Whitecaps lose to Chivas; drop more home pointsJuly 14, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Posted in Whitecaps season 2014 | Leave a comment
The Vancouver Whitecaps were their own worst enemy at BC place on Saturday night. Having gone up 1-0 through Carlyle Mitchell’s header in the first half, the Whitecaps did almost everything you can do wrong on a football pitch in the second half, and lost the match 3-1. It was a bad loss. The Whitecaps missed an opportunity to leap up in the Western Conference standings. It meant they dropped points at home, which are crucial to making the MLS playoffs, as road points are hard to come by.
Coach Robinson started with the same team that brought him success in last week’s 1-0 triumph over the Seattle Sounders: Ousted in Goal, Beitashour, Mitchell, Leveron and Harvey at the back, Koffie and Laba in defensive midfield, Fernandez, Morales and Manneh in attacking midfield, and Hurtado the lone striker up front.
Although Chivas USA has been one of the poorest teams in MLS in recent years, they now pack a considerable punch with Erik Torres, Mauro Rosales and Carlos Bocanegra in the squad, among others.
In the first half the Whitecaps were well in control of matters, keeping Chivas pinned in their own end for almost the entire time. Kekuta Manneh in particular was tearing Chivas’ left side apart, beating his man many times. Unfortunately he was not able to connect with his teammates by giving a good cross or pass, however. He had a terrific half-volley shot early on which Kennedy batted back to Hurtado who put the ball in the net. Unfortunately he was offside and the goal was called back.
Erik Hurtado found himself in alone later on but missed the net by a long way. I think we can now say with regret that Hurtado’s purple patch is over and he seems to have gone back to his old self. Both Manneh and Hurtado still have much to learn in order to become consistently good professional footballers.
The Whitecaps scored first in the 27th minute, and it was Carlyle Mitchell who headed in from a Morales corner kick. Mitchell got fee of his marker and headed the ball down after making good contact. The ball bounced between Chivas keeper Kennedy’s legs. It was Mitchell’s first MLS goal, but sadly it would be a goal scored in vain on this night.
If the Whitecaps did virtually everything right in the first half, they conspired to do everything wrong in the second half. Only three minutes in to the second half they conceded a goal off of a corner kick. Rosales knocked in a curler right into the center of the pitch into a big gang of players. In the chaos in front of goal the Whitecaps simply did not get organized as to who was marking who, and Pelletieri took advantage with a headed goal.
The Whitecaps began to falter and get frustrated up front. Coach Robinson decided to take off Manneh, who had another frustrating performance, and Gershon Koffie for Nigel Reo-Coker and Darren Mattocks in the 68th minute. Robinson’s plan was ruined by Jordan Harvey, who got himself sent off when he lost the ball to Rosales, got mad, and then recklessly threw himself into a two footed lunging tackle. He sent Minda flying through the air like a rag doll and was given a straight red. We have seen this movie before at BC Place and it does not end well. Robinson then took Fernandez off and brought in the wobbly Christian Dean, who played like a nervous rookie.
In spite of being a man down the Whitecaps could have won the match had they taken chances given to them. Both Reo-Coker and Mattocks squandered chances that professional footballers should finish.
The Whitecaps kept pressing forward to try and get the win, but were hit in the 80th minute by a neat passing play between Rosales and Delgado. Delgago crossed a beautiful curling ball to Torres who nodded in an easy finish at the far post on 80 minutes. If I am not mistaken I believe Torres has now scored four goals agains the Whitecaps in two years of playing against us.
Early in injury time the Whitecaps crossed a dangerous ball into the box; the ball bounced off of a defender and Kennedy caught the ball with two hands but had only one hand on the ball when he landed. Morales kicked it onto the net from under his hand. It was a mystery what the ref called, but it was goal disallowed. I have never heard the crowd at BC Place so unhappy as when they showed the replay on the big screen.
The Whitecaps earned a late corner kick in injury time, and even Ousted ran into Chivas’ 18 yard box. The ball did not bounce the Whitecaps way and a quick counter-attack led to Chivas 3rd goal, an empty netter with Ousted well out of the play. It was a humiliating end to a poorly played second half by the Whitecaps.
The loss left the Whitecaps perilously close to the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA in the Western standings. This year’s team seems to want to do things the hard way. The inconsistency of the team, and of its strikers in particular, is starting to bring the team down. Two more bad matches and we will be looking up at most of the Western conference teams from somewhere out of the playoff spots.
With the transfer window opening up the Whitecaps must surely be looking to make some improvements.