The ghost of Alain Rochat haunts Vancouver Whitecaps in Seattle

June 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | 14 Comments

It took only two days for the Whitecaps to experience seller’s remorse with respect to trading away Alain Rochat. The Whitecaps have been touting the move of Rochat as a way to get salary cap room and as a way to improve the future of the club through future draft picks. The only problem with salary cap room and future draft picks is that neither can kick a football.

"I am the ghost of Whitecaps players past!"

“I am the ghost of Whitecaps players past!”

In Seattle last night the rookie errors were not confined to the pitch; the Whitecaps front office and Coach Martin Rennie embarrassed the club with the Rochat move. When centre back Andy O’Brien came off injured, the look of shock on Martin Rennie’s face said it all… There was really no one to replace him.

If you are up 2-1 over a Cascadia rival away from home and need to replace your starting centre back, a serious quality footballer had better be available to take his place. When I saw that Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie had tapped Greg Klazura on the shoulder to replace the ham-strung Andy O’Brien two thirds the way through the match, it was clear to me the match would be lost. Klazura simply did not have the experience and quality to play in last night’s game. We replaced a seasoned veteran who has played in international matches for Ireland and has many appearances in the English Premier League with a guy who has only played college soccer and one MLS match (in which he scored on our net). It was a substitution which was doomed from the start.

It had all looked so promising. In spite of giving up an early goal in the ninth minute, the Whitecaps soon responded through Camilo the very next minute. Camilo is a little miracle: despite his diminutive size he is able to score numerous goals with his head. Both goals were provided by Russell Teibert, who is truly flourishing in his right-sided role. The Whitecaps were up 2-1 over a depleted Seattle side which was missing five or six of their starters.

Leveron and Davidson were at fault on the opening goal. Leveron defended too high, and Davidson dropped behind him to cover. Both failed to notice Rose making a lateral run across the line; Rose received a pass and easily slotted past Keeper Brad Knighton for a 1-0 lead to Seattle.

YP Lee and Teibert combined brilliantly on the left to create the equalizer. Teibert stabbed a cross over the entire Seattle defence to a waiting Camilo whose cross header cleanly beat Gspurning, who could only watch it go past him into the net. Teibert created the Whitecaps second goal by finding Camilo off of a beautiful free kick for a diving header deep in Seattle’s box. The two shortest guys on the pitch were having a field day! Who would say football is a tall man’s game? It was 2-1 Whitecaps at the half.

The Whitecaps were looking solid to win the match when Andy O’Brien went down with a hamstring injury two-thirds the way through. With the Whitecaps up 2-1 under pressure with half an hour to go, it took only five minutes for O’Brien’s substitute Klazura to be exposed when he got on the wrong side of his mark in the box and then blatantly hacked him down for a penalty kick. It was then 2-2 with twenty minutes to go.

Ten minutes later both Klazura and Honduran centre back Johnny Leveron were exposed when a charging (and aging) Obafemi Martins was able to out-sprint and split the two to cross a low ball in front of goal which was finished by Seattle striker Lamar Neagle. The play made Leveron look slow and out of shape. Some close up shots of Leveron had him carrying a spare tire around his middle that needs to be got rid of. If he loses ten pounds he might be bit quicker. How an old player in his mid thirties is able to out-sprint a guy in his early twenties is beyond me, especially when Leveron had a head start!

The Whitecaps were lucky not to concede another penalty early in the second half when Jun-Marques Davidson hacked Martins down inside the box, but the referee and the linesman, amazingly, put the ball outside of the box for a free kick.

Nigel Reo-Coker’s one flaw was laid bare: this guy is not going to score a lot of goals. After a brilliant free kick by Camilo was spilled by Seattle keeper Gspurning, RC had the whole net gaping in front of him and could only kick the ball at the keeper. Had he finished that one, it was 3-1 for the Whitecaps. Kenny Miller also managed to wriggle free on the right side of goal late in the match only to put his cross too far in front of Camilo, who had the whole net open to him.

We were beaten by a team which had only half of its regular starters on the pitch. Like the match against the Montreal Impact, this one should send a message to our owners and to our coaching staff: our squad is weak and shallow. It has been made more weak and shallow by the trading of Alain Rochat. While Rochat did suffer a dip in form this year, he is still twice the player that Greg Klazura is.

The timing of the Rochat trade could not be worse and again showed a level of naiveté, (or dare I say, incompetence), in the Whitecaps staff who are making footballing decisions.

Our squad is generally of poorer quality than other MLS teams whose owners seem to be taking the game a lot more seriously than our own owners. Critical errors are being made by those making footballing decisions.

There is a wonderful Canadian coach called Frank Yallop who recently became available. If the owners are smart, the time is now to find a place on the Whitecaps for Yallop, who has plenty of MLS experience and has won two MLS titles.

