‘Caps drop more points at home with Portland drawMay 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | 4 Comments
2-2 at home with a goal conceded late in the match? Sound familiar? It’s 2012 all over again. One thing that is clear in Major League Soccer: you must take advantage of home matches to run up points because it is very difficult to get any points at all on the road. Saturday’s draw meant the Whitecaps lost more precious home points.
The match was odd from the start as Portland walked out in their white kits and the Whitecaps walked out in their… white kits. Why Portland chose to play in a predominantly white uniform I’ll never know, because from the back the players looked virtually the same as the Whitecaps players. I thought the MLS must have a policy on this, but I guess not.
Martin Rennie started Camilo up front with Hurtado on the left side (odd because he is right footed), and Jordan at left back for Rochat. Russel Teibert got the start on the right side (why Rennie does this I don’t know since Teibert seems unable to cross the ball with his right foot).
Camilo was his usual combination of infuriating and brilliant, but he demonstrated he has the lion’s share of pure footballing talent in the squad: he scored on a free kick; set up a goal for Gershon Koffie; got a Portland player sent off; and he drew many other fouls which resulted in free kicks in dangerous places. If Camilo was playing for any other team, this would be enough to win a match, but because he plays for the Whitecaps it only earns a draw.
The ghost of Jay DeMerit haunted the Whitecaps yet again, and it was Brad Rusin, his replacement, who got spooked as usual. The Whitecaps squandered a lead for the second time five minutes from time when a speculative high ball was played to the top of the their area. Rusin misjudged the ball, was off balance, and Portland’s crafty Valencia nipped behind him and brought the ball down with his arms like an NFL receiver. He then made a nifty move to trick O’Brien out of his shorts and calmly slotted home past a helpless Knighton.
While we were all outraged both the ref and the linesman could miss such a blatant handball, the real scandal was how poorly Rusin did on the play. Valencia should not have gotten anywhere near that ball in the first place. We can curse the MLS disciplinary committee for that one because Johnny Leveron would likely have started if he was not banned midweek after the fact from his tackle in the LA match last Saturday. Rusin played well otherwise, but keeps getting punished for his lapses in concentration at critical points in matches. His head is just not there for the full 90 minutes.
Giving up a lead like that when playing against 10 men is unforgivable. If the Whitecaps don’t learn to defend and fast we can kiss goodbye to the playoffs. Even though the Whitecaps did well, Portland played the smarter game. Their fans went away happy while we all went away disappointed asking what could have been yet again.
We now sit second from the bottom in the Western Conference. It is true that a run of a few wins would see us more in mid-table, our Cascadia rivals are looking far superior to us in quality. We are the poorest team in our region while Seattle are shooting up the table with one win after another. If only we could sign more Nigel Reo-Cokers we would be doing just fine. I dare say if we signed a player like Will Johnson I would be delighted too.
The fact is we had two fabulous goals by Camilo and Koffie but the memory of those goals was obscured by some terrible defending. My feeling is that Rusin should not start anymore and Leveron should be the presumptive starter. It makes me yearn for Martin Bonjour; he would have dealt with that situation without a problem.
The pressure is on for Martin Rennie. If he does not win the deciding Canadian Championship match against Montreal a week from Wednesday, I predict he will be fired, and that is as it should be. Lets face it, all Rennie has ever done is take us South in results and in the MLS standings. It is apparent the one thing the Whitecaps have struggled with as an organization most of all is with getting its leadership right.
Even if he wins the Canadian Championship, how long can we be expected to put up with such poor form in MLS?