What a spectacle! 48,000 fans out to watch soccer on a weekday night in Vancouver. It was a poor match, mostly because of the appalling field turf. It appeared to be a kind of patchwork quilt made from old generation fieldturf. The ball was not only bouncing in the annoying manner it does with field turf, it was also bouncing up every time it hit a crease. Consequently, Beckham could not show his fine ball skills. He was clearly taking it easy, and seemed to step very gingerly as he went. He was not match fit because of his injuries, and he played in a manner to suggest he was trying not to aggravate any of his ailments. Still, I am a great Beckham fan and it was a pleasure to see him. He is the complete package, being a great human being as well as a great footballer.
There are those who say that Beckham is no longer a top footballer but I disagree entirely. He was England’s best player in the last World Cup and McLaren’s decision to drop him from the squad has proven to put a nail through the coffin of England’s Euro 2008 chances. He would be in my starting squad every time because of his experience, skill, and most importantly, his attitude. Just look at what he did for Real Madrid in the run to the La Liga title last year. And that after Capello benched him earlier in the season! Make no mistake, Beckham will make his mark on American footy, and it will be a great one…
The Caps have every reason to be proud and took the game to the Galaxy. They were unlucky not to score and poor Eddie Sebrango will have a few sleepless nights after missing a penalty. Though the match was poor due to the pitch the night was made worth it by the fact that the crowd chanted White-Caps! like we used to do back in the 70’s and 80’s!
The job of coach of the Whitecaps must look like a very attractive proposition right now. A new training center, an owner with lots of cash to spend, and a future which includes a new soccer stadium and possible entry into the MLS. It is clear the Caps need someone with a relatively high profile with a proven record of success. They also want someone who is going to have the team play attractive soccer. Our team had attractive soccer when Dale Mitchell coached us, but he is otherwise occupied with the Canadian National team. Nick Dasovic has put his hat in the ring, but I don’t think he quite has enough experience to coach a team of the Caps profile.
Former national team coach Frank Yallop would be ideal, but is he obtainable? He certainly has the pedigree to coach the team, and would attract quality players with his reputation for success. But would he want to step down a level from MLS to coach a team that aspires to be in the MLS? A lot of money would need to be offered to get him to do this? I, for one, think that he would be worth every penny.
Another guy who would be great would be Colin Miller, currently an assistant coach with Derby County. Colin has an established link to the Lover Mainland and would have the drive and ability to take the team to the next level. He was a fantastic player, who played for Rangers in the SPL. Again, it would take a lot of money to pry him from the Premier League to come home.
Another possibility is Peter Beardsley, who spent some time with our strikers in the summer, unfortunately to no good effect! Beardsley’s name is still legend in Vancouver but again, where would he get his players from? A few years ago the caps took a couple of English youth on with Beardsley’s blessing, and both of them never got a game because they were to small and too slow… Hardly a ringing endorsement of his ability to spot talent.
Of the three names I have heard, Yallop seems ideal because he knows the North American scene. Miller I would rate as second best because his experience at top flight as a coach is not yet established. Daso needs more experience as well, but one for the future for sure. Beardsley? Great publicity but would we get the good players and win games?
Much as we hate em, you have to give credit to the Sounders and their owner Hanauer (Sp?) for winning so many bloody championships. They look like they thrashed Atlanta, but from reports it looks like it was closer than the score (4-0) would indicate. The fact it was played at Starfire rather than downtown Seattle was rather disappointing. Still more disapointing was that a final should be played on fieldturf, the soccer killer.
In any event, rumours abound that MLS is close to giving Seattle a franchise. Sports Illustrated actually announced it had happened but since then a clarification has come to say not yet…
I would miss the Sounders should they leave. Who would we hate? We would have to follow them into the MLS in order to thrash them again.
The owner can’t be pleased… It really was a bad year for the Vancouver Whitecaps as a whole. 2006 was a fabulous year, with both teams winning their championships and Vancouver City Hall giving unanimous approval to the Caps to proceed to the next step in their stadium drive.
This year the Stadium is stuck in red tape, the Women’s team did not make the playoffs and the Mens team set a new team record for most games played without winning. Watching the Caps this year was like watching paint dry and it showed with the number of empty seats present at the only playoff game this year against Portland. In some ways, the team was its own worst enemy. In the first place, the Whitecaps Women’s team loaned out all of their best players to the Women’s World Cup effort. It will pay next year with a more experienced squad, but for this year it weakened the Women’s team to the point that they missed the playoffs. Our Owner also helped foot the bill for staging the U-20 World Cup which was fabulous but interrupted the Men’s season and made them go on an extended road trip from which the Caps never really recovered.
We had hoped the Caps would repeat as champions and better their league placing, but they went down to seventh rather than up and it was clear that they were not getting anywhere near the championship trophy.
It is hard to know who to blame but Bob Lilley took it on the chin for a start. I had hoped Lilley would be signed by the Caps years ago because I thought he was the one who could take us to a championship: I was right about that. People did not generally like the way his team played though. Lilley’s philosophy was discipline, defence and hard work. Goals would come if this plan was followed. It worked last year, but this year it was stale and predictable. Discipline and fitness are wonderful, and defence is necessary but is this why we go to soccer matches? No. We want to see goals and creative play as well. This year there was precious little of either.
I was glad to see Lenarduzzi say that he wants to get a coach who will play more entertaining soccer. I hope he is right.
We need to sign more exciting players as well. The signings this year were solid but unspectacular. We need solid AND spectacular. The standard of play in the USL is getting better every year, and the athletes are faster and more fit than ever before. We will need better ball players to break down the well organized defences. I think we should go about the league and buy some of the more creative players out there. I always liked Johnny Menyongar who currently plays for Rochester…
I am sure Greg Kerfoot and Bob Lenarduzzi will will want to rebound next year after what has been a year to forget…