Whitecaps found legs first in opener, and then Toronto woke up

Captain Pedro Morales takes a corner in the Whitecaps' home opener against Toronto FC. (Photo RosieTulips/Flickr)

Captain Pedro Morales takes a corner in the Whitecaps’ home opener against Toronto FC. (Photo RosieTulips/Flickr)

During the off-season, a soccer team doesn’t exist in any of the important ways, like the way it does during the ebb and flow of a game. The pre-season is used to prepare and predict what the team will be like when it exists again for real; come the opening whistle it blips back into the physical plane. With some new limbs and some limbs missing, it lumbers into motion and begins to walk and pass and try to score a goal, just like it did the last time, but for the first time as a new group.

The Vancouver Whitecaps figured this out early and had a good first half in its opener Saturday against Toronto FC. Then Toronto woke up, and they had a very good second half en route to a 3-1 win.

Two of the biggest new faces introduced to the Caps this year, and the only two new players in the starting lineup, were Pa-Modou Kah, the centre-back picked up from Portland, and Octavio Rivero, the Uruguayan striker brought in to fill the fans’ hunger for a goal-scorer and whose predecessor had not quite managed to satisfy.

Their integration was a success, with Kah picking out the new central striker from almost 30 yards away that released him on a run that culminated in Rivero beating Joseph Bendik on his right side. Rivero basked in the moment, getting a chance to make his mark on his debut early, like Sebastien Le Toux in 2012.

By contrast, Toronto looked nervous, bending under the expectations that come with their wage bill. When a ball from Michael Bradley deflected through the box to their winter signing Sebastien Giovinco, the new man turned at the same rate as everyone around him, a second behind the ball like he was surprised to be alone with it, before putting a blistering shot just wide on the 17th minute.

But even without cohesion, individual players can still shine. Jozy Altidore, fresh from a disappointing term with Sunderland in the English Premier League, was given a gift of a Giovinco ball across the carpet and, as though through muscle memory, deftly turned past the goalkeeper.

The Caps stayed good for the rest of the period and were more aggressive at finding space to exploit, but didn’t convert it to goals. Kekuta Manneh, on 39 minutes, couldn’t work the same magic 1-on-1 with Bendik that Rivero had earlier, and Vancouver went into the tunnel on even terms with a Toronto side that hadn’t figured out how to make all of its expensive pieces snap together.

But you can’t count on your opponent’s ill fortune. The Toronto that came out of the tunnel was more determined and less nervous, converting that with a smooth run from Justin Morrow that bamboozled Vancouver defender Stephen Beitashour and put him in a position to pick out Robbie Findley.

It was now Toronto, not Vancouver, that was striding past back lines and executing smart runs. On 62 minutes, there was a strange crossover that looked almost like a Whitecap stole the ball from another; on 83 minutes Pedro Morales recovered the ball from the defense, but through fatigue couldn’t find an outlet before being overrun in his own half.

The penalty that ended the team’s chances was cruel, although not undeserved. After Gershon Koffie had a foul shout at the other end, Kah, fulfilling jitters from fans that don’t fondly recall his performance in Portland, clattered into Altidore on 89 minutes. If he touched the ball, he launched his frame into the air so clumsily that nobody could really argue.

The 2015 Whitecaps exist now, and the result was promising, if not disappointing. They lacked the ability to control Toronto’s firepower, when it woke up, and with more time for Kah and Kendall Waston to work together and more time for Rivero to earn the confidence of fans in a way past strikers couldn’t, they might be able to assert themselves down the road. It begins now.

Stats after the jump.

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Unexpected wonders lift Whitecaps to break slump, beat LA 3-1

Players exhale after the Vancouver Whitecaps' 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy at BC Place. Photo courtesy frostcake

Players exhale after the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy at BC Place. Photo courtesy frostcake/pic.twitter.com

Sometimes you spend forever planning, and then something entirely different and wonderful happens instead.

The Whitecaps were in a rut of seven league games where everything should have worked and little did. So many chances, but not enough finish, not enough runs on. No combination of players or formations — go back to the diamond! Switch to 4-3-3! Koffie! Davidson! Koffie and Davidson! — seemed to produce the desired result.

The starting XI against the LA Galaxy felt like that: 1. Run out players who have had issues like Rochat, Davidson, Kobayashi and, most notably, Darren Mattocks. 2. Hope they turn it around. 3. ??? 4. Profit?

