New England bore draw for Whitecaps

March 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | 2 Comments
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I have come to realize that watching Major League Soccer games on television is a disappointment more often than not.  I love watching the Whitecaps live at BC place, but the televised product is often dull and unsatisfying.  I am not sure if it is the standard of play or just the lack of good production values on behalf of the networks.  In any event, watching Saturday’s clash in New England between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the New England Revolution felt similar to listening to someone scratch their nails on a chalkboard. 

The conditions did not help.  It was cold, windy and the match was played on very poor quality Fieldturf.  The plastic pitch made the ball very hard for the players to control.  The bounce was atrocious and the ball stuck to the surface like it was covered with glue.  This slowed the game down to the point where neither team could move the ball quickly enough, meaning the game turned into a match of brute force rather than one of footballing flair and skill.  It turned into a physical stalemate, and the Whitecaps only produced two shots all game. It ended in a dreadful 0-0 tie. 

David Ousted played his first truly great game in a Whitecaps goalkeeper jersey.  He made a world class reflex save from a close range header by Dorman off of a corner kick early in the match.  He was called on to make a number of key saves, and caught and punched many a cross from in front of his goal.  His distribution was great, and he nearly put Kekuta Manneh through on his own with a tremendous throw past the half way line. The sad reality for goalkeepers is that it is a bad sign for a match when they are the best player.  None of the other Whitecaps players really performed all that well.  There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the Whitecaps owe their point earned from this match to the man in green.

Johnny Leveron also did well, taking the place of Jay DeMerit who was mysteriously left at home to “rest”. Leaving aging stars at home to rest is becoming a bad habit in MLS which President Don Garber must surely be worried about by now. It really makes MLS look like a bush league. How can our leader and captain be left home while the rest of the team goes off and plays without him? Apparently it was the choice of coach Carl Robinson, but to the fan of the team it looks like a very odd choice indeed. Perhaps he is injured and the team wants to keep it a secret. It just didn’t feel right without Jay there in some capacity.

 Fernandez had another frustrating day and suffered the indignity of being taken off at half-time to be replaced by Morales.  Nigel Reo-Coker, who was a virtual certainty to complete an entire match last season, was taken off for the final third for Gershon Koffie. Teibert gave way to Manneh around the same time.  

We may see some of these substitutes start next match, because each of them looked better than the man they replaced.  Morales managed to control and hold the ball for the Whitecaps on the atrocious turf, and he and Kenny Miller nearly repeated their goal from match day one against the New York Red bulls.  Miller did not quite connect with the ball properly and the ball was knocked wide by New England’s keeper Shuttleworth.  Morales seems to be able to time his passes well for men running through the middle on their own. He has put a man through alone on the keeper in each of the games so far this year.  His superior skills were on display, but sadly did not result in a goal for the Whitecaps.  

Whitecaps old boy Daigo Kobayashi came on as a substitute and looked quite useful for New England, and, had his curling shot not hit a Whitecaps defender on the head late in the match, he may have stung us for the winner.  I have to say it was nice to see him on the field, and I am glad he has caught on over in New England.

I watched the TFC match afterwards, and it was clear the grass pitch was in terrible shape because of the nasty winter that has ravaged much of the continent.  Even with the grass in such poor form, it still made for a better surface for watching football than the New England Fieldturf did.  The sooner Fieldturf is eliminated from Major league Soccer the better.  It really is no substitute for grass at the professional level.  

Sadly, especially for those of us in the Pacific Northwest in Vancouver, Portland and Seattle, fans of MLS look to be cursed with the stuff for the foreseeable future.  

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2 Comments »

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  1. When you live in Winnipeg, watching the Whitecaps on TV is really the only option. Since that is the case I actually really enjoy watching the games. This one was a bit dull admittedly but watching the Houston game was fantastic.

    • It is great to hear you are supporting the Caps from Winny! The contrast between watching the home games live and watching the away games on TV is huge. MLS teams tend not to travel well. It is like watching a different team altogether.


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