Sluggish in Colorado: Whitecaps lose 2-0August 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | 4 Comments
While I have stopped questioning the sanity of the Vancouver Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie since the team went on a tear, last night’s lapses in judgement by our coaching staff caused my eyebrows to twitch a bit.
While we are all high on Kenny Miller recently, perhaps it wasn’t the best plan to start him after what he had been through in the 7 days prior to the Colorado match. Kenny had started and played the lion’s share of two matches last saturday and wednesday, and took two trans Atlantic flights as well. Surely after all that he had been through he had to be physically and emotionally exhausted. Sure enough, the only real chance that fell to Miller resulted in a weak effort by the Scot.
I would have thought resting Miller for at least the first 2/3 of the match might be a good idea, and perhaps starting either Mattocks or Manneh. Kekuta Manneh was nowhere to be seen however; he was not even on the bench. Given the team was playing at high altitude I thought some speed and young lung’s would be called for.
It was as though Kenny’s jet lag spread was infectious and spread through the entire team. The Whitecaps had some jump at the start of the match, but the performance on the night came across as sluggish. Teibert got through on his own early on but an alert Irwin in Colorado’s goal soon snuffed out the chance.
Colorado went 1-0 up in the first half when the Whitecaps were caught napping on both flanks, and defending far too deeply. Colorado’s Sanchez received the ball on the right flank and had as much time as he could wish for to spot team-mate Brown creeping on the Whitecaps blind side up behind YP Lee. There was some question as to whether Whitecaps keeper David Ousted could have come for the cross, and by the time he got to the far post to cover the header, he was in desperation mode. I think Brad Knighton, who is more aggressive in coming out for crosses, might have intercepted that cross. It was not the most impressive effort from Ousted or YP Lee. It all looked like very lazy and amateurish defending from virtually everyone on the team.
The man who should have started in the circumstances, Darren Mattocks, came on for a tired Kenny Miller in the 60th minute, and within two minutes, he had nearly levelled the match. Mattocks ran right through the middle of Colorado’s defence on the chance, and it clearly called into question why, with his speed and youth, he was not preferred from the start over the jet lagged Miller.
The Whitecaps began starting to throw men forward as Kobayashi (who had another totally uninspired match) was taken off for Watson. The writing was on the wall as Colorado easily soaked up any pressure the Whitecaps were able to muster. A counter attack resulted in a goal by Colorado sub Edson Buddle, who scored after being on the pitch for only one minute. There was no coming back with the ten minutes that were left.
This match was lost because of poor team selection. The Whitecaps’ chances would have been greatly enhanced had we taken Kekuta Manneh along to play a part. The Whitecaps needed some pure speed and youth to break down a well organized Colorado defence. Playing the exhausted Kenny Miller was just daft from the start, and not for the first time this season, Coach Rennie lost all the points on the table by failing to put our best team out on the night. Rennie’s approach took us from second to fifth in the Western Conference. It has to be said that Nigel Reo-Coker looked a bit tired too. Perhaps playing at high altitude really is an advantage for Colorado, because our boys looked like they were playing with bricks tied to their boots.
It was an awful match to watch, the most boring of the year. Lets hope this is just one bad match, because if we have a few more of these the playoffs could easily slip away into the greedy hands of our Western conference rivals.