Whitecaps and Impact in bore draw at BC Place

June 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | Leave a comment

I was afraid that after watching the scintillating World Cup matches from Brazil for the last two weeks that last night’s Major League Soccer match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact would look awful.  My worst fears were confirmed.  It was an awful 0-0 draw. 

Harvey hits the bar

Harvey hits the bar

The match had a tired feel to it, and it was obvious that the two week World Cup break had not served to revitalize the Whitecaps players but rather had put them into a deep slumber from which they struggled to wake up.  The same tiredness that I feel from watching too much soccer on television appeared to have also afflicted the players last night. The match felt like an exhibition match, not a full-blooded game.

The feel in the crowd was also rather distracted, with World Cup burnout being a common complaint. The overwhelming sentiment was “what? soccer again?”.  People chatted idly while the game was going on rather like they do at baseball games.  They had an excuse in this case: nothing was really happening on the pitch that was worth watching! 

I had high hopes of our starting line-up, which included Mattocks, Manneh and Hurtado in forward positions.  The three of them played like strangers all night, however, failing to pass the ball to the other even when they were in better positions. 

Manneh was awful. Time and time again he could not put a decent cross in to the box front the right side.  Having witnessed the sublime skills of players in the World Cup I had looked forward to watching Pedro Morales play, but he disappointed just like Manneh did.  Morales gave the ball away again and again.  It was not always his fault, because his teammates mostly failed to make themselves available to him with intelligent runs.

Carlyle Mitchell played at right back, being our third choice after Beitashour (World Cup duty), and Reo-Coker (baby daughter just born).  Mitchell did an adequate job but his running was timed poorly meaning any attacking wing play was neutralized on the right side of the pitch. It really will be a relief to get Beitashour back.

Even if he had a bad match overall in open play, Morales proved dangerous on free kicks and corner kicks, which provided the Whitecaps best scoring opportunities. In the second half a daisy cutter free kick by Morales nearly snuck into the net but for a fine save by Impact Keeper Perkins.

Our closest chance... Perkins turns it away

Our closest chance… Perkins turns it away

It has to be said that both goalkeepers provided an excellent display, and provided the most admirable plays of the match. David Ousted made several brave saves at the feet of onrushing Montreal forwards. Ousted has improved immeasurably over his play last season, and we have to give credit to the Whitecaps goalkeeping coaches for the improvement. The post and crossbar also helped Ousted to keep a clean sheet, as Montreal created the better chances on this night.

The result meant two more lost points at home, and Montreal walked off of the pitch the happier team with a road point.

For the Whitecaps this was the worst performance of the year. You would think the players would be raring to go having watched the big show in Brazil. The opposite occurred: the players just did not seem to be in the mood. Coach Robinson must have some serious concerns.

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