The Vancouver Whitecaps opted to go with their hideous brown kit for their home matchup versus FC Dallas this evening. Even more unfortunately for the hometown faithful, the Caps' effort tonight was even uglier than their uniforms, as they fell 2-0, allowing sixth-place Dallas to close to within eight points of Vancouver -- and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Missing four key starters (Darren Mattocks, Dane Richards, Gershon Koffie, and Jay DeMerit) due to a combination of international duty and injury, Martin Rennie knew that job number one was going to be keeping everybody on the same page. Well, we'd have been happy if they could have stayed in the same chapter at least, but it seemed the squad were all on different books.
Aside from one or two isolated runs, Kenny Miller was pretty much ineffective. Atiba Harris looked completely lost, Barry Robson was more or less neutralized, and Andy O'Brien showed his lack of pace. But enough of the good news.
Camilo, who's definitely been on the ascendancy over recent weeks since regaining a starting role, returned to earth with a thud -- running with blinders on, and repeatedly trying to go 1 v 2 and 1 v 3 to (surprise) no avail. To be fair, the Brazilian looked dangerous at times, but wasted most of the opportunities that came his way. Alain Rochat, who has been rock solid at LB since arriving in Vancouver last season, had perhaps his worst match as a Whitecap, and Martin Bonjour needed only 34 minutes to ensure he got an undisciplined yellow, reaching the magic 5 yellows mark, which ensures that he sits out Saturday's action versus Seattle.
Granted, there was some fairly thick rust in the lineup, and a few newish faces on the side, but the paying customers had the right to expect better than they got tonight at B.C. Place. Some of the remedy for that will come with time, but that's a luxury the Caps don't have much of, as only nine matches (all against Western Conference foes) remain in the season.
On a night when nothing turned out well, frustrations boiled over at points, with Camilo and Robson taking stupid yellows as a result. I'm not counting Jun Marques Davidson's for his tangle with dive-artist David Ferreira -- who does an amazing three-and-a-half inward with a double twist.
Both Dallas markers came on defensive lapses, and blame for those go on the shoulders of Bonjour and Rochat for the first, and O'Brien and Bonjour (again) on the second. Yet, responsibility for the loss has to fall to some degree on the again anemic Vancouver attack. Besides free kicks and corners, Vancouver had hardly any serious sniffs at Kevin Hartman's net -- largely due to Vancouver's inability to finesse the ball behind FCD's high line, or to move it around effectively in the final third.
Yes there were a number of questionable calls from MLS rookie ref Matthew Foerster, but he should be the least of Martin Rennie's worries after such a dismal performance.
- No shots on goal by either side in the first 45 minutes
- 2 successful dribbles, 11 unsuccessful dribbles
- 1 shot on target (8 attempts)
- 41% duels won