Saturday, April 30, 2011

Caps Attempt Late Rally But Come Up Short Against The Crew

Despite a late flourish in the second half the Vancouver Whitecaps were unable to find an equalizer as they dropped their third straight MLS road match to the Columbus Crew 2-1.  The coaching staff employed a similar tactic as in their midweek victory over the Impact where they seemed to conserve energy in the first half and then were looking to push forward in the second.  Unfortunately a couple of individual mistakes allowed the Crew to capitalize and put the Whitecaps in a hole they were unable to climb out of.

The first ten minutes of the first half saw the Whitecaps open with some pressure as Chiumiento opened the game with a couple of chances including one from 20 yards that just went over the box.  Columbus then took over the last 30 minutes of the half as the Whitecaps seemed to play back and allow the home side possession.  Near the end of the half, the Caps defenders were barely able to hang on as the Crew applied heavy pressure and were given a couple of dangerous free kicks in the final third.  The Columbus Crew's multiple free kicks were not converted as both teams went into the half scoreless.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus Montreal Impact

The Whitecaps were hoping for a result and would have settled for a draw coming back to Empire for the second leg. The two Canadians on the pitch for the Whitecaps combined for the only goal of the game as Russell Teibert sent in a cross from just outside the box and Terry Dunfield headed it into the back of the net. The 1-0 victory with an away goal was a definite bonus as the Caps look very good at this moment to move on to the finals of the Nutrilite Championships.


Camilo- The Brazilian continued his strong play as he was one of the most dangerous Whitecaps in the final third. Camilo came close on a strike from outside the box which forced the Impact goalie into an acrobatic save. He was subbed off as he was being rested for the weekend. GRADE: B+

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Impact Surrenders Lead In First Leg To Whitecaps FC

The Whitecaps drew first blood in their first leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final as they defeated the Impact 1-0 at Stade Saputo.  It was clear from the naming of the starting eleven that Teitur and the Caps were just not going for a result but a win.  Nine of the game’s starters were part of the eleven that opened the season against TFC with Akloul and Wagner in place of Koffie and DeMerit.  Not only do the Whitecaps come away with a victory but they picked the important away goal.

The Impact came from the outset looking to strike early as they poured in crosses into the box looking for striker Ali Gerba.  The most dangerous cross occurred about the 16th minute when Kreamalmayer crossed in from the right wing that was snatched by Jay Nolly.  The Caps best opportunity came in the 20th when Camilo struck a ball from outside the box that Bill Gaudette acrobatically tipped over the bar.  Just before halftime Ali Gerba was sent in on a long ball that he was unable to gather as he fired the ball into the side.  Montreal came close again in injury time when a strike from distance by former Whitecap Zourab Tsiskaridze just went wide which sent both teams to halftime scoreless.

Montreal Impact vs Whitecaps FC Match Preview

Sunday, April 24, 2011

MLS Power Rankings: Week 6

There was a lot of movement in the MLS after week six, especially in the middle of the pack as some teams try to establish themselves as early contenders for the playoffs.  Chivas USA move out of the basement as they gain their first win on the road  in San Jose while FC Dallas and New England are also the biggest risers. The biggest fallers are Vancouver, San Jose, DC United (all disappointing in losses at home) and Portland (who lost badly on the road).

1. Real Salt Lake (1)
Record: 4W-0L-0D
Last Week:  No Match
Next Week:  Apr 30 at Portland Timbers
Win, Lose or Draw in the CCL, RSL must not overlook the Timbers as they travel to Portland.

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus FC Dallas

The unbeaten streak at Empire Field for the Whitecaps lasted for four games as FC Dallas defeated the MLS rookies 2-1 on Saturday.  Individual defensive breakdowns and finishing chances were the culprits for Whitecaps in their loss.  The Whitecaps will now face the hardest part of the schedule for the next three weeks when it comes to travel and fixture congestion.  The three weeks could extend to 43 days if the Caps are able to get past the Montreal Impact and advance to the Nutrilite Championship.