And yet, the player who did the most to change the game didn’t even start on the pitch. Injuries are always unfortunate, especially because Daigo Kobayashi’s 14th minute exit came as he tried to stay stuck in after being brought down by a tackle, keeping in mind recent criticism around soft play in the team. However, Kobayashi had been having trouble as of late and his early substitution created an opportunity that Russell Teibert seized with both hands.

Teibert, whose parents had come from Ontario to watch him play, stuck with the starters instead of peeling away with the subs in the pre-match warm up, and seemed determined and not a step behind upon his introduction.

His first goal was the most impressive. It was the kind of play the Whitecaps have been flubbing repeatedly of late: Teibert got himself on the end of a ball, weaved in and out of the box looking for an opportunity and was able to create something dangerous. It immediately changed the complexion of a game that had been thoroughly tentative to that point.

Though out-possessed, the Whitecaps had looked like they could still, with luck, get something from the game at half-time. But oblivion loomed. Thanks to out-of-town results, even a draw in this game would leave the Whitecaps back on the foot of the Western Conference table. Mattocks was, regrettably, still looking out of ideas on the ball.

LA defender Omar Gonzalez had a header that, though it was just past the far post, cut through the Whitecaps defence like hot butter two minutes before the goal. Had it gone in, these would all have been different conversations.

But it was Teibert’s confidence that put a different stamp on the game. Watch his second goal again to see how thoroughly he masterminds the opportunity. First, he calls for the pass. Not recieving it, he buzzes around Y.P. Lee until the ‘Caps defender decides to leave it for him anyways. He sends a ball through to Gershon Koffie, who holds the ball up and turns to see Teibert blazing into the box. Koffie’s pass is simple, like the shooting drill the team ran just before kickoff. Teibert, who that morning had never scored a professional goal, blasts in his second to give the Whitecaps, whose stalemate looked so tenuous just fifteen minutes earlier, not just a lead but a cushion.

These elements of the game are hard to describe or quantify, because they’re so immaterial. Why does one chance go in and another spill just wide? How can you turn around a team having such trouble with finishing when it seems so often to come down to circumstance? Teibert managed to do it.

And speaking of confidence, let’s return one last time to the issue of Darren Mattocks’ luck. It is impossible to overstate how mystifying his lack of success has been in front of goal has been week-in, week-out. He brought a portable raincloud to the attack in the first half against Edmonton, and nothing seemed to be working. Management was pleading for ideas, and supporters were anxious to know how long Mattocks needed to sputter before he could produce.

When I saw Mattocks pounce on a turnover and break in one-on-one with a defender only to put it right on LA goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, I thought his confidence may have broken for good. He collapsed onto his knees and stayed down for moments. When he got up again to contest the resulting corner, he hung his head and A.J. DeLaGarza, the defender marking him, gave him a consolation pat on the back. I thought I had seen a low from which it would be nearly impossible to recover.

And yet.

It is, like I said, hard to quantify confidence or belief. But Mattocks, who has been so often out of position or ideas or plain unable to find and complete opportunities, saw a ball get away from Jordan Harvey and float tantalizingly in front of him for just a moment. He broke away from DeLaGarza easily and whacked it in off of Cudicini’s insole. The relief for Mattocks but also his whole team on seeing that goal go in is palpable. What makes this different than all the other attempts of late? Can’t say. But he was in the right place. He went for it. He made it count.

It remains, regardless, Teibert’s night. And perhaps it’s better that way; now Mattocks and the ‘Caps can put this long, dim run of three points from a possible 21 behind them. They managed to neutralize the defending champions in front of a (as far as the club claims) sell-out crowd. Nobody could have laid out, prior to the game, the road map to this victory. But it happened. Onwards.

Stats after the jump.

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Whitecaps U-23 turn frustration to a comeback win in PDL opener

Vancouver Whitecaps kick off their PDL campaign against Kitsap Pumas. Previously spread out around the lower mainland, Thunderbird Stadium at UBC will be the home ground for PDL games. Photo Andrew Bates/Little Rubber Pellets

Vancouver Whitecaps kick off their PDL campaign against Kitsap Pumas. Previously spread out around the lower mainland, Thunderbird Stadium at UBC will be the home ground for PDL games. Photo Andrew Bates/Little Rubber Pellets

It could have been a lousy way to start the season, but it turned around fast.

The Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 team started off their USL Premier Development League season against Kitsap Pumas with a 2-1 win Friday night at Thunderbird Stadium.

The league occupies a weird spot in the Whitecaps’ player development system. Players are often identified for loans to lower-division teams, NCAA programs or first-team spots already by the time they turn 19.

So the PDL is a place for Residency grads and other players who have promise but aren’t not ready to step right into the first team get games against good opposition. This year’s crop of 11 college players include UBC’s Gagandeep Dosanjh, UVic’s Cam Hundal and SFU’s Derrick Bassi. The team also has MLS players Simon Thomas, Adam Clement and Aminu Abdallah.

Thomas is a bit more of a known factor, starved for minutes due to being third on the depth chart behind both Brad Knighton and Joe Cannon. But Clement and Abdallah are more recent signings, with lots of hours in practice and less game experience.

The new crop of players did not, however, start their season off on the right foot. On six minutes, a ball bounced straight up out of a scramble in front of the Whitecaps goal. Kitsap forward Sebastiaan Jansen found it with his head to stab home and establish a lead.

The early deficit was especially painful for the ‘Caps, who had the greater share of chances in the first period. Forward Bobby Jhutty sent a wonderful free kick low on the right post and Dosanjh fired high right, both saved by Kitsap keeper Dustyn Brim.

The finest chance of the half belonged to Jhutty. He was wide-open on the left when he got his head on a cross around the 40th minute, but Brim somehow leapt across to claim it. Despite being up 8-4 in shots, the Whitecaps went into the half down a goal.

The early parts of the first half did not seem to improve. The emboldened Bremerton, Washington side pushed the Caps defence and goalkeeper Thomas, who earned his first two senior caps for Canada in January, keeping a 0-0 clean sheet against the US men’s national team.

But the Whitecaps were still generating chances, including an attempt around sixty minutes where Cam Hundal slapped a volley on goal only to be saved again by Brim.

It was Hundal who would equalize for the Caps on 69 minutes. Taking a pass from substitute Spencer DeBoice, he fired a right rocket of a shot from high on the left side of the penalty area that went across a diving Brim and beat him on the right side.

Three minutes later, the Whitecaps reversal was complete. A ‘Caps player was bundled over in the box, but play went on despite penalty calls and the ball fell to DeBoice, who smashed it into goal from 12 yards to put the ‘Caps up 2-1.

Kitsap did not go down easily, with forward Andrew Sterling hitting the crossbar on 81 minutes, but they did go down. They have started the season at the bottom of the PDL’s Northwest Division, having played in the only other game of the year so far, a 3-0 loss to the Victoria Highlanders.

The Whitecaps will see the Highlanders next week on Friday, the Salish Sea derby being this year’s principal decider for the supporter-purchased Juan de Fuca Plate.

It’s a bright start for a team that missed out on the playoffs by a point last year. Their strength was their quality rather than their chemistry, but the rest can come with time.

Stats after the jump.

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Kids show their stuff as ‘Caps put away ten-men Edmonton, advance to Voyageurs Cup final

Though there were some patches in the stands (this was taken at kickoff) a respectable crowd of 14,000 showed up despite a Canucks playoff game across the street in Rogers Arena. Photo Andrew Bates/Little Rubber Pellets

Though there were some patches in the stands (this was taken at kickoff) a respectable crowd of 14,000 showed up despite a Canucks playoff game across the street in Rogers Arena. Photo Andrew Bates/Little Rubber Pellets

If it was a showcase, at least it was an entertaining one.

A red card helped give the Vancouver Whitecaps space to run to a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton on a brisk Wednesday night at B.C. Place. Because of manager Martin Rennie’s rotation strategy, you couldn’t call it a reserve team, as it was a side of players who are being surveyed for their usefulness in the harder days to come and veterans given a chance to answer for themselves. For this year’s talented crop of Whitecaps rookies, it was a great time. For Darren Mattocks, it was not.

Edmonton, who play in the second-division North American Soccer League, had given the ‘Caps trouble in the away leg of the home-at-home Voyageurs Cup semifinal. But though they tried (and largely, succeeded) to fill the space in the first half, they couldn’t get the ball up the pitch with any speed to try and counter attack.

