Whitecaps throw away points in Philly

June 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | 1 Comment
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For the second match running the Vancouver Whitecaps went from a commanding lead in the first half to just barely clinging on at the end of the match. Last week in Portland it was 4-1 Whitecaps just after the half and they barely scraped out a 4-3 win: this time it was 2-0 Whitecaps over the Philadelphia Union at the half with a final score of 3-3. The Whitecaps even gave up the lead and were losing 3-2 until Pedro Morales potted yet another penalty kick in the 81st minute.

The 2014 Whitecaps is a fantastic team to watch for entertainment value, but if we consider defending as a part of the show we are doing badly.  We have given up 8 goals in the last three matches.  Fortunately we have scored 9.  The ability to kill a game and see it out to the end seems to be missing.

Coach Robinson brought some squad players into this match, as Johnny Leveron came in for Andy O’Brien, Nico Mezquida was preferred to Seb Fernandez, and Russell Teibert replaced Kekuta Manneh.  

Erik Hurtado started up front alone and continued with his magnificent form.  In the 17th minute the Whitecaps used some clever close passing to get out of a traffic jam at halfway on the right side of the pitch.  Reo-Coker found Morales and started an overlapping run down the right touchline.  Morales spun away with the ball towards the centre of the pitch and found Teibert alone; Teibert saw Reo-Coker running and fed him the ball. Reo-Coker deftly one-touched a high ball to Hurtado, who was left completely alone by the Union defenders;  Hurtado glanced his header to the far post, beating Philly Keeper MacMath low to his right side. It was 1-0 Whitecaps.

Jay DeMerit had to leave the pitch soon after with a worrying ankle injury.  Andy O’Brien, who was supposed to be rested in favour of Johnny Leveron, was pressed into action in the 24th minute.  For the rest of the half, it looked as though O’Brien had effectively replaced DeMerit without any damage to the team.

For the rest of the second half, the Whitecaps easily coped with a depressed Union side.  in the 39th minute Philly got a corner kick and threw men forward in an effort to tie the game before the half.  The Whitecaps cleared the corner and Mezquida found himself with the ball and massive amounts of room in front of him. He tore down the field with Hurtado and Reo-Coker running along with him.  Mezquida passed the ball to his right to Reo-Coker, and headed to the front of the net.  Reo-Coker found Hurtado on the right hand side.  Hurtado beat his man and headed for the touchline with the ball. Mezquida pulled back a bit from goal, giving Hurtado an angle to pass the ball to him. Hurtado spotted the Mosquito, and found him with a pass along the ground which the wee Uruguayan directed low in to the net.  It was 2-0 and the Whitecaps were laughing their way into the dressing room at halftime.  

The Whitecaps stood pat after the break but the Union brought Michael Lahoud in.  The Union started gaining momentum.  15 minutes into the second half the Union’s big striker Connor Casey, who looks like a Sunday pub league player, snuck up behind Andy O’Brien and beat him to a low curling cross which O’Brien misjudged.  Casey nodded the ball into the near post and into the Whitecaps net.  It was 2-1.  

Ex-Whitecaps Sebastian Le Toux came on as a sub in the 66th minute and had a goal two minutes later.  This time it was Johnny Leveron who got crept up on, and Leveron failed to intercept a cross while he jogged back in to position looking slow and lazy. It was 2-2 with the Whitecaps giving up two goals in five minutes.

Less than five minutes later it was 3-2  for the Union when Casey the pub league guy found himself with the ball and ten yards worth of space as Leveron stood back and was too slow to move to the striker.  Casey cracked a curling shot from 25 yards into the corner past a sprawling Ousted.  It was looking like a disaster.

In an effort to get another goal, Robinson took our holding midfielder Laba out and brought the speedy Darren Mattocks on to try to get an equalizer.  It worked.  In the 79th minutes Morales found Mattocks streaking forward with one of his perfectly weighted passes.  Mattocks easily beat the defender for speed and touched the ball around keeper MacMath, who brought him down. Morales picked up the ball again.  

Morales was lucky to score on the penalty as MacMath guessed right and reached the ball after Morales scuffed his shot slightly. The ball bounced in front of MacMath however, and over the keeper’s outstretched arm.  It was 3-3 with ten minutes to go.  The Whitecaps saw out the game under intense pressure.

The Whitecaps got away lucky with three points last Sunday in Portland, but their luck ran away in Philedelphia, along with two points. For the second game in a row the Whitecaps have been unable to play the full 90 minutes, and certain players like Moreles, Mezquida and Fernandez seem unable to defend with the rest of the team.   Robinson’s attacking formation with three attacking midfielders and two defensive midfielders has left the back line exposed when opposing teams use the width of the pitch, going around our two defensive central midfielders Koffie and Laba.

On this night O’Brien and Leveron both looked slow and unable to act with any decisiveness.  Both were caught ball watching and failed to detect blind-side runs.  Reo-Coker got caught out of position on a number of occasions as well.  

The tie dropped the Whitecaps back down to fifth place in the hyper-competitive Western Conference.  Had the Whitecaps won they would have been third.

Vancouver Whitecaps version 2014 is a tremendously entertaining team to watch, but if they are gong to seriously compete this year they need to learn to play for 90 minutes and defend as a team.   

 

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  1. Leveron, Reo Coker (2nd half) and Laba (worst game as a cap) were just awful. Reo Coker snd his 400k+ salary have oassed their “best before date” time to move him in july.


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