Refs and foul weather undo Whitecaps in Colorado

May 25, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | Leave a comment
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Oh, how sad the refereeing is in Major League Soccer. We tune in or pay to see to see a professional match which gets spoiled by refereeing not worthy of a kid’s game. This most recent decision was so bad that MLS initially decided it was too ripe to put on the hi-light reel even though it was the crucial play in the match. The replay of the incident was added later after the outcry which followed.

Late in the match it was 1-0 for Colorado when Pedro Morales strode up to the ball and fired it over the wall, scoring a beauty which appeared to be the equalizer. There was some pushing and shoving around the wall, and Pa Modou Kah did apply shoulder pressure on the man next to him and then fell across the front of the wall. It made no difference to the shot Morales had taken, and the Whitecaps gained no advantage in the goal by any of it.

In professional games, this is a goal. In a kids game perhaps a referee wants to teach the kids the rules by calling everything but that is not what the professional game is about.

Coach Carl Robinson had fielded an experimental line-up with several changes from the usual in midfield. Morales sat on the bench while Mauro Rosales returned from injury to take on the number 10 role in central midfield. Teibert sat on the bench and Gershon Koffie took up his post next to Mathias Laba. Kianz Froese and Kekuta Manneh lined up either side of Rosales while the ever present Rivero started up front.

It was a tale of two halves as the Whitecaps had the better of the play in the first half over a very poor Colorado team that looked like a group of Sunday players. Manneh took a wicked first time shot that Colorado Rapids keeper Clint Irwin saved spectacularly. Irwin again palmed another shot off of a Rosales free kick over the bar.

When Rivero rattled a header off of the bar in stoppage time it looked like the Whitecaps would carry the momentum into the second half.

The skies opened up with rain and lightning struck at half time. Half time was extended by half an hour or so as it was deemed too dangerous to play. The timing could not have been worse, as the delay and the conditions worked in Colorado’s favour.

The soaked pitch was much heavier in the second half and the Whitecaps looked sluggish and slow for the rest of the match. Colorado thrived; the slow tempo suited them just fine. Poor conditions almost always suit poorer teams in football.

Froese had a chance soon after the extended break as he got a lucky bounce which left him all alone to the right of goal with only goalkeeper Irwin to beat. He lashed at the ball but slice it well wide. It was a key opportunity missed.

In another play the MLS chose to edit out, Koffie was fouled in midfield and left writhing in pain on the pitch as Colorado crafted an excellent goal to make it 1-0. Striker Gabriel Torres flicked a low pass up behind him for Pittinari to volley in. It was a truly remarkable and well-taken goal but for the clear foul that led to it. Whitecaps coach Robinson was livid.

The truth be told, the Whitecaps as a team had a mental lapse and were all standing around like traffic cones when Torres and Pittinari did their work.

David Ousted performed miracles again in the Whitecaps goal, deflecting a long range effort that was labeled for the back of the net, and stopping a point-blank breakaway shot to keep the Whitecaps in it with hope.

Robinson threw caution to the wind and took out Laba for Morales, Froese for Techera, and Mattocks for the largely ineffective Manneh. Techera drew the fateful free kick in the 80th minute, which is when Referee Rivero (obviously no relation to Octavio) made his mystery call to void Morales’ magnificent free kick.

There was plenty of dancing going on as Kah, Waston and Harvey tried to disrupt and infiltrate Colorado’s wall, but the footage showed no clear foul, just some shoving which was much less than occurs on a typical on a corner kick these days. Like many other fans I have tried to find it, but such is the state of refereeing in MLS that I think we are looking for reason where there really is none.

With this loss it is clear the Whitecaps have caught a bit of a cold. Three losses out of the last 5 games is a bit of a letdown after the early season surge. The lucky bounce which was so ever present at the beginning of the season is now going the other way.

The Whitecaps remain competitive, however, and the Seattle match was the only recent match in which they ran out of ideas and were well beaten.

It is too early to sound the alarm, and this Saturday’s contest with the poor Real Salt Lake is likely to help turn things around.

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