By the second half, the opportunity was lost. Vancouver attacked with heavy pressure in the opening, and six minutes in Adrian Leroy clipped Corey Hertzog, the last man back. It wasn’t vicious, and it may not have been intentional, but there was contact and it was denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity. It had to be red. Edmonton’s wings were clipped, and the Whitecaps were free to romp.

Romp they did. A host of youngsters got their chance, and the offense in the second half felt like a fun place to be. Between Kekuta Manneh, Tommy Heinemann, Erik Hurtado and Corey Hertzog, players who have seemed to be easing into their roles got a chance to run rampant. Hertzog’s stunner was amazing, launching a cannon from forty yards that bounced past Edmonton’s Lance Parker. When Teibert’s ghostly corner got in, a gift from Edmonton that sealed the end of their night, he was mobbed on the sideline. Heinemann got a ovation on his exit, a sign of a crowd warming to his robust play after an uneven start to the season.

If the second half was a new-look 4-3-3, the first half was an old-school 4-4-2 diamond, with Jun Marques Davidson, who didn’t do much, in the pocket and Camilo, who was great, up top reminiscent of 2012. But there wasn’t as much of the air of mirth due to the continuing trials of Darren Mattocks.

Mattocks is snake-bit. He’s looked rough before, but this wasn’t rough; he was much better today at getting into position. But things just aren’t going his way. Opportunities burble over the line into goal kicks. His brightest moment, a great ball from Gershon Koffie, rocketed into the crossbar. Rennie made the call at the half-time whistle to give Mattocks a rest, which bore out in a win, ultimately. Mattocks can only solve this cold streak with a goal, but a night like tonight proves that people are ready to take him on.

The defensive side of the field was fine, and with a lack of pressure it’s hard to pass judgement or declare great performances. Brad Knighton, amid speculation that he could swing for Joe Cannon’s starter spot again, had neither an outstanding or a bad game, as befits a three-save clean sheet. Neither did Johnny Leveron, the Honduran centre-back easing his way to fitness after visa trouble.

Ultimately, after the red card, less and less was at stake. But after a couple of weeks of tough, dour fare, a respectable crowd of 14,000 was pleased with a win and a shot at Canadian championship gold. Montreal, fresh from an unbelievable 6-0 romp of TFC, await.

Stats after the jump.

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Whitecaps comeback shows only place to get revenge is the back of the net

Much attention was pored on the antics of Dallas' David Ferreira. Photo Mafue/flickr

Much attention was pored on the antics of Dallas’ David Ferreira (centre). Photo Mafue/flickr

By the end of the first half, the air in BC Place was nasty with hate.

It wasn’t just anger or a regular expression of rivalry, it was a fermented mix of helplessness and outrage. The score was 1-0 to the visitors, Dallas were playing like sneering villains and Vancouver were playing awfully. Vancouver manager Martin Rennie argued that his players weren’t mad, but the rest of the stadium might have been.

You could feel it in the rueful head shakes of two ground staff waiting for the elevator at half-time. In the the social media staffer who accused Dallas of playing like Bambi from the Whitecaps main account while the match was in play. In the short, staccato four rounds of “FUCK YOU DALLAS” from the Southsiders late in the first, fully aware they weren’t supposed to sing it but too furious to stop.

It’s the sort of hate that isn’t productive, not in soccer. Joe Cannon looked up and waved frantically after the second goal went in on 47 minutes in disbelief. Even though there probably wasn’t contact, something had to be wrong with it. Could he have closed in any more without mashing his face into Matt Hedges’ boot? There had to be something wrong. I wanted there to be something wrong, because that would explain how Vancouver was down 2-0; how they had 57 per cent of possession but only two shots on target.

But that can poison you in soccer. Search for their foul or their dive and you never find the through ball that’s coming for you. No amount of roaring or taunting Dallas can change the fact that you’re down 2-0 in the second half.

And then the game turned. Passes started connecting. Jun Marques Davidson and Daigo Kobayashi, both having tough seasons, came out, replaced by youngsters Kekuta Manneh and Tommy Heinemann. Camilo, who had not taken a shot, lit up.

The first goal was a combination of those three forces. When Camilo’s shot riocheted off Raul Fernandez, Heinemann used a crazy diving header to try and keep the ball in play; it ended up being an assist when Kekuta Manneh, who had showed promise with no result, slid the ball inside the near post and brought the spark of life to the Whitecaps.