Camilo- He doesn’t shy away from the physical play but it does seem to be wearing Camilo down as the Brazilian is not showing the full 90 minute effort.  While he does have moments of brilliance during the game, including a shot that just missed the net, the Caps need more of a consistent game even if he still one of the better players on the pitch.  GRADE:  B-

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whitecaps Fail To Defend Empire Field

After starting the season with one win and three draws in their first four matches at Empire Field the Whitecaps gave up a pair of second half goals as they lose their first match at home FC Dallas by a score of 2-1.  The Whitecaps opened the scoring in the first half on a header by Alain Rochat while FC Dallas responded with goals by defender George John and substitute Eric Avila.  In addition to the Whitecaps losing for the first time at home it marked the first away victory for last year’s MLS Cup runner ups.

The visitors from the south started off early, earning a corner within the first minute, as they seemed to be targeting winger Brek Shea on the left side.  FC Dallas came up with the first chance as midfielder Andrew Jacobsen let loose a shot from inside the box that was blocked by Alain Rochat.  The Whitecaps were able to calm things down and started controlling possession, having a 59-41 advantage through the first half.  The Caps then capitalized on that advantage in the 25th minute when Rochat headed the ball into the far post off a cross from Davide Chiumiento. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Transfer Windows Close But Rumours Will Never Die

The MLS transfer window closed on April 15th and will not reopen again until July 15th but transfer rumours have not simmered down for the Vancouver Whitecaps.  In recent days the organization has been linked in European newspapers with the potential of Owen Hargreaves and Andriy Shevchenko arriving in the summer on free transfers.  With the European league’s seasons winding down there will be more and more of this speculation in the papers as player A will be linked to Club B.

This is just the latest round of speculation concerning the Whitecaps and the two players above as they have been linked in the past as potential acquisitions.  It either takes a small connection or one person’s whisper to fan the flames and the media will spread the rumour like wildfire.  Just take a look at the talk of the possibility of Irish striker Robbie Keane joining the Whitecaps before the season started.

Monday, April 18, 2011

MLS Power Rankings: Week 5

 After week 5 there is very little change at the top and bottom of the MLS as Real Salt Lake remain undefeated and Chivas USA are still winless.  Three teams were the biggest movers this week as both Portland and Columbus showed serious signs of being contenders for the playoffs by beating good opponents at home.  DC United along with New York had the most lop sided wins of the week but DCU accomplished their victory on the road in Toronto which makes them the biggest riser of the week.  The biggest slider was Chicago who lost by two on the road to Portland and then returned home to lose to a shorthanded Galaxy club.

1. Real Salt Lake (1)
Record: 4W-0L-0D
Last Week:  1-0 Win vs Colorado Rapids
Next Week:  No Match
RSL gets another week off as they have the 1st leg of CCL Finals this week and the 2nd next week.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus Chivas USA

The Whitecaps earned a single point against Chivas USA on Saturday even though most felt they were deserving of a better result.  While they did not have the majority of possession they certainly out chanced the visitors as they came close to breaking the deadlock.  Included in their chances were three  that just missed wide, a couple that hit woodwork, a clearance off the line and a candidate for save of the week off of Nizar Khalfan.


Eric Hassli- Hassli returned from another suspension with a strong performance as the target forward.  He had a fantastic first touch and was able to hold up the ball for Camilo and Chiumiento in the final third.  Hassli showed excellent touch as well when he delivered a couple of crosses into the box especially to Knight.  He did receive another caution for what seemed like a clean tackle so the French striker will have to be extra cautious as the referees seem to be looking for him.  GRADE:  B+

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Caps Lack Drama And Goals In Draw With Chivas

The Vancouver Whitecaps continued their unbeaten streak at home and picked up their first clean sheet of this season as they played Chivas USA to a scoreless draw.  While the match lacked the drama that Empire Field has been known for, it didn’t lack scoring opportunities for the Caps as the home team came close to gaining the full three points.  The match also saw the home debut of the first overall pick in the Super Draft as Omar Salgado came into the game in the 83rd minute to a rousing ovation.  

