Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whitecaps Complete Deal With Fan Favourite

The Whitecaps inked French defender Mouloud Akloul today, one of the most popular players on the team, even though he has yet to play a full match for the team.  Akloul was signed to a division 2 contract last year with the hopes of that his play would earn him a spot on the MLS roster in 2011.  Unfortunately he hasn't been injury free since last April when he broke his ankle while scoring a goal twenty minutes into his Whitecaps debut.  Despite that injury which has required follow up surgeries it should come as no surprise that Akloul is signed to a MLS roster spot.

Akloul was born and spent his early soccer days training in France while holding dual citizenship for both his country of birth and Algeria.  He started his youth career in France and played in Ligue 2 for several years before moving in 2007 to play his club football in the Algerian League.  Akloul spent less than a year in Algeria as he decided to move to the United Arab Emirates to play for a couple of seasons with Al-Ittihad Kalba.  He was discovered by Tom Sohen in a match played by unsigned players in Switzerland and signed to a contract with the Whitecaps.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Abscences Will Test Depth At Key Positions

At the beginning of the season there was a question of depth for the Whitecaps and whether the team could handle a rash of injuries.  Unfortunately for the Teitur and the Caps the answer is required sooner rather than later as the roster could be without up to nine players available for selection this Saturday against Sporting KC.  The latest in the injury cavalcade is Captain Jay DeMerit who tweaked his groin in the international friendly for the United States against Paraguay.  Along with the list of injuries can be included a suspension and a couple of players who are on international duty for their countries.

In addition to the injury to DeMerit, who is still to be evaluated by the medical staff, the Whitecaps are still without midfielders Shea Salinas, Davide Chiumiento, John Thorrington, Micheal Nanchoff and goalkeeper Jay Nolly.  Of those players Thorrington and Nolly are the only players that have a chance to play against Sporting KC.  Eric Hassli, the team’s Designated Player, is out due to a suspension from receiving two yellow cards against Philadelphia.  Both their 1st overall choice Omar Salgado, who just received transfer papers and homegrown player Russell Teibert, already with two starts, are off with their national squads at the U20 CONCACAF tournament.

Monday, March 28, 2011

MLS Power Rankings: Week 2

RSL jumps to the top spot after an impressive victory over the Galaxy.  Most surprising result of the week was San Jose's 2-0 victory in Dallas.  Accordingly, the Earthquakes were the biggest risers and FC Dallas dropped the most as last year's runner-ups continue to struggle at home.  The Whitecaps dropped 3 spots after losing their first game on the road in Philadelphia.

Last Week's Ranking in Parentheses.

1. Real Salt Lake (4)
Record: 2W-0L-0D
Last Week:  4-1 Win vs Los Angeles Galaxy
Next Week:  No Match
RSL’s dominance at home continues as they pound the Galaxy while being shorthanded.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grading Vancouver's Performance After Match Two

Two matches into the first season the Whitecaps have now tasted victory and defeat in the MLS as they lost to the second year Philadelphia Union.  Although it was a defeat and the Caps saw their designated player sent off, there were some positives that the Whitecaps can take away from the game.  Below are the grades for the players who made an appearance in the second game of the season.


Atiba Harris-After scoring the winning goal last week, Harris put in another solid effort as he worked hard and earned some fouls for the team.  He still struggles with his touch around the box as he had a couple chances to put the Caps ahead but couldn’t get his shot off.  GRADE: B-

Eric Hassli-He played his typical physical game but it was too physical for the referee of the match as he sent off before the 60th minute.  After receiving his first yellow card,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shorthanded Whitecaps Fall 1-0 to Philadelphia Union

The Whitecaps went into their first match on the road missing some key players and it showed in the final score as the Philadelphia Union defeated Vancouver 1-0.  The Whitecaps had four different starters as in their starting eleven as Davide Chiumiento and Jay Nolly were suffering from injuries while Jay DeMerit and Micheal Boxall were off for international duty.  In addition to those missing player, Russell Teibert was only going to play 65 minutes due to an agreement with U20 national coach.

