California nightmare: Vancouver Whitecaps bomb in LA (again)September 3, 2012 at 11:14 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 4 Comments
The Whitecaps midseason slump continued in Los Angeles last night with the fourth loss in a row and their fifth in six games.
The Whitecaps effort in this match was more of a damage control exercise than anything. Suspensions, injuries and fatigue meant the Whitecaps had a patchwork team on the pitch. For some reason, the Whitecaps seem all too content to go to LA and lose. Even with Landon Donovan absent from the Galaxy line up, the difference in quality between what we had available on the pitch and what LA had was clearly apparent.
I hope the Whitecaps owners had a look at this match because, like the match in Seattle, our team was of a clearly inferior quality than the opposition.
Martin Rennie had to make some changes for the match through necessity, due to Mattock’s suspension, YP Lee’s fatigue, and injuries affecting Gershon Koffie and Andy O’Brien. Russell Teibert, Matt Watson, John Thorrington and Martin Bonjour took their places. One odd change was that Alain Rochat sat on the bench while a clearly inferior footballer, Jordan Harvey, played in his place. Brad Knighton got the shout in goal place of Joe Cannon, who was paid for his error last weekend with a spot on the bench.
With so many changes to the line-up, it is no wonder the Whitecaps played like a group of strangers. The Whitecaps were not able to muster a single shot on goal, and it was painful to watch their approach play against LA’s well organized defence. While the statistics showed the Whitecaps had a lot of possession in the first half, they did not have the wherewithal to do anything with the ball in LA’s final third.
In the second half, the ‘Caps were not able to keep possession of the ball, and when they gave up possession, it took an age for them to get it back. They looked like one of those little teams in Spain playing against Barcelona.
Of course, the difference between Barcelona and the little teams in Spain is the amount of money they have. It has to be said that LA pays out for stars like Beckham, Keane and Donovan, while we have invested in Barry Robson and Kenny Miller, our two premier players who did not create one stitch of attacking play between them. Not only this, but the rank and file players in LA’s squad outperformed ours as well.
It has been sad to see the Whitecaps fall from a team that was competitive in every match earlier in the 2012 season to one that has slipped back into expansion franchise mode. In the past six games the ‘Caps have had 11 goals scored against and have scored only 4. Our goals against over the season is now at minus 8.
This is a major test of the managerial skills of Martin Rennie, and it has to be said that the pressure is now squarely on him. The turnover of key players in the squad has taken the team South rather than North as was hoped. Has he just made the wrong calls and brought in inferior players? It sure looks that way. Barry Robson’s legacy with the squad has been 3 wins, 2 ties, and 7 losses. Kenny Miller’s record is even worse. Our record before these guys showed up was a hell of a lot better; a playoff spot looked a virtual certainty. Now our season is in serious jeopardy.
It makes me yearn for the good old days of the departed Eric Hassli, Seb Le Toux and Davide Chiumiento, back when we used to win games.
The only good news from the weekend was that Dallas was held to a 1-1 tie by the Seattle Sounders. We still have a four point cushion over Dallas. Martin Rennie now has a break to change his squad’s attitude and to heal injuries. Our road form has been abysmal over the season, but we must give Dallas a match in their park on September 15 before our long home stand.
While we have been though an abysmal period, I feel the Whitecaps have a good chance to make a new start of things against Dallas on September 15 with suspensions having been served, injuries healing and tired players resting. We will be able to put our strongest squad on the pitch against Dallas.
We cannot afford to lose that match: if we do, a surging FC Dallas team, which is now playing much better football than us, will be only one point adrift for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.