Last night the Whitecaps looked like crap and played like it too. We fans were subjected to the awful brown uniform again, which in my view is a disgrace to the club. Perhaps it is best the team played in a uniform that has nothing to do with the club’s tradition because it helped disguise the fact that the Vancouver Whitecaps were the team that was playing such awful football last night at BC Place.
I had gone to the match in an optimistic frame of mind thinking our squad was deep enough to withstand the loss of DeMerit to injury, Koffee to suspension, and Richards and Mattocks to an international friendly. After all, Dallas were missing some players as well. How naive I was. At the end of the night, the only joy was seeing the debut of teenage striker Caleb Clarke, who looked very good indeed, especially when he replaced our ineffective designated player Kenny Miller. Let’s face it, in the time that Miller has had on the pitch in a Vancouver Whitecaps jersey (Brown or otherwise) he has shown us nothing so far. Last night was his first start for the club, and he squandered his chance to show us something special. He has yet to figure out the weird bounce the ball takes off the fieldturf at BC Place.
Our other Scottish designated player Barry Robson also needs to look at himself in the mirror. Our captain and central midfielder was played off of the pitch by David Ferreira, Dallas’ central midfielder. I have argued in my blog for some time now that we need a talented central or South American midfielder to boss our midfield, and last night proved my point yet again. Robson looked like he was playing with dutch wooden clogs instead of football boots when you compared his play with that of Ferreira.
If you were to look at the match as a match of designated players, theirs were clearly superior to ours, and it turns out that was the difference in the match, as Ferreira created two goals and Castillo scored one for Dallas. Our designated players came up with one yellow card, received by Robson for petulantly kicking the ball away late in the match.
Atiba Harris, John Thorrington, and Andy O’Brien stood in for the other absent players, and none of them did particularly well. Harris is out of shape and not sharp after a long layoff due to injury, and Thor could not fill the big hole left by the suspended Gershon Koffie. Poor Andy O’Brien played well, but two matches in four days is a lot to ask for a guy who hasn’t played regular competitive matches for a long time. He was out-sprinted and out- muscled by Ferreira on Dallas’ second goal. On Castillo’s first goal our defence was uncharacteristically caught sleeping and flat-footed. If DeMerit was on the pitch, I doubt it would have happened.
It was enough to make you curse international football, as the loss of Richards and Mattocks to a Jamaica friendly took all of the speed and urgency out of our team. The referee did not help matters as the game was slowed to a snail’s pace by his constant whistle-blowing. The Whitecaps could not settle down into a rhythm of any kind and were bereft of ideas going forward.
It was a night to forget, made all the more forgetful by the awful brown uniforms the Whitecaps wore. Perhaps the team was depressed to be playing in that dark muddy colour. Rennie should have repeated a gesture made by his countryman Alex Ferguson, who once famously changed Manchester United’s grey kit at half time and sent his boys back out in United’s real colours: United proceeded to win the match with the team’s proper uniform.
As far as I am concerned, I would be happy to see the players take their brown kit off and burn it in the centre circle.
The June monsoon season began in Vancouver yesterday, and the Vancouver Whitecaps celebrated by putting their team out wearing a sludge-brown 3rd kit for the first time. Even the bad taste of front office and the Adidas kit men could not take the shine off of this brilliant match, however.
Whitecaps Coach Martin Rennie started his usual compact formation with one striker, Mattocks, and five midfielders: Le Toux, Koffie, Davidson, Thorrington, and Chiumiento. Our virtually impenetrable back line of DeMerit, Bonjour, Lee, and Rochat was backed up by Joe Cannon in goal.
It really was a game of two halves. In the first half the Whitecaps seemed to have trouble spotting each other in their murky brown kits. I found it hard to see them as well. If it was the Whitecap’s goal to camouflage the team so that they and their fans could not see each other, they succeeded well. The Whitecaps scrambled about in midfield passing the ball poorly, lacking in ideas, their only hope seeming to be the “Hail Mary” pass over the top for Mattocks to run on to. The Whitecaps did not start to move the ball properly up field until the second half.
At half time it was the Vancouver Swamp Things 0 and the Colorado Rapids 0.
The match seemed to be scripted by Hollywood to be some kind of Pirates of the Caribbean story in which Joe Cannon played the hero, pulling off some incredible saves that won the game for the Whitecaps. Like the hero in any adventure film, Cannon had some fantastic luck and some help from his friends, notably Martin Bonjour, who threw his body in front of a sure goal late in the game to stop it when Cannon was down and out.
Darren Mattocks showed an unfortunate dramatic turn himself when he flung himself down in Colorado’s penalty area as though he had been shot by a hidden sniper. He got a yellow card for simulation, then had himself sent off in the next minute when he crashed into Colorado’s right back with a reckless late tackle. After his spectacular performance in the last two games, Mattocks proved himself to be still a foolish rookie. Due to Mattocks hi jinx the Whitecaps faced the last 30 minutes a man down. It was not looking good.