Despite the missing players the Whitecaps started strong as they attacked the Philadelphia Union’s backline but were unable to capitalize on the pressure.  Twenty minutes into the game the second year team settled down as the Whitecaps conceded the majority of possession to the Union.  The 26th minute saw the referee give Eric Hassli a yellow card for incidental contact and it started a rash of cards as a total of five yellows were issued in the last twenty minutes of the half.  The Whitecaps outshot the Union a total of 6-2 in the first half despite not possessing the ball the majority of first 45.

Whitecaps FC vs Philadelphia Union: Live Chat

Plans May Change For Whitecaps With Salgado's Arrival

It was announced on Friday that Omar Salgado would not have to wait until September to make his MLS and Whitecaps debut.  Both the league and the organization were able to convince FIFA to make an exception to the rule that would have delayed the start to the teenager’s professional career.  Normally a player under the age of eighteen can’t play professionally for a team outside of their country but the exception was made as the team’s argument that MLS was a North American league must have changed FIFA’s mind.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kevin Harmse Added To The Roster

The Vancouver Whitecaps have increased the Canadian content on their roster with the signing of MLS veteran Kevin Harmse.  The signing was announced a day before the team’s first road game in Philadelphia where the Caps are thin at CB with the international call ups of Jay DeMerit and Micheal Boxall.  With last week’s starters not available, the Whitecaps were looking at possibly starting either Bilall Duckett or Jeb Brovsky alongside Greg Janicki.  It was a scary scenario as both Duckett and Brovsky are rookies who haven’t played the position regularly and Janicki is coming off an injury that made him miss last week’s opener.  Of course if Harmse does get the start it will be his first MLS action since June 2009 when he played for Toronto FC.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MLS Power Rankings: Week 1

1. Los Angeles Galaxy
Record:  1W-0L-1D
Last Week: 1-0 Win at Seattle, 1-1 Draw vs New England
The Galaxy followed up an impressive win in Seattle with a puzzling draw at home vs the lowly Revolution.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whitecaps FC Positional Review

There were very few negatives for the Vancouver Whitecaps in their first game as a MLS franchise versus national rivals TFC.  The midfield and forward positions played an almost flawless game offensively creating and finishing their opportunities.  The backline had a couple of breakdowns which Toronto FC took full advantage of by converting them into goals.  Here is a quick rundown individually and by position of how the Whitecaps rated in their first match.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Caps Blast TFC To Win 1st Match In MLS

The Vancouver Whitecaps opened their 2011 season with a victory in their MLS franchise debut with a 4-2 victory over Canadian rivals Toronto FC.  The home side got goals from Atiba Harris, Vancouverite Terry Dunfield and two goals from recent DP signing Eric Hassli.  Toronto responded with goals from Maicon Santos and Captain Dwayne De Rosario.  The Whitecaps surprised many with their offensive output as many “experts” in MLS world questioned where the goals were going to come from.

The outburst began 15 minutes in when Hassli received a cross into the box by Chiumiento, that was momentarily touched by Harris, and scored the Caps first ever goal with a left foot.  TFC then replied in the 20th minute as Santos sent the ball through to De Rosario, who got in behind Boxall, and the captain of TFC slid it past Nolly for a historic 8,000th goal in MLS history.  Only 6 minutes later Chiumiento laid the ball perfectly for local Terry Dunfield who got past the TFC backline to score the Caps 2nd goal of the half and  then leap into the Empire Field crowd.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whitecaps Announce Four More Signings

 The Whitecaps are rounding out their roster with the signings of four more players to MLS contracts just two days before the opener against TFC.  The additions include 1 domestic player (LM Russell Teibert) and 3 international players (CM Alex Morfaw, CB Michael Boxall and ST Camillo).  The roster now stands at 27 players with Whitecaps having the ability to sign up to three more international players.  With Cornelieus Stewart starting with the PDL and the same for Ridge Mobulu, the Caps have only Mouloud Akloul as the international left unsigned in camp.  Canadian Kevin Harmse is another recent addition and may still be an option for a domestic spot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whitecaps FC Season Preview

