"Our all. Our honour." That's this year's marketing blurb for the Vancouver Whitecaps in year three of Major League Soccer. Please excuse me, Mssrs. Lenarduzzi and Rennie, but what a crock!
Perhaps I've misunderstood, but I was expecting that such chivalric oaths would apply each and every time the Vancouver Whitecaps donned their colours - whether in practice, or when stepping onto the field of battle. It never struck me that such promises of allegiance would be sworn out on a part-time basis.
This past Saturday in Frisco, Texas the Vancouver Whitecaps, our knights in white, did not deliver their collective all, and certainly failed to bring any honour to themselves, or the franchise. From player selection through to on-field performance (with the exception of Joe Cannon), the message was clear: surrender!
As one sage commenter here at 86 Forever put it:
"There is little disgrace in losing to a side that is rapidly establishing itself as the predominant force in the conference, and the league, on their own pitch, There is a great deal of disgrace in losing by delivering such a listless, ineffective and unimaginative performance. Martin Rennie quite rightly implicated everyone involved, including the coaches, as having responsibility for the debacle and he is quite right in that assessment...The leadership and character which we thought would be supplied by Nigel Reo-Coker and Kenny Miller seemed to fall on deaf ears and dead hearts. "
This from a long-time die-hard supporter, one who never comments in haste, and who accentuates the positives almost as much as coach Martin Rennie. God only knows what the casual fