Whitecaps blow it in extra time again

July 10, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps 2016, Whitecaps Season 2016 | 1 Comment
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Shit!  Did that just happen again?

Wasn’t it just ten days ago that the Whitecaps  were up 2-1 in injury time? Weren’t we fans already savouring the victory that was to come?  Didn’t the Whitecaps then blow it in injury time by conceding a stupid goal with no time left on the clock?

It really was deja vu all over again in the worst possible way.  The Whitecaps are leaving championships and wins on the table because of late, late, defensive errors.  It feels like the Whitecaps are punching us fans in the stomach.  No doubt Carl Robinson feels the same way we fans do.

What was inexcusable was the fact that the Whitecaps had the numerical advantage when Colorado equalized: Colorado’s Eric Miller had been sent off for a nasty tackle on Pedro Morales in the 71st minute.  You would think the Whitecaps would use their numerical advantage to keep possession of the ball in injury time, or at least to aggressively try to take the ball off of Colorado’s players.  But no, the Whitecaps turtled, fell asleep ball-watching and let the Rapids have the ball without proper challenges.  Colorado were allowed to run rings around the Whitecaps until they scored.   Where is the leadership and where are the brains?

Robinson started the match with Perez up front and Manneh playing behind him with Morales and Bolanos on the flanks.  Jacobsen and Laba played defensive midfield in front of what seemed like a strong back four of Smith, Waston, Parker and Harvey.  David Ousted played brilliantly in goal again.

The match started well with Waston getting on the end of another wonderful Bolanos cross which swung in towards Colrado keeper Tim Howard’s back post.  The ball was so accurate that Waston was able to meet it with no real challenge.  Waston’s point blank header bounced off of a helpless Howard into the net.  The home crowd were buoyant and the Whitecaps were up 1-0 after only ten minutes of play.

The mood turned sombre however, when Kekuta Manneh limped off the field with a bad ankle after being fouled in midfield just before half time.  He was spotted in a walking cast later on, and our brilliant, if inconsistent, Manneh looked to be seriously injured, adding to the Whitecaps scoring problems. Robinson brought Hurtado in with speed clearly a priority.

The Colorado Rapids have been one of the big surprises this year in MLS.  They were in the basement of the Western Conference last year and now sit near the top in second place.  They were able to move the ball quickly and intelligently between their players, which often caught the Whitecaps flat footed.  Some quick intelligent runs led to the Rapid’s equalizer from former Wolverhampton and Ireland striker Kevin Doyle.  Doyle was supplied a perfect through ball from Shkelzen Gashi which Doyle then slid past Ousted to equalize the match after 58 minutes.

Waston was getting things done at both ends of the pitch, saving a goal with a goal-line header.

Circumstances turned strongly in the Whitecaps favour when Colorado’s Miller flipped Pedro Morales over with a nasty tackle from behind.  Miller was sent off by referee Allen Chapman.

The big American goalkeeper Howard made a superb save off of Bolanos, who had thrown himself into a volley when he was found by a Hurtado flick-on at the far post.  Howard used his foot to stop a sure goal.  It was a world class save.  At that point it looked like the Whitecaps would not score, but they did eventually score late in the match.

The Whitecaps pressed for the winner to no avail until Morales, still limping from Miller’s tackle, was taken off for Techera.   Fellow substitute Nico Mezquida found Techera with a high ball that Colorado could not cope with.  Techera was through alone and Colorado defender Watts pulled him on the shoulder.  Techera went down like a ton of bricks and the referee fell for it.  It was a very soft penalty, but there is no doubt Watts pulled on Techera’s shoulder. The Wee man took the responsibility of taking the penalty and put it into the net, with Howard guessing the right way and getting a touch, to his credit.

With only three minutes left of regular time the Whitecaps looked to have won the match.  All they needed to do was to keep the ball with their eleven men against Colorado’s ten to win 2-1.  There were five minutes of injury time and the Whitecaps ceded possession of the ball to Colorado and invited them to attack.  It was a crucial tactical error that cost the Whitecaps the win.

The Whitecaps did a lot of ball watching during injury time and eventually that former Wolves man Doyle got the ball in between the Whitecaps midfield and defensive line and ran at the Whitecaps back four.  Waston ran out to meet him, but Doyle got around him, leaving the big Costa Rican to chase him.  Doyle used his advantage to chip the ball to the far post over a despairing Jordan Harvey, who had failed to pick up defender Axel Sjoberg at the far post.  Sjoberg deftly headed past Ousted from a steep angle and the ball wafted gently into the side netting at the opposite side of the goal.

Rapids celebrated their stunning achievement.  The game was over with a 2-2 tie instead of a win for the Whitecaps.  For the second home game on the trot, the Whitecaps had thrown a good result away during injury time.  Last year’s defensive strength has mysteriously disappeared from the Whitecaps 2016 repertoire.

Soon after the game came the news that Marcel De Jong and David Edgar, two Canadian defenders, would be joining the club.  Let’s hope this proves helpful because the Whitecaps need to go back to the drawing board where defending is concerned.

With Octavio Rivero off to Chilean club Colo Colo, there are real problems at the other end of the pitch as well, especially if Manneh’s injury proves to be as serious as it looked.

With goals flying in to our net and no real heir to striker Rivero in sight, it looks like it might to be a tough summer for the boys in blue and white and their fans.

 

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  1. With Rivero ON the pitch there were serious problems on the other end…best thing about this game was that waste of space was gone.


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