Winning ways: Whitecaps trounce Chicago Fire

July 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | Leave a comment

Today’s match against the Chicago Fire felt like a bit of a hangover after the emotional intensity of last Saturday night’s historic win over the Seattle Sounders. There was no visible travelling support from Chicago, which led to a rather laid back feeling in BC Place. It just proves how important travelling support can be to the intensity of a match. If we fans felt this way, the first half of this match showed the players felt the same hangover effect. The Whitecaps drifted through the first half, and were kept out of trouble by some sharp early saves by Brad Knighton, who took up where he left off last Saturday night.

O Magico! His 28th, 29th our 100th

O Magico! His 28th and our 100th

The first half passed with precious little inspiration, and the second half started the same way. The question before this match began was who was going to score the Whitecaps 100th goal in the Major League Soccer chapter of Vancouver Whitecaps history. Kenny Miller had a go early in the second half when he hit a curling shot from just outside of the box against the goal post past a sprawling Paolo Tornaghi, Chicago’s keeper. This close call seemed to wake the Whitecaps up a bit to the prospect of actually scoring.

Brad Knighton kept showing the value he can add to the team by hitting a high kick directly to Camilo’s foot, three quarters the way down the pitch, in the 65th minute. Camilo then beat two men, and then beat one of these again for good measure, before cracking an unstoppable shot past Tornaghi.

It was appropriate that Camilo should score the 100th goal in the Whitecaps MLS history, when you consider he is responsible for 29 of them. He earned the honour well with this magnificent solo goal, which took place amidst hopes expressed that he might one day get Canadian citizenship and play for Canada. O Magico, we can only hope so!

"Take that, Santos!" YP Lee strips the ball away

“Take that, Santos!” YP Lee strips the ball away

Kekuta Manneh was subbed in for Cory Herzog and gave a good account of himself, especially when he spotted Camilo making a quick run past a static Chicago defensive line in the 70th minute. Camilo was through on his own, and the crowd stood fully expecting Camilo to score number two. He tried to dribble past Tornaghi but the keeper got a hand to the ball. It looked like scoring was off as Chicago defenders recovered to help their keeper. Camilo still found himself with a lot of space to the left of the goal, dribbled in front of goal and had another go. He shot the ball past two defenders and the keeper for his second. it was 2-0 and Whitecaps were on their was to yet another victory.

Camilo bewitches Chicago's defence

Camilo bewitches Chicago’s defence

Manneh also found holes in Chicago’s rather porous defence when he was targeted to the left of goal by the charging Kenny Miller. Manneh looked terrifically comfortable with the ball at his feet, and remained calm during a one-on-one duel with a Chicago defender. He threw the defender aside, threw a few fakes with his feet and body, and crashed a shot between the legs of another defender past the despairing Tornaghi’s right hand at the near post. It was a rather Camilo like goal it has to be said, and it came from a player who I thought should have started this match.

Manneh pots one

Manneh pots one

The Whitecaps became complacent towards the end of injury time and stopped playing long enough to let Chicago have one back on a header from Nyarko. Jordan Harvey and Daigo Kobayashi fell asleep, which is surprising given Chicago had just hit the post with another header from Maicon Santos seconds earlier. Harvey is again showing a lack of ability to defend and the goals against us these days seem to come from his side of things.

Ooops... Defensive complacency meant an injury time goal against

Ooops… Defensive complacency meant an injury time goal against

The Chicago Fire are a very poor team indeed. It seems apparent that some of these Eastern Conference teams just don’t care about the game as much as teams in the Western Conference. Why this state of affairs exists is hard to tell. Perhaps it is because they are a long way from home and no one is really watching. Fans in the Eastern conference are rare birds when you consider the Western Conference and the attendance figures we get. Don Garber and MLS have to get their act together and breathe some life into the East. The Chicago Fire did not bring a very good game to our city.

The Whitecaps win put them into third place in the Western Conference, a lofty perch indeed. What is more, first place RSL are only 5 points ahead, and we have a game in hand. Coach Martin Rennie has put his rookie coach blues away and has his team is on a roll, winning matches and playing smart football. By now it has to be said he has answered his critics, myself included. He has the team defending, (with the exception of Harvey), scoring and winning. The squad is young, but is maturing and developing a depth of experience.

If Camilo can continue in his rich vein of form, who knows how far we can go?


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