Whitecaps 1 Houston 1 in ‘keeper duel

May 29, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps 2016, Whitecaps Season 2016 | 1 Comment
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Whenever the Houston Dynamo come to town of late it has typically been an easy 3 points for the Whitecaps.  Houston is one of the less ambitious MLS franchises in footballing terms.  This despite having built a beautiful new stadium recently. Houston has followed the old MLS model of  putting together a team of big strapping athletes with little or no football skill or brains. Their manager Owen Coyle left in disgust midweek leaving the team without a manager. They looked ripe for the picking with only aging veteran Demarcus Beasley on the roster as a player with any recognizable footballing pedigree.

Our Vancouver Whitecaps also looked underwhelming, however, with starters Kendall  Waston and Christian Bolanos off to play for Costa Rica and super sub Blas Perez off to play for Panama. Pa Modou Kah was injured meaning coach Robinson had to bring midfielder Andrew Jacobson back to defend in the middle of our defensive line with Parker.  Starting right fullback Fraser Aird was suffering a knee problem so Jordan Smith Deputized at right back. Russell Teibert got a chance to start a match, lying alongside Mathias Laba in central midfield.

Smith and Jacobsen showed their rust when the nimble left fullback Demarcus Beasley made a determined run past the ball-watching defenders on our right side. Beasley was fed the ball by midfielder Alex and charged into our box with only Parker offering any resistance. Parker left his feet and slid in front and right past the wise Beasley who did not panic. He held the ball as Parker slid harmlessly by and scooped the ball up and over  onrushing Whitecaps keeper David Ousted. It was 1-0 Houston.

Close to half time Pedro Morales and Houston’s Alex had a scrape, exchanging words and some shoves after Alex had fouled Morales. Dreadful MLS refereeing reared its ugly head again as referee Drew Fischer sent both players off.  While the partizan in me says Alex should have been given given a red and Morales a yellow, there was no real need to send both off. A skilled ref would have cooled them both down, read them the riot act, given yellows, and carried on.

Alex and Morales are the kind of players we pay to watch; we don’t want them to be sent off.  The cardinal rule for referees in professional matches should be to try to keep all of the players on the pitch by controlling the match properly. In this match, like so many other MLS matches, an MLS referee decided he was going to be the centre of attention rather than the players. As the seasons go by it is becoming clear that the MLS officiating model is just not working. Don Garber needs to act on this rather than constantly denying there is a problem.

The loss of our best player was a real blow to the Whitecaps, and there was a sombre mood in BC Place as the players trudged off for half time.

In the second half Houston hunkered down and defended while the Whitecaps sent attack after attack forward.  The Whitecaps won seven corners in this match and one of them came good for them on 51 minutes.  A near post cross deflected to Octavio Rivero, who was lurking at the far post just above the penalty spot.  Rivero saw the ball coming, stepped back to get better shape on the ball and hit a lovely curling volley into the top corner of the net.  It was a technically very difficult goal to score and the bend he put on the ball to curl it away from keeper Tyler Deric was very impressive indeed.

The truth is that this match could have been won by either team but both goalkeepers made stunning saves to safeguard a point for each side.  Deric saved point blank shots from Morales in the first half and Christian Techera in the second.  The latter was a truly spectacular save.  Ousted’s late save from a header from seven yards out was just as magnificent.  Ousted dove to his right and parried a sure goal onto the crossbar, which was the second crossbar Houston hit in the second half.  While the game ended as a tie they should have given three points each to the goalkeepers, who were the outstanding players on this night.

All in all it was a poor match which illustrated that once you take a few starters out of an MLS first 11, the squad is pretty slim pickings in terms of footballing quality.  10 v 10 opened up the field meaning it was an exciting game, but, save for well taken goals from Beasley and Rivero, there was precious little to see in terms of attractive or sophisticated football.

Had the referee let Morales and Alex stay on the pitch, this would have been a much better game to watch.  God only knows what the midweek clown act known as DisCo (the MLS discipline Committee) will make of the sending offs.  I anticipate another stupid decision or a confirmation of the referee’s stupid decision.  Like the referees in MLS matches, the DisCo consistently leaves soccer fans scratching their heads in disbelief.

MLS fans deserve better.





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  1. MLS fans do deserve better. One has to question why a fan should pay good money to see games spoiled by dreadful refereeing or subsequent hideous acts of sabotage by the DISCO mob.

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