minutes to find a way to score against Edmonton. He then scored another on a beautiful near post glancing header close to the end of normal time. Le Toux was a class above and it showed. Chiumiento finally found a player who was making intelligent runs and it paid off.

A common thread through all of the Whitecaps goals was the play of Davide Chiumiento, who played provider on all three. While our usual flair player Camilo was cold on the night, (he failed to hit the net on four consecutive free kicks) Chiumiento was red hot, and surely put pressure on Martin Rennie to make him a starter in Major League Soccer matches. Davide looks fitter than ever, and he has vastly improved his defensive play, winning a lot of tackles throughout the match.

“this time I promise to hit the net…”

The last 20 minutes of the match made us forget just how awful the first 70 were, and we all went home happy. With only lowly Toronto FC to beat, the Whitecaps are poised to embark upon their first international tournament since the old NASL days.

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