In a fan post titled Low Net Worth back in April, I lamented the Vancouver Whitecaps' popgun offensive threat. The Caps were second last in the MLS in terms of shots on target ratio (21%) at the time, trailed only by league doormats Toronto FC (18%). It was early days back then, yet with only seven shots on net in the Caps' first four matches, there was little to be optimistic about.
As we are fast approaching the half-way point in the 2012 season, it's now time to take stock of the offense once again, and to see whether or not Vancouver has managed to climb a rung or two of the cellar steps when it comes to putting opposing keepers under fire.
On the face of it, things appear to be improving for the
bluebrown-and-white, and doing so at a rather respectable rate. The team has improved its on-target percentage to 34%, putting 59 of 176 attempts on net, and leaving the club in a five-way tie for 9th overall along with Dallas, Montreal, Columbus, and a much improved Toronto (at least in terms of shot accuracy).
By comparison, the New England Revolution are putting an outstanding 49% of their shots on the net, and lead the MLS in that department. The next-closest team is the New York Red Bulls at 40%. At the other end of the spectrum, and as a bit of a surprise, Sporting Kansas City (3rd place in the Eastern Conference at 29 pts) has put only 28% of their shots on target. Part of the explanation for their poor Shots on Target ratio lies in the fact that KC will shoot from any and every angle inside their opponents' half. KC's ridiculous Shots Attempted total of 266 through 16 matches is enough to mask the fact the side has a very respectable SOG total of 74.
In Seattle, the Sounders (currently holding down 3rd in the Western Conference) are also a bit of a surprise with only 31% of their shots hitting between the pipes.
The Whitecaps have upped the accuracy of their shooting, but they remain near the bottom of the league (16th) in shots. The team appears to be wasting fewer of their opportunities to put the ball on net, yet is still not generating enough interms of raw attempts to make a big difference. Their 1.13 goals per match will need to improve significantly if they are to finish as a top-10 team in the MLS.
Joe Cannon has carried the team on his shoulders for the much of the first half - it's high time for this team to reverse that trend, and take the game to the opposition. Yes, defense wins championships, but it's offense that puts fans in the seats, money in the coffers, and lightens the load on the most critical component in their success so far this year.