DC bore draw disappoints on Wee Willie Johnston’s return

September 8, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized, Whitecaps season 2014 | Leave a comment
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Poor Wee Willie Johnston came all the way from Scotland to watch a dreadful 0-0 draw with the “beasts of the East”, DC United. It turned out, sadly, that Willie’s hilarious re-enactment of his famous beer swig corner kick was the highlight of the night at BC Place.

"Foken awful match"

“Foken awful match”

The Whitecaps ground out yet another dull 0-0 match, having failed to score yet again. The chorus of boos which droned out at the final whistle from the fans made the disappointment clear. It was the second Saturday night in a row in which the promised party fizzled out into something resembling a funeral.

Coach Carl Robinson, who maintains his sunny demeanour in spite of the drudgery of it all, started an “attacking” side with two strikers instead of one. Darren Mattocks and Seba Fernandez started up front with Morales, Teibert, Rosales and Teibert making up a diamond midfield. Our back line featured Ethan Sampson in his first MLS start for the club at right back, Jordan Harvey patrolled the left side and Kendall Waston and Andy O’Brien played in the centre back positions.

DC United came without two starters: striker Eddie Johnston and midfielder Chris Rolfe. DC United are a very well coached and disciplined squad, and they seemed to be playing the match at half speed, using their resources economically. But for some good positional goalkeeping by Cap’s Keeper David Ousted in the first half when DC striker Espindola latched on to a cross in the clear, the match would have been lost 1-0.

Oustie saves the match

Oustie saves the match

The fact is there were actual positives which came out in the match for the Whitecaps. In the first place our defence was solid, and Waston and O’Brien won virtually every high ball that came their way with fantastic headers. The poor form up front should not detract from the fact we kept a clean sheet. Ousted handled some difficult shooting efforts by DC United which forced around four or so difficult good saves from the big Dane.

The Whitecaps created three good scoring chances which, had there been some luck on their side, would have found the back of the net.

The first chance fell to the hapless Mattocks, who missed a cross from Fernandez, but got a second chance off of a lucky bounce from of a DC defender for a close range volley. He promptly skied it over the crossbar. He ended up on his knees with his hands clasped behind his head, a pose with which we have become all too familiar. Sometimes I wonder if Mattocks’s spectacular misses should be his highlight reel rather than his goals, which are far more pedestrian.

Mattocks misses... again

Mattocks misses… again

Perdro Morales later put a lovely cross into the box for the giant Waston to head in but the big man just barely missed the ball, which went just by the post. Mattocks had another chance on the left side at the end of the first half but shot his effort straight at Hamid, DC’s goalkeeper. A low shot would have made the keeper work harder for his money.

Why not shoot low?

Why not shoot low?

Jordan Harvey got too much of a near post header from a gorgeous Teibert cross in the second half and put it past the near post.

Kekuta Manneh and Mehdi Ballouchy were brought on for Sebastian Fernandez and Mauro Rosales, who seemed to pick up an ankle injury after throwing himself into a tackle. Manneh added some spark and energy, but it soon fizzled as well, as he and the rest of the Whitecaps failed to unbalance DC United’s well organized defence.

Poor Ethan Sampson played his heart out only to go to ground with a bad cramp in the second half. The injury served to prove the Whitecaps need that USL Pro team in New West to keep their bench players fit. Sam Adekugbe came on for him.

Again, it was Rosales who played with the most character, never giving up and always giving his all. If there is one player in the squad who can bring the Whitecaps out of their doldrums, it is him.

Rosales: honest effort

Rosales: honest effort

The sense of disappointment was awful at the final whistle, as one got the sense that not only the fans were fed up, but so were the players. How long can it be before the players begin to resent one another for the poor play of the team? Pedro Morales sulked his way through this game again, and we have seen five matches in a row of uninspired performances from him. Not surprisingly our goals have dried up completely as a result. How do we get the real Pedro Morales back?

While it felt like it was all over, the fact is we are still only one point behind Portland with one game in hand. This Wednesday night’s clash with San Jose will be crucial to staying apace with Portland and keeping San Jose out of the race for the last playoff spot in MLS’s Western Conference.

Lets hope Wee Wille Johnston, who will be in attendance again on Wednesday, will be able to return to Scotland with some happy memories of goals scored by his old club, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

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