The Vancouver Whitecaps kick off their initial season in less than three days against Canadian rival Toronto FC at Empire Field.  The buildup in the city for the opening match has been incredible especially the 30 Day Countdown campaign by the Whitecaps marketing department.  Of course what matters is what is on the pitch and the following is a final breakdown of the roster the Whitecaps will start with and where they may finish by the end of the season.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whitecaps Sign Three For The Future

The Whitecaps announced the addition of three domestic players to the roster with the signings of draft picks Jeb Brovsky, Bilal Duckett and academy product Brian Sylvestre.  While Sylvestre is considered a homegrown product and doesn't count against the salary cap, the other two are eligible to count as developmental players under 25 years old and may not count against the cap.  The signings bring the Whitecaps roster to 23 with 18 players counting as domestic and 5 international players.  The Whitecaps can only sign up to 5 more international players and while according to roster rules there is no limit on the domestic side, there are only two domestic footballers in camp (Teibert and Harmse).  Contract details were not announced by the team.

2011 MLS Western Conference Preview

Real Salt Lake

Strengths:  RSL are strong all over but they are known for a stingy defense led by a solid backline who play well as a unit.

Weaknesses:  The only thing that hurt this team’s chances is a rash of injuries or the players reading preseason headlines.

MVP: A top notch player Alvaro Saborio is one of the best finishers in the MLS and will be a candidate for the Golden Boot and MVP.

Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 MLS Eastern Conference Preview

New York Red Bulls

Strengths:  With Rafa Marquez moving to backline the Red Bulls now have solidified the centre half position as the combo of the Mexican international and sophomore Tim Ream will be formidable.

Weaknesses:  As strong as the CBs are that is how questionable the full back position is.  Roy Miller will have to play a consistent season on the left side and Backe hopes that someone unseats Chris Albright on the right side.

MVPThierry Henry will have to contribute more in the goal department in order to help make up for the loss of top goalscorer Juan Pablo Angel.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Whitecaps Add Two To Roster

The Whitecaps expanded their roster by two with the signings of  midfielder/defender Blake Wagner and forward Long Tan.  Both players spent last season in USSF Division 2 soccer last season, Wagner with Caps and Tan with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.  They also come with different experience levels as Tan comes with no MLS games and Wagner is a former Generation Adidas player.  The Caps are looking for both to contribute this season and be able to chip in a few timely goals.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Formation Moron: Whitecaps Edition

With so many different additions to the Whitecaps over the last year, head man Teitur Thoradson has had to make some changes to the formation he will employ in the MLS.  In the past few season in Thoradson has employed a very traditional 4-4-2 formation in Division 2 soccer.  However, without any proven strikers last year there was a lack of scoring and the Whitecaps were forced to play many goalless draws.  The Caps also were without significant speed in the wide midfield and Teitur did not want get caught defensively which is why both Davies and Wagner would hang back and fill the box with crosses.  Because the outside midfielders didn’t attack the box there would be very little the fullbacks could do offensively and the Whitecaps relied on the central midfielders to support the attack which exposed the defense.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whitecaps Finalize Deal With Swiss Playmaker

The Whitecaps have finalized and announced the signing of forward/midfielder Davide Chiumiento who was once described as the Swiss Ronaldinho.  After helping his former team earn a birth in the Europa League the Swiss international signed with the D2 Caps on a free transfer during the summer of 2010 from Lucerne of the Swiss League.  The former Juventus academy product tries to pattern his game after his childhood hero and Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero.  While primarily having played as a winger or as an attacking midfielder, he came to Vancouver with the desire to play the second striker position and he looks to have earned the spot.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Whitecaps Close Cascadia Summit With A Win

The Vancouver Whitecaps ended the Cascadia Summit with a flurry of goals as they defeated the Seattle Sounders 3-2 before a majority pro-Sounder crowd in Tukwila, Washington.  Both teams rolled their “B” teams with Jay Nolly, Greg Janicki and Wesley Knight the only Whitecaps to start both games.  The starting eleven for the Whitecaps were from left to right Nolly, Duckett, Boxall, Janicki, Knight, Teibert, Morfaw, Koffie, Khalfan, Salgado and Sanvezzo.

