Woeful Whitecaps lose fifth in a row in Dallas

September 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 3 Comments

Good God! When will this misery cease? The Whitecaps 2012 season continued to crumble last night in Dallas.

In this match the Whitecaps had the opportunity to virtually sew up a playoff spot, but the exact opposite occurred: Dallas beat us 1-0 with a last gasp goal from Canadian Julian De Guzman. Dallas now stands behind us by only one point.

Going into the match, there were all kinds of positives: we have one match in hand over Dallas in any event, and if we won or tied it would virtually assure us of a playoff spot. Coach Martin Rennie did his best to accentuate the positive with encouraging words.

Rennie’s positive words are ringing hollow now as the Whitecaps have lost their fifth match in a row, their sixth loss in the last seven matches. Make no mistake about it, the Vancouver Whitecaps are a team in the midst of a crisis. The team is now developing that hopeless feeling about it that it had during the worst of the Tom Soehn era. The team is lacking in direction and leadership. The players are all playing as individuals with little or no confidence.

The best that can be said of the Whitecaps is they put in a good solid defensive performance for much of the match. Brad Knighton heroically stopped a penalty in goal but watched helplessly as talented Dallas Midfielder David Ferreira hit the upright with a point blank shot. The Whitecaps managed to survive with a 0-0 scoreline at the half.

What made the Whitecaps so poor throughout the match was the inability of the team to hold on to posession of the ball. The team turned the ball over seemingly countless times, not having the passing skill to cope with Dallas’ pressing tactics.

Later on in the match a number of substitutions turned the team into an embarrassingly disorganized schoolboy team which did not have the experience to cope with the massive pressure applied by Dallas late in the match. The lack of technical footballing ability in the Whitecaps squad was laid bare again in this match, which has resulted in amateurish approach play and only 1 goal in the last 5 matches.

John Thorrington again demonstrated his almost uncanny inability to score or create goals last night by missing a point blank opportunity in front of goal in the 83rd minute which would have killed the match. A cool professional footballer’s finish was what was required, but Thorrington snatched at the opportunity and fired it straight into Dallas’ portly keeper John Hartman, who was effectively out of the play, with vast spaces of the net yawning open to shoot at in front of him. Thorrington’s effort was representative of the sad lack of technical skill which has come to typify the Whitecap’s squad. It is the lack of the ability to execute key plays that is killing the Whitecaps at this time.

It has to be said that the widespread panic in the team in the latter portion of the match has to be laid at Rennie’s feet: this was going to be a tactical match, and our tactics needed to be in place for the whole match. The team needed to keep its structure and discipline; all of this went out the window at the end of the match as the Whitecap’s lost all shape and discipline. Robson was tired, yes, but his substitution in the 86th minute took all of his leadership and organizing skill off of the pitch as well.

Introducing inexperienced players like Russell Teibert and Matt Watson at the tail end of the match was a huge error by Coach Rennie. For the last 10 minutes of the match the Whitecaps looked like a desperately unorganized schoolboy team that did not know how to play football.

Dallas was ripe for the picking on the counter attack in the last 30 minutes, throwing men forward almost in a reckless fashion, but the Whitecaps were unable to effectively counterattack. Dallas were able to throw men forward with impunity, and De Guzman’s stunning volley, with the technical skill it demonstrated, was the difference between the two sides.

Thorrington’s miss and De Guzman’s goal stood in stark contrast. The Whitecap’s management and owners need to wake up and realize the team needs to get better players if it is to progress.

It is hard to say where the team goes from here. Next weekend may present an opportunity for the Whitecaps to break the terrible skid they are on at home against a team which is actually poorer than the Whitecaps currently are: the Colorado Rapids. In fact, three of the next five games are against teams (Colorado, Chivas, and Portland) we are capable of beating, even with the very poor football we are now playing. We had better maximize the points from these matches. Real Salt Lake (away) and Seattle (home), two teams who are firmly in the playoffs, may well field second stringers to rest first-teamers for the playoff runs they are both assured of. This means we may well steal points from these matches.

In spite of the absolutely awful football the Whitecaps have been playing recently, they are still favourites to qualify for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Just be grateful we had a good first half of the season.



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  1. There is only one word that describes any team that goes from almost a guaranteed playoff spot to barely hanging on and on a path to missing it….

  2. It’s plain to see that Rennie’s — if not in panic mode — scrambling to solve a problem that he and the club have created for themselves. Witness:

    The move to 4-4-2 for what I believe is only the second time this season.
    Positional shuffle, with AR moving off the back line (at least that did work).
    Starting Knighton (played admirably, almost heroicly, I admit — but Cannon has saved our bacon so many times that he deserves not to be sat for one mistake)
    Starting Miller over Mattocks — I don’t give a crap about his salary, and having to justify it — he’s plan B compared to Mattocks, who should have played the lion’s share of the match.

    The Caps are slow, can’t penetrate the box with multiple options, and STILL have not shown any degree of chemistry. Knighton was probably the best Cap on the pitch Saturday night, but we need somebody/anybody to stand out at the OTHER end.

    The only positive: they played somewhat less shitty on Saturday than they did two weeks ago. Skill wasn’t great, but it was more of an honest effort. Not a hell of a lot to make one overly confident.

    • I agree with you on all points: especialy starting Mattocks.

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