Three minutes later, it was Manneh again, sliding the ball through the box and finding Camilo, whose first touch slipped coolly into the goal. Just a week after a FC Dallas video mocked the Whitecaps for players lying on the ground, head in hands, in sorrow over missed chances or botched goals, three of their players collapsed in disbelief.

It was now Dallas who couldn’t believe how they found themselves level. Trying to shake off Alain Rochat, Brazilian midfielder Jackson whipped back and thwacked him in the previously-broken nose with a right hand. He saw red, and the Dallas attack slowed to a crawl. The goalie, Fernandez, got rattled. The crowd roared with excitement now, instead of rage.

Vancouver couldn’t, unfortunately, turn the comeback into a win. Even though they managed anger well, there’s still an element of fear that has persisted throughout the current streak of six games without an MLS win, especially the away loss last week to Dallas. You can see it nowhere stronger than than Darren Mattocks. Mattocks, who remains athletic and fast, had serious problems being in position for through balls in the first half. And while Joe Cannon saved the game in the 94th minute with a point-blank save, his decision-making is being questioned for his role in the two goals.

But on the night, the good guys won, because they started clicking and they paid attention to what mattered: their own play.

Dallas’ manager, Schellas Hyndman, for their part, was furious. He addressed the reporters like they were the team themselves, blamed the stadium for playing Dallas fouls on the screen and called a journalist embarassing for asking about diving. He hated that his team didn’t win.

But it didn’t win him the three points.

Stats and quotes after the jump.

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Bashful Whitecaps make it out of Edmonton with a Voyageurs Cup lead

The Vancouver Whitecaps beat FC Edmonton 3-2 last night in the first leg of their Voyageurs Cup semifinal. I missed the match, but it certainly proved why we play these things, as the Whitecaps reportedly looked poor and trailed the second-division Eddies for much of the night before that weird Camilo PK.

The call looked so sketchy that Edmonton manager Colin Miller got himself ejected for complaining about it. When it comes to the foul, I think there was contact but he certainly made a meal of it. He appeared to be savvy, snagging a lovely goal inside the first ten minutes. It’s easy to do that against an inexperienced defense, but it’s nice to see him get results. It’s also good that Tommy Heinemann got a goal; I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen of him ever since a brief moment of insanity that got him sent off against UBC, and perhaps this will pick up his spirits.

The Whitecaps have been criticized for their focus on this competition, the thinking being that it might distract from their league play. This result proves that you can’t sleepwalk through the Cup, but the ‘Caps suffered up until the 83rd minute. Oh well. At least it’s a road win.

Stats after the jump.

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To break a road slump, the Whitecaps must be ready to get results

Joe Cannon, frustrated after Rusin's own goal.

Joe Cannon, frustrated after Rusin’s own goal, the first in a 2-0 loss away to FC Dallas.

What causes a road slump?

We keep talking about it, because the numbers make it easy to do that. The Whitecaps were 0-15-2 (W-L-D) in their first season, 3-10-4 last year. The road record so far, with three losses and a draw, is the albatross that turns a respectable home record of 2-0-1 to a pretty mediocre 2-3-2.

But how does it actually happen? Teams and players slump because they stop clicking and they can’t figure out how to pull off the things they’re good at. Clubs build up slumps against specific opponents because of an intimidation factor that comes from specific players and memories of bad losses.

But how does a team perform consistently for two weeks and then drop it the next? How can you turn it around? Teams with good away form buy hotels in their home city to inspire focus, but there is no such quick fix for Vancouver’s issues.

In the aftermath of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2-0 pasting at FC Dallas last night, they didn’t seem ready for the challenge of playing in the league leaders’ ground. There are a bunch of factors.

Vancouver’s young players like Erik Hurtado and Tommy Heinemann deserve minutes, but they can’t be counted on to create yet. The Whitecaps’ front four was Hurtado, Heinemann, Russell Teibert and Matt Watson, who bring only 43 games of experience (34 games in an MLS season) between them, with no goals. Not that those players aren’t worthy, but why would you rely on them to deliver you a result against the team with the best form in the league? Placing even one player, like Darren Mattocks, who has experience pulling results in this situation, in the mix could have worked.

Poor Joe Cannon was also let down, with two goals against on 13 total shots and six shots on target. Part of that was because Dallas was, as mentioned earlier, very good. Part of that is just lapses. What exactly is happening on the own goal?


Somehow, Brad Rusin is getting shoved all the way through the penalty area by George John. I can’t explain that. Rusin has been okay in the absence of Jay DeMerit, but he wasn’t on it last night, and nobody really was. Look at the backline on the second goal.


Rusin, Andy O’Brien and Y.P. Lee are all standing still within ten feet of each other staring at Kenny Cooper, and nobody is marking anybody. O’Brien has just turned around and the line is keeping David Ferreria offside, but by this point in the game the defense just wasn’t reacting fast enough to stop Blas Perez from breaking through the gap I’ve marked with the red arrow.

At the heart of it, these are the decisions you have to make. To beat a team on the kind of form that FC Dallas is enjoying, you need to move fast, stand strong, and be on it all the time. The Whitecaps know this, because in the last year they’ve willed these results into existence, winning not once but twice against San Jose last season.

After the game today, Watson pointed to confidence issues and Cannon pointed to the Voyageurs Cup match against Edmonton on Wednesday. At the end of the day, it’s not that they weren’t in front of the fans, it’s that they didn’t play like they thought this is a thing they could have pulled of.

You can roll out all the cumulative stats you like tying this current streak to the Whitecaps’ historical away woes or the drop in form that ended last season. What are we going to do? Fire Tommy Soehn? Cut John Thorrington? But the fact is that the only way to turn things around is come into every game ready to overcome challenges and win.

They didn’t.

Stats after the jump.

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Defense rescues a goalless draw against Chivas in LA


(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

The Whitecaps offense seems to be trying to figure out who it is, but at least they can rely on Joe Cannon.

The Vancouver Whitecaps made it out of LA on Saturday night with a 0-0 draw against Chivas USA on the third of a five game road trip. The odd defensive formation that worked against Colorado, with Alain Rochat as a defensive midfielder, bore fruit again defensively, managing to hold possession through 60 minutes and keep things from getting too far out of control.

But like against the Rapids, the Whitecaps generated almost nothing offensively. Darren Mattocks, who was able to create a momentary spark on Wednesday, was suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the year in the same game. Without Mattocks, Vancouver’s established forwards displayed a continuing inability to play together.

For the second game, Jun Marques Davidson didn’t start, which the commentators suggested was a mark of manager Martin Rennie’s pleasure with the team’s performance at midweek. Without his linking play, the offense had nothing to contribute as the defense held its shape in the first half and was largely the result of whichever player was trying the hardest at any given moment; Eric Hassli gave his all in the ten minutes before he was substituted as though he was fighting against it.

New Designated Player Barry Robson also looked poor for the second game in the row. The issue doesn’t seem to be as much familiarity with the team as match fitness; he’s linking up fine with players but is unable to carry out the attacking moves he wants to when he has the ball. Early in the game, Robson was served a long ball and was one-on-one with the keeper down the wing. But his first touch was like a brick, and when he had the ball he stood thinking for a bit before having his pass blocked and losing the ball.

Back in 2007, one of the biggest complaints I heard about the onset of DPs was players joining midseason, because of the gulf they miss when they don’t catch preseason training. This is certainly the case, as these games really seem like Robson isn’t near fitness. He joked when he arrived that it would be hard to get in the team, but if Thorrington wasn’t injured, I’m not sure I would pick Robson over Thorrington and Davidson, to be honest. He just doesn’t seem that ready.

The defense had a perfectly reasonable game for the first 60, 70 minutes. Rochat isn’t awful in a defensive midfield role, and the Whitecaps held mainly to the midfield without creating much. In the later part of the game, though, Chivas got a lot more possession, and the longer the game went on the more dangerous they seemed. Cannon had to spring into form when the Goats got a sequence of two corners and two free kicks, eliciting one of his worst moments of the season and also one of his finest saves. When the Whitecaps finally did get attacking movements going in the game’s last five minutes, they seemed quite vulnerable on the counterattack.

But in the end, nothing awful happened, I guess. Every point is valuable in the Western Conference, and they’ll at least stay tied for third. Whitecaps have got Toronto FC on the other side of the continent in four days, and Eric Hassli will be unavailable for accumulation of yellow cards after picking up a caution for Being Eric Hassli.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to get something together. If the offense can figure itself out, maybe the Whitecaps can reward their defense, now leading the league with nine clean sheets, by scoring a goal.

Stats after the jump.

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