In a bizarre reversal of fortune, the Whitecaps actually benefitted from Mattocks’ sending off. The Whitecaps remained a strong and solid unit because they had lost only their lone striker. Colorado were complacent and took the pedal off the metal, preferring to take their time or to settle for a draw. The Whitecaps stayed alert and worked their asses off. Coach Rennie wisely chose to stand pat for 20 minutes rather than to make any immediate substitutions.
In the 80th minute, Rennie was about to bring Camillo on in a bid to win the match when Le Toux volleyed a perfectly weighted long cross from Chiumiento into the net with his right foot. Le Toux had a bad match prior to this and could have had 4 goals in the game but for his poor finishing. He potted the one the team needed, which was odd because it was the hardest of all of his chances to put away. Rennie told Camillo to sit back down and Jordan Harvey was brought on to defend the lead while Chiumiento came off.
It almost backfired as the Caps immediately collapsed into their penalty area and came under heavy pressure. Rennie brought Hassli on for Thorrington in the 85th minute to give the team some dimension. It worked to relieve the pressure, and the big man’s influence led to a few more scoring chances for the Whitecaps.
The last ten minutes were absolutely thrilling, with the Whitecaps performing heroics to keep the win; the cross bar and posts did their bit to help us as well. Le Toux had a break away to make it 2-0 but he again fluffed what should have been a relatively easy goal for a professional footballer.
With the thrills this match provided, I don’t see all of those empty seats at BC Place being empty for long. Fantastic stuff, in spite of the awful brown uniform.
The Vancouver Whitecaps introduced their 3rd kit today. I had hoped the introduction of a third kit would reflect the tradition and history of the Vancouver Whitecaps, but it appears the front office are so ashamed or unaware of their own team’s history they would rather not reflect it in the team’s uniform. I note that in a recent tour of the Whitecaps uniform on the Whitecaps site featuring Greg Zlazura, the 1979 Soccer Bowl winning uniform was not featured at all, and was only shown in the briefest manner. This is shameful, because the club’s history and that 1979 uniform are something to be proud of.
Recently the Portland Timbers revealed their design for a 3rd kit. The Timbers have taken the opportunity with their third kit to have a design which recalls the Timbers years in the North American Soccer League. It is a beauty, and it is clear the club has respect for its tradition and history. You can see it here: http://www.portlandtimbers.com/news/2011/12/timbers-third-kit-mixture-past-and-present. Rather than following this fine example, the Whitecaps front office have brought shame to the club.
All of this begs the question: what the hell is going on at the Whitecaps front office? The front office seems to have some kind of bizarre pathological desire to bury the 1979 uniform which reflects the best and most successful era of the club’s history. How can Bob Lenarduzzi (who draped his book in the colours of the classic 1979 uniform), and Carl Valentine live with themselves? They should have thrown their bodies in front of this project to stop it! Who is making these idiotic decisions?
With this new kit, we have gone down the path of the Vancouver Canucks: when you go to a Vancouver Canucks game, the crowd is wearing a messy array of past uniform disasters. The Whitecaps are now repeating this stupidity. The crowd will look like a messy pizza. It will look like it is supporting several different teams. This is not good for the club.
In any event, according to the soulless dictates of the Vancouver Whitecaps merchandising team, we will now have to resign ourselves to sitting next to idiots who want to show how clever and different they are by wearing poo-brown to a Vancouver Whitecaps game. Incredible.
I was starting to get used to the Whitecaps MLS uniforms, which I consider to be of very poor design and quality from both the Whitecaps and Adidas, now I will be subjected to watching the Whitecaps play in poo-brown for a reported four matches this season. I suppose our new chant for the team will be as follows: “we’re Martin Rennie’s shit-brown army!”
While this year’s Vancouver Whitecaps are an improvement on the field, the front office is performing very poorly indeed. John furlong’s first initiative with the club is an absolute disaster. While this has been planned for a long time before he arrived, he could have stopped it and brought forward a kit that we can be proud of as Vancouver Whitecaps fans. While our Cascadia rivals play to packed stadiums, BC place is only three quarters full for matches; actual attendance at matches has gone down since last year. Now to top it off we have to watch the team play in a poo-brown uniform.
It is time for our absentee owners to wake up to the reality that the front office is letting the team down. Co-owners Nash and Mallet in particular wax eloquent about attending matches when they were younger back in the 1970’s and early eighties, but did they ever see the team play in brown? Absolutely not! Where the hell are these guys?
While some may say the management of the team and the colour of its uniform are unrelated, I disagree. The Whitecaps ship is simply coasting out at sea, having lost its moorings both spiritually and operationally. It is time for the ownership group to wake up and make some demands of front office, or to do some strategic firings of people who are clearly under-performing.
While people have the right to do as they wish, I personally urge people not to buy this brown junk until we get a quality kit that we Whitecaps fans deserve. As a season ticket holder I find this move to be especially demoralizing. Messing with the clubs classic logo and uniform was bad enough, now we will have a team playing in poo-brown.
I certainly will not buy this brown rubbish.
