Whitecaps beat Colorado on Robson debut

July 5, 2012 at 11:57 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 4 Comments

Poor Barry Robson. When he was interviewed after the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 0-1 away win in Colorado, he looked like he had seen a ghost. Among his first comments were “it was hot…” Barry discovered a few home truths about Major League Soccer in his first match for the Caps. The first was that if you are not quick about moving the ball you will be absolutely demolished by a physically huge player on the opposing team. Robson gave up the ball a couple of times because he was not quick enough on it. The second is that the MLS is a summer league and a lot of games are played in temperatures far greater than in Great Britain. The suffering was etched on his pale ginger skin.

Robson’s lack of match fitness was apparent, but we should not worry because he was not that far off of the pace. He really looks like a proper footballer and I believe we are in for a real treat when he gets match fit.

Darren Mattocks continues to impress, scoring an opportunistic winner just before half time. A scorching cross from Jordan Harvey on the left side created the goal. Colorado’s defense failed to clear and fumbled the ball for the alert and speedy Mattocks to run on to. It may prove to be a critical goal in the dogfight for the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference. The win puts us in third place in the west, 2 points above Seattle, 9 points ahead of the surging LA Galaxy and 7 ahead of Colorado. Not bad at all.

Normal defensive service was resumed after the 0-3 breakdown in LA, and the Whitecaps again relied on heroic defending to see them through. The heat on the night meant the game was hampered by mental breakdowns on both sides, especially where passing was concerned. It was certainly no great display of footballing prowess. The Whitecaps offence produced only one shot on goal all match, and that was due to a clumsy defensive blunder on the part of a Colorado defender.

Some interesting Line up changes illustrated that the Whitecaps are definitely playing a system into which different players can be slotted. Alain Rochat played Jun Davidson’s role, and Mattocks played Le Toux’s role. Harvey filled in for Rochat at left back. Hassli played up front and looked generally unhappy with matters as usual. For me, the biggest shame this year is the inability of Rennie to get the best out of both Hassli and Camillo, both of whom have great football skills but look out of sorts in Rennie’s joyless defensive approach. It’s certainly no “beautiful game”, and there looks to be no room for that kind of player at the Whitecaps this year. Those of us who love the beautiful game, however, are surviving on some pretty thin gruel at this point!

Still, it’s nice to win, isn’t it? While they don’t play what you might call Champagne football, this year’s Whitecaps are a solid and resilient side that finds a way to win. I am looking forward to the second half of the season, which looks like it will be very interesting indeed. I believe it will be a dogfight for that fifth playoff spot, and that the Caps will be right in the thick of it.



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  1. “…while they don’t play what you might call Champagne football…” — love it. Yeah, it’s more like cheap cooking wine right now…or maybe something slightly better…Budweiser ball.

    Gotta give props to Jordan Harvey for his first-half performance (second half saw a serious decline in his play). He was pretty much the best WC on the pitch in the first 45 minutes. Normally, which probably means again next match, I can’t stand to watch this guy take up a roster spot when there are any number of substandard footballers out there who’d gladly take his spot.

    Highlight of the match: Robson hitting the no-spin screamer from 35 yards out, and it just barely going over the crossbar. Signs of good things to come. Mattocks’ goal came off a complete gaffe from Drew Moor, and amounted to a gift goal. In my opinion, neither team were full value for a victory, even though the Rapids had an edge overall in play.

    • That was a spectacular shot, for sure. Let’s hope he gets fit before he gets injured. Apparently he is nursing a tender Achilles

  2. After last year, where we played so many games where we could have won or hung on for a tie and then end up losing, I will take lots of ugly wins and a playoff spot. Especially if those ugly games are on the road!. MR said that he was going to work on Defence for the first third of the season (mission largely accomplished) the second third of the season to work on passing and movement (lots of work needed here but I have confidence in MR to get the job done right), and the last third of the season to work on scoring. Bring it on!!!!!

    • Winning sure makes a hellof a difference, doesn’t it? I like the fighting spirit in the team.

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