It is time for the owners to wake up and provide change for a team that needs it.

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14 Comments »

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  1. Why is a top defender like mitchell in edmonton? What would have happened if the sounders had had their top players on the field? Why can the caps not play half the possession game the sounders exercised in front of the caps’ box? Hp.

    • “a top defender”?? Umm… Mitchell might be Edmonton’s top defender, but hardly a top defender in MLS.

  2. Frank Yallop? You are suggesting Frank Yallop? The same Frank Yallop who took San Jose from the Supporters Shield o second last in the Western Conference in half a season?

    • Yes..he also took them from nowhere to the supporters shield. San Jose is littered wirh injuries and when healthy will finish ahead of our caps. what has Rennie achieved at the mls level?…7 wins 31 games

  3. I have no idea where your numbers are coming from. The Whitecaps’ record:
    in 2012 was 11 wins 13 losses 10 draws
    in 2013 (so far) 4 wins 5 losses 4 draws
    Voyageur Cup matches are not counted included in these numbers, only MLS contests.
    In my maths that is a record of 15 wins 18 losses and 14 draws over 47 games. Martin Rennie was at the helm for each of them. That is an unbeaten to beaten record of 29 to 18.
    i hope that your numbers are just sloppy and it is not that you are inventing numbers to support your own preconceptions because, you know, that would be wrong.

  4. Long time reader first time commenting because If u don’t got something nice to say don’t say nothing at all but this is first time of all ur suggestions you’ve made in the past I agree 100% and didn’t even think of it all in regards to finding frank yallop a position within this team the only question is where??? He’s no technical director of soccer operations or CEO like Paul barbers old position ( I might add this is the position in front office that is the reason we still lack a little something on field) hes always been and will for the here and now be a manager so how do u fit him into the current Brit isles group we got guiding our beloved boys? I for one dont see it working

  5. Long time reader first time commenting because If u don’t got something nice to say don’t say nothing at all but this is first time of all ur suggestions you’ve made in the past I agree 100% and didn’t even think of it all in regards to finding frank yallop a position within this team the only question is where??? He’s no technical director of soccer operations or CEO like Paul barbers old position ( I might add this is the position in front office that is the reason we still lack a little something on field) hes always been and will for the here and now be a manager so how do u fit him into the current Brit islesM group we got guiding our beloved boys? I for one dont see it working Or becoming a reality because he obviously would want to be the manager which would be stupid to switch at this Point in the season! Renn

    • John we have the same numbers. 8 of Rennie wins came in the first 17 games last year before the mid season changes that started the slide. Since then its 7 wins in 31 mls regular and playoff. Wins are what matters most . A team could go “undefeated” all season with 34 draws and would miss the playoffs with 34pts. So yes he had a great half a year but that ended a year ago. The league figured out his tactics a year ago.

      • I think it is unfair to judge parts of Rennie’s record in isolation. In my opinion it must be looked at as a whole. If we are choosing selected portions of the schedule to evaluate Rennie’s success, the last ten matches (including CC games) is 3 wins three losses and 4 draws and, with the exception of two matches against NASL side Edmonton, all of these fixtures came against high in the standings clubs. For an organization that is in a building mode and has suffered serious injury depletions/suspensions during this stretch, this is a reasonable accomplishment. As with any organization some moves have worked out and some haven’t. I will be watching closely for the remainder of the season but I have seen nothing yet that makes me think that a change would improve our situation. And even if I did, Frank Yallop would not be the man I would turn to.

    • John..the mid season 2012 date was not chosen randomly to create the bad numbers it coincided with what I and many believe was the moment Rennie put his mark on the team (releasing the key tietur/soehn players and bringing in his own ). Since then its a been a failure when compared to other “building” teams like montreal for example. In any event I suspect if the caps do not win against NE and Chivas at home Rennie is gone.

      • Perhaps. On the other hand, the ownership and management may have a longer term view of the concept of “building”. I certainly do. I believe that the goal should be a side that is competitive on a consistent, long-term basis and if this means sacrificing a few wins in the short-term, so be it. I want to see this club build a good scouting, training and development system that will, ultimately, provide the first team with a steady stream of quality young talent with enough left over to move to other organizations so that the system can become self-perpetuating. I believe that this is Bob Lenarduzzi’s and Martin Rennie’s vision as well. These early days are the rocky part of getting started and other teams may have achieved short-term success more quickly but it is long-term success that interests me. I am sticking with Rennie. Let’s evaluate again at the end of the season.

  6. John having a vision and being able to execute it (like Montreal,Seattle, Portland it seems – the other former USL transfers) are two different things. Thus far Lenarduzzi and Rennie have prety much failed. If the 11 month slide continues Lenarduzzi at some point will fire Rennie unless his vision also consists of being unemployed.

    • Time will tell.

  7. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks


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