If people wish to buy a real Vancouver Whitecaps jersey, they can do so from the following source: http://www.toffs.com/Vancouver/products/807/
2011 is no doubt going to be a joyous one for Whitecaps fans, but will take some patience. Here are the downsides:
1. Dreadful New Uniform
Rather than preserving the iconic and classic 1979 uniform in any way the Whitecaps and Adidas came up with a horribly bland and characterless strip. Can you imagine a club like Boca Juniors doing something like getting rid of their classic blue with the yellow hoop in the middle? Could never happen, right? No! In fact the Vancouver Whitecaps did exactly that. The Blue band across the chest is gonzo (along with the corresponding white band for the away uniform). The away jersey is just as boring as the home jersey. When the Whitecaps play in the away jersey they will look like a bunch of World War II Navy sea planes. The only consolation will be that if you squint your eyes with the white home jersey you can pretend you are watching Real Madrid. Too bad they’ll be playing a much lower standard of football! Perhaps its best that we just close our eyes altogether. I have shelled out for my season ticket, but the Whitecaps have lost money from me because I refuse to buy these dreadful jerseys…
2. Awful New Logo
If the new uniform is bad, the new logo is worse still. Rather than reflecting the natural beauty of our West Coast city, the Whitecaps have done a Vancouver Canucks (see the old yellow “V” uniform) on us and chosen a cold geometric logo which has nothing to do with our city or our team’s history. The Whitecaps logo is meant to represent a wave in the ocean, but some of the newbie internal staffers seem to think it has something to do with mountains as well. The last thing we needed was a new team myth created around something Bobby Lenarduzzi’s in-laws supposedly said. The new logo looks more like something out of the German Bundesliga than something which is fit for our West Coast paradise. A naughty yet perceptive friend of mine described the new logo as a “crystalline vagina”. Well spotted, son! I would call those who designed the new logo something quite similar.
3. Plastic grass
While great strides have been taken in artificial grass since the days of Astroturf, (which the Whitecaps used to play on back in the NASL days), nothing beats natural grass. The game just looks different on the plastic stuff, and not for the better, either. Many top players and teams will not play on it for fear of wear and tear on players bodies and nasty injuries. The one correct footballing decision Toronto FC made was getting rid of the plastic grass and replacing it with the real stuff (they still play crap football on it, however).
4. Obnoxious Newbies
Can you imagine sitting next to the guy who never showed up once to Swangard Stadium, because it wasn’t good enough for him, with his brand new awful Whitecaps kit on? God help us long time loyal supporters….
With all of those pubs nearby, the level of intoxication can only go up…
6. Higher Ticket Prices
We have been getting one hell of a sweet deal for years now, with season ticket prices giving us one of the cheapest forms of entertainment going. It was cheaper going to a Whitecaps football match than to the movies, and a hell of a lot more fun to boot! The new ticket prices have been a bit of a shock to many, and it has been a bit of a kick in the nethers to pay for those new tickets. Should I pay the mortgage or go see the footy match? Bankruptcy be damned, I’m going to the footy.
7. No More Swanny
While we complained about it all along, Swangard was our home through 1987 and 2010. Objectively speaking, it is a poor venue for football because of the running track which separates the fans from the passion on the pitch. Mind you, watching from close behind the goal in the Southside has been a joy most football fans in the world could not begin to have. We were able to get close to the action with complete freedom of movement, sing our songs, chant our chants, and socialize pretty much untouched by security. We could even chat with the players and hug them after they scored goals. The new venues will mean more rules, tighter security, less movement, and a more distant relationship with the club and its players.
8. No Soccer Specific Stadium
Vancouver Whitecaps fans must continue the push for a soccer specific stadium. While the new BC Place is going to be great, to be a truly world class football club, the Whitecaps must have their own soccer specific stadium with natural grass. The Whitecaps say their goal is to be in the top 25 football clubs in the world. If you look at the top 25 football clubs in the world, you will not find one that plays on plastic grass in a rented stadium. A top football club owns its own ground and plays on natural grass, period. Owning a soccer specific stadium with a proper grass pitch must be a long-term goal for the club. Keep the dream of Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium alive!
9. Lack of Canadian Content
The MLS rules definitely favour American players. The league has gotten rid of Canadian content rules, because, frankly, Canadian players are generally awful and have sunk TFC’s boat for 4 years in a row now. Lets hope having three Canadian MLS teams provides a boost to Canadian soccer development, because the current crop of Canadian players (and the coaches who develop them) are rubbish. Lets hope some of the Canadian Whitecaps residency players come good, and lets hope the presence of three Canadian MLS clubs raises the level of Canadian football generally.
10. Hyper Commecialization
Be prepared to be merchandised to death. Just as it is with the Vancouver Canucks, a bewildering assortment of merchandise will be available to you to help you rid yourself of your excess money (if you don’t have any excess money to buy merchandise, you will no doubt be able to put it on your Vancouver Whitecaps FC MasterCard, provided by Whitecaps sponsor BMO). If you want a Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reverse Home Mortgage to help you pay for your season’s ticket, you will probably be able to get one of those, too.
11. Poor Coverage by Journalists who don’t Know the Game
Okay, more than 10, but worth mentioning. Watch for some embarrassing clangers and prepare to cringe as local sports journalists try to grapple with reporting a game they don’t know or like.