The Caps opened the scoring in the sixth minute as 1st overall pick Omar Salgado got past a Seattle defender to deposit the ball in the back of the net.  Salgado, in fact, started the game on fire as he consistently got past the defenders to get more scoring opportunities and forced the Sounders to commit fouls.  In the 13th minute goalkeeper Terry Boss of the Sounders mishandled a cross by Russell Teibert which resulted in a second goal.  The Whitecaps were caught looking in the box as Roger Levesque scored an easy one on Jay Nolly from close in right before halftime.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whitecaps Open Cascadia Summit With A Draw

In their first meeting as MLS rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers ended the game in a 1-1 draw.  It was the Whitecaps first match of the Cascadia Summit while the Timbers played their second one in two days.  After defeating the Seattle Sounders on Friday, the Oregon team came into their second game with basically their second unit.  Because of injuries the Caps started seven of their most likely starters when the season starts on March 11th.  

Portland opened the scoring when Jay Nolly mishandled a shot off the post as it bounced right to Ryan Pore who made no mistake by depositing it into the net.  The Timbers carried play for the first 20 minutes until Long Tan and Atiba Harris starting working well as a tandem in the final third.  Harris had a couple of chances missing a clear chance and then hitting the post from about 25 yards out.  The Whitecaps had the control of play when a shot by Blake Wagner was stopped by goalkeeper Aidan Brown but went off defender David  Horst as an own goal.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cascadia Summit Preview

This weekend will see the renewal of a 30+ year trivalry between the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps with the first Cascadia Summit taking place in Tukwila Washington.  After a two year hiatus, the Sounders being in the MLS, all three teams are in the same league and can compete for the Cascadia Cup in 2011.  The Summit will consist of a one match between each team over the three days and also includes a double header on March 6th where the Sounders Academy will play the Whitecaps Residency squad before the senior teams play later.

Whitecaps Acquire FC Zurich Striker

There has been one thing constantly talked about since preseason camp began in Arizona for the Whitecaps.  Who is going to score the goals?  The panic felt by the fans and discussed by the media doesn’t seem to worry the Whitecaps organization or at least they don’t show it.  As reported on the weekend, Director of Operations Tom Sohen was in Switzerland looking for help at the forward position.  It took only a few days but the Whitecaps have found their man in Eric Hassili, a striker from the Swiss Super League

A teammate with Alain Rochat at FC Zurich, Eric Hassli is a 29 year old French forward who comes to the Caps as the proven goalscorer fans were looking for.  The team is second in the Axpo Super League but Hassli is probably fourth on depth chart as the team is going with younger strikers and Hassli is coming off a serious leg injury.  He is a known for his strength as he is a 6’4” forward with good technical skills and has scored the spectacular goal on occasion as you can see in the video below.  He is by no means slow on the field as his blend of speed and size is what the Whitecaps are looking for in a striker.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rogers Sportsnet Gain Local Broadcast Rights

The Whitecaps have completed the final piece of their broadcast sponsorship by agreeing with Rogers Sportsnet to broadcast the remaining of their 21 MLS games as a local provider.  By agreeing to this deal with Rogers the Whitecaps were not afraid to go against their shirt sponsorship deal with Bell and completing an agreement with their competitor.  Sportsnet will air 11 matches on their Pacific channel, 9 matches on their One Channel and 1 match on CityTV.  At this point it is assumed that the broadcast team will be Gerry Dobson and former Canadian goalkeeper Craig Forrest.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DeMerit Named Captain of Whitecaps

The Whitecaps did what was expected and named their first MLS signing, Jay DeMerit, as the first ever captain.  One of the main reasons DeMerit was signed by the MLS expansion team last November is the leadership he brings on and off the pitch.  The former captain of English side Watford took the long road to success in football by starting at the lowest levels of club football in the UK and making his way to the English Premier League.  The United States World Cup veteran will anchor the back line for the Whitecaps on the field and is the face of the franchise for the mainstream public following the team locally and across the league