Despite some more line up juggling, which saw another new player in the starting eleven, the Caps opened the game with more energy than they displayed against Houston in their 3-1 defeat last week.  It almost turned into an early deficit for the Whitecaps as Chivas came very close to converting a corner kick in the 2nd minute.  The header by Marcus Mondaini was cleared off the line by goalkeeper Jay Nolly in what turned out to be the visitor’s most dangerous opportunity in the half.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Formation Moron: The Central Midfield

In the first four games of the season the central midfield seemed to be constant strength of the Whitecaps starting eleven.  The match against the Revolution saw that position turn from strength into possibly the Caps biggest weakness.  In the 38th minute the captain for the game, Terry Dunfield, crumpled onto the ground with a groin injury and had to be replaced by John Thorrington.  About six minutes later teenage sensation Gershon Koffie was shown a red card and ejected from the game on a questionable call.  Later in the week it was revealed that Koffie would be joining the Ghanaian national team for an African youth tournament and would be gone for a month.
Koffie and Dunfield

The Whitecaps assumed that with John Thorrington over his injury issues in the preseason would be able to handle one position but he received a new injury to his calf.  With Alex Morfaw also nursing a hand injury, the Caps had their top four central midfielders unavailable for selection.  It forced Thoradson to start rookie Jeb Brovsky and defender Alain Rochat in the middle against Houston on Sunday.  That combination didn’t work as the Whitecaps not only have much possession, they also could not muster much in offensive chances.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus Dynamo

Playing in their third game in eight days the Whitecaps knew it would be tough task going into Houston and get a result.  However, the match turned out even worse than the scoreboard would indicate as the Caps may have lost their captain for an extended period of time due to injury.  The match also showed how valuable Terry Dunfield and Gershon Koffie have been as the Dynamo controlled possession for the majority of the game.  Below are the grades for the game versus the Dynamo.


Camilo:  Was the only dangerous Whitecap on the pitch and was rewarded with a first half goal.  Camilo also came close to earning an early penalty kick which could have changed the complexion of the match in the Whitecaps favour.  It’s very clear that if given space near the net, Camilo will finish his chances.   GRADE: B

MLS Power Rankings: Week 4

The fourth week of the MLS season saw RSL remain as the only undeafeated team in MLS and also raise some questions for other contenders.  Did the Rapids look past FC Dallas as they face RSL next week or was the loss because they faced quality for the first time?  Can the Red Bulls score goals with this roster which on paper looks like a possess attacking ability.  Have preseason contenders like the Sounders and FC Dallas returned to winning ways or will they continue to struggle?

1. Real Salt Lake (1)
Record: 3W-0L-0D
Last Week:  2-0 Win at New England
Next Week:  Apr 13 vs Colorado
After earning a spot in CL final, RSL returns to MLS action to continue their undefeated season.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whitecaps Feel The Heat As They Lose To Dynamo 3-1

The Vancouver Whitecaps went on their second road trip of their MLS franchise and once again they came up on the losing end as they lost to the Houston Dynamo 3-1. Three of the four goals were scored  came in the final 10 minutes of  the first half as Houston opened the scoring after which the Caps levelled the score a minute later.  The winning goal was scored just before halftime where an injury to Captain Jay DeMerit contributed significantly to the score.  Late in the second half 1st overall MLS draft pick Omar Salgado made his professional debut.  It was clear by the end of the match that the Whitecaps were suffering from the heat as they unable to handle the high humidity of the Houston night.

Camilo and Chiumiento
For the majority of the first half the Houston Dynamo controlled the majority of possession sometimes the percentage being in the mid-sixties.  The only chance the Caps were able to muster was a one on one battle in which Camilo was taken down by Canadian international Andre Hainault in the box which was waived by the referee.  The Dynamo was able to create a couple of opportunities both by midfielder Danny Cruz, one where he ripped a shot off the crossbar.  The relentless pressure by Houston paid off in the 36th minute when off a corner kick a Dynamo player headed the ball towards net and Cam Weaver fired the ball past Jay Nolly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus Revolution

The Whitecaps were two minutes away from collecting an impressive three points considering they played more than 30 minutes with at least one man down and a period of 18 minutes with two men down.  Despite giving up the injury time goal, the Caps turned in their best defensive performance as the entire backline as well as the goalkeeper had their best performances this year.  With the ejections and injuries, the team was playing a 4-3-1 formation and forced many players into the game earlier than expected. 


Atiba Harris- Many had reservations about Harris being a starting forward, with some in the media claiming he couldn’t hit the side of a barn but he does so many other things that make him valuable.  Harris did a great job holding up the ball as his teammates joined in the attack and creating havoc in the final third which eventually earned AJ Soares a red card.  He also leads the league in assists.  GRADE: B+

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Caps Unable To Hold Off Revolution And Referee

The Whitecaps had the tables turned on them as they were the team to lose a lead in injury time and give up two points as the Caps drew the Revolution 1-1.  However that was not the story at the end of the game as the main focus of supporters and the media was the referee and the amount of cards that were handed out in the match.  By the end of the game there were three players ejected, two of them with immediate red cards and designated player Eric Hassli with a boneheaded second yellow for removing his shirt.

