Mattocks makes amends in Portland

May 27, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 3 Comments

The Vancouver Whitecaps drew 1-1 last night against the Portland Timbers.  The Whitecaps defensive unit did their job again (with one shocking exception in the case of Joe Cannon).  The Whitecaps did not play especially well in midfield or going forward with the ball, and for much of the game they looked like the listless side we saw playing in Toronto on Wednesday. 

The substitutes were our saviours as Hassli, who came on in the 72nd minute and Mattocks, who came on in the 83rd minute, conspired to rob the home team of a win.  Darren Mattocks, whom the Whitecaps picked up as a draft pick second overall, came with a reputation mostly proclaimed by himself.  He has strongly suggested before the season began that it should have been him that was picked up first in the draft, and not only that, he stated his intention to prove that point. 

He then burned himself in a mysterious cooking accident early in the season, spending a number of days in the hospital with serious burns, and taking a good number of weeks to recover.  Things looked up as he scored a goal against Edmonton as a late substitute recently.  

Last Saturday he got his first MLS start against Seattle and ended up eating his words about how good he was when he managed to miss four opportunities in front of goal that anyone calling themselves a striker should have put away.  He was absolute rubbish. When the game was over I thought it would be very difficult to recover from eating so much humble pie.  I was wrong.

Mattocks did what he did well last saturday by getting open, but this time he finished his one opportunity with skill and class.  With his goal in the 84th minute he proved to us all that he can do it after all. This is good for the club, because it shows we can get goals from a high number of players in the squad.   Mattocks is one more useful tool in Martin Rennie’s chest. 

Mattocks made a superbly timed run across Portland’s 18 yard box and ran on to a deftly deflected header by the giant Eric Hassli; he took possession of the ball and ran past his defender and hit the high bouncing ball in to the roof of the net.  It was a more difficult finish than any of his four chances last week, and it would have been easy to sky the ball over the bar.  It was Mattocks first goal in MLS play and proved that he is capable of playing at this level. 

The team doctor should be taking Joe Cannon’s temperature.  In the two preceding games against Seattle and Toronto, he has simply watched goals go by him without trying to stop them; he was making a fool of himself trying to play out in the pitch late in the game against Toronto; and last night on Portland’s goal he looked like a sunday league player who was standing in for the regular goalkeeper for one match.  It was exceptionally poor goalkeeping that put us down a goal in the 67th minute, and any goalkeeper with proper technique would have dealt with that play by staying upright and catching the ball.  Cannon decided to palm the ball away with one hand instead of catching it.  Cannon needs to give his head a shake and concentrate on his role: stopping balls from going into the net.  I think it is time for him to have a rest and let Knighton have a go.  I have more confidence he will at least try to stop ball from going in rather than standing around watching them fly past him.  Cannon started the season well, but is lapsing back into his devil-may-care 2011 form.  We need more solid technique and less flashy saves. 

Our middling performance last night can be attributed in part to fatigue.  The Whitecaps have had too many games in too short a time.  A footballer needs a week to recover from a match and many of the squad have played two games a week.  Then there is the exhausting travel time.  We had the chance to close up on Seattle yesterday but ended up falling behind Colorado.  We now sit fifth in the West. 

All excuses aside, our team needs an injection of steel and character, which is what we were lacking on Wednesday in Toronto, and in Portland last night.  What we need is Barry Robson.  My feeling is that until he arrives we will be stuck in a kind of mid-table mediocrity.

In any event the Whitecaps will have a much needed rest until we play Houston.  With rest and rehab, I feel we are set to win that match.     

 

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3 Comments »

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  1. Can Rennie please start a game without LeToux and see what happens. I don’t know if he needs a break or a what but he is just not in this season like we was during the last 2. He seems to be stuck in second gear and its time for a reshuffle at the front. Camilo – Hassli – Salgado front three.

  2. I think Joe cannon is doing well. I watched the replay on the goal a few times and the reality is the cross was deceving and perfect (whitecaps need more of that) it curves and cannon moves forward but it seems to pick up speed…this forced an acrobatic adjustment..yes he misread it but so did Demerit….sometimes someone just makes a great cross. If there is fault is was allowing too much space for the cross. As for the montero goal..yes joe was perhaps mistaken in thinking 4 whitecaps surrounding him could prevent a shot ….but that would align him with about 20,000 fans as well. With that said I agree cannon and letoux need a rest.

    • id add lee to that group of players needing a rest.


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