Camilo cracker keeps Caps level in KC

July 4, 2013 at 8:49 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | Leave a comment

The Vancouver Whitecaps are on a roll, earning an honest point in Kansas City with a 1-1 draw after three straight wins. They would have been forgiven for losing this match, the second on a long road trip, but the new resiliency the Caps have found is serving them well. The Whitecaps are now officially a hard team to beat. Where once the team would give up and seem resigned to losing on the road, they now have an inner fortitude which carries them through matches with a winning attitude.

The good news is the fact they were missing starters Russell Teibert and YP Lee did not seem to change the way the team played, which means the players are learning their roles within the team’s system. The credit for this has to be given to Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie, whose method is finally becoming more clear where there only seemed to be madness previously. Cory Herzog stood in for Teibert, and the rather sullen looking Nigel Reo-Coker took over for YP Lee. Poor Reo-Coker does not look happy at all in that position, where his talents are wasted, but Rennie appears unwilling to give Lee deputy Greg Klazura another go at right fullback after his disastrous performances in New York and Seattle. Reo-Coker looked distinctly unhappy and out of place all match, so lets hope YP Lee does not take any more vacations this season.

Another fellow who looked out of place at full back was Jordan Harvey. Twice Harvey got caught pinching into the middle too far, giving KC two golden scoring opportunities at the far post, one of which they took on 34 minutes to make it 1-0. Harvey ended up doing absolutely nothing to clear a drifting far post cross, then jumped out of the way of the ball before making a poor attempt at a tackle as KC defender Collin shot low past Caps Keeper Brad Knighton. It was pathetic defending. Harvey is proving to be terribly prone to errors, and has been a liability but for the fact he scores as many as he lets in. He is playing in an arrogant way and needs an attitude check. Rennie really needs to sort Harvey out or he is going to give up many more goals this year.

One fellow who really stood out today for the good was Honduran centre back Johnny Leveron. Leveron has extraordinary ball skills and a fantastic left foot. He is now match fit, and was able to run all the way up the pitch just before the half to draw a foul at the top of KC’s penalty area. This led to the Camilo strike which drew us level on 45 minutes. Camilo lined up with his right foot and Leveron with his left, keeping KC keeper Neilsen guessing. Camilo stuck a beautiful shot which curled and dipped into the top right corner. Neilsen could only fall to his knees with despair. It was virtually the last kick of the first half. I wonder how many goals Camilo would have had by now if Rennie had not benched him at the beginning of the season?

Camilo: 'otter than a tea pot!

Camilo: ‘otter than a tea pot!

The rest of the match looked rather laboured for both sides, and either team looked capable of winning it, even though the lion’s share of possession was on the side of KC. The Whitecaps got off lucky on a number of occasions where the big KC striker Kamera got free headers in front of goal, but luckily he squandered the chances to score. KC midfielder Zusi rattled a shot off of the post when retreating Whitecaps defenders backed off of him and gave him room to work.

The Whitecaps had to work very hard all of the second half and one of the hardest workers, Matt Watson, was retired so Koffie could come on. Herzog was later subbed for Heinemann, and neither man really had any remarkable impact on the match. All of the Whitecaps worked hard as a team, and even Camilo was spotted tracking back deep into the Whitecaps own end in the second half.

One fellow who needs to do more is Daigo Kobayashi, who floated around again, seemingly having lost all bite to his game. Rennie needs to find a way to motivate this guy to get stuck into matches. Perhaps he does not like the fast and physical nature of Major League Soccer.

The Whitecaps started wilting rather dramatically late in the match, especially Reo-Coker, who was completely exhausted and fed up of playing a position foreign to him. In injury time, however, the Whitecaps had a good spell of possession which killed the match before KC could steal a goal.

After watching that terrible match on saturday in DC, this was a refreshing match in which both sides played attractive football and tried to win the game with ambitious play. It has to be said it was very nice to watch an MLS match played on a beautiful natural grass pitch instead of that awful Fieldturf.

All of this sets the stage for Saturday night’s Cascadia classic at BC Place against the Seattle Sounders; the Whitecaps are well situated to get their first win against a Cascadia rival since joining MLS. I’m Looking forward to it!

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