The cards began early as Toledo, the referee, handed out a yellow to Atiba Harris in the sixth for a strong tackle.  The flow of the game was wide open despite the cautions which by 25th minute had increased to three, 2 for the Caps and 1 for the Revolution.  Atiba Harris and Camilo both had chances on the net with being stopped by Shuttlesworth in the 21st and then Camilo cut to the centre only to strike the ball wide in the 36th minute.  The Revolution came close to scoring in the first half when off a corner kick midfielder Steve McCarthy headed the ball towards goal only to be cleared off the line by Nizar Khalfan.  Before halftime the Caps lost their starting CMs as Terry Dunifeld was substituted off by John Thorrington due to an injury and Gershon Koffie received a straight red from an apparent elbow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Formation Moron: Camilo's First Goal

In two games at home the Whitecaps have scored seven goals, including three goals late in the stunning comeback against Sporting KC.  When setting up a game plan to attack the opposition the typical fan assumes that the most important passer would be a central midfielder.  This is not the case for the Whitecaps as all their goals have been set up by either the right or left midfielders.  The reason the assits are coming from these positions is the team is very quick to spread the defense by creating width.  In addition the strikers are good at locating the open spaces in the box.  Let’s look at Camilo’s first goal of injury time to see an example of how the Whitecaps spread out the defenders.

MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

Week 3 in the MLS saw many draw and because of this there was very little movement in the rankings after this weekend's action.  The only teams to move down were clubs that lost by 2+ goals as DC United lost to Colorado 4-1 and FC Dallas lost to Columbus 2-0.  Although other teams (Whitecaps, Revolution, Dynamo) moved up multiple spots, the Crew were the only team to move up more than a spot with a victory.

Last week's rankings in parentheses

1. Real Salt Lake (1)
Record: 2W-0L-0D
Last Week:  No Match
Next Week:  Apr 9 at New England
RSL had the week off to prepare for 2nd Leg of the CCL before facing the Revolution on the road.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus Sporting KC

After providing the home crowd so much excitement in the opening match of the franchise, the Whitecaps followed up with a draw that many (media, players and supporters) claim was more memorable than the win against TFC.  In the final 20 minutes, plus an extraordinary 5 minutes of injury time, the Caps turned a game that would have seen them face criticism and ridicule from the MLS world into a game that will be a highlight of their first season.  Of course the grades below would have been lower if they didn’t score the two goals in injury time and they might be a little higher because of the comeback.


Camilo:  The diminutive Brazilian striker who torched the Maltese League last year announced his arrival in the MLS world with his two injury time goals.  Camilo was involved in the setup of the first goal by Atiba Harris.  His grade would have been high even without the goals as he created some great chances for himself and his teammates that weren’t finished.   GRADE:  A-

Atiba Harris:  Another goal and solid performance by Atiba Harris in his third match with the Whitecaps.  While he doesn’t have the greatest firsttouch, Harris consistently battles up front and is a load for defenders to handle which opens space for teammates.  Even on his goal he made the wise decision by just guiding the ball into the net.  GRADE:  B

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whitecaps Come Back To Shock Sporting KC

The Whitecaps were able rally from a three goal deficit in an amazing finish and continued their success at home with a 3-3 draw against Sporting Kansas City.  It didn’t look promising going into injury time as the home squad was down two goals with an extra five minutes to be added on and some of 20,000 plus crowd heading to the exits.  However in those final minutes those people missed an incredible finish as Brazilian striker Camilo found the back of net twice, set up by subs Davide Chiumiento and Nizar Khalfan.

The Whitecaps started the game attacking the former Wizards but the visitors were able to control possession.  It was obvious early on that former Canadian Teal Bunbury would be booed every time he touched the ball and there were chants of “traitor” reigning down from the supporters.  The Caps started some runs down the right side as Dunfield, Leathers and Knight were able connect effectively.  Sporting KC’s goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was able to make several big saves, especially off of Camilo and Harris, and keep the match goalless.  Then in injury time of the the 1st half the visitors stunned the home crowd as Bunbury scored from about 18 yards out and Kansas City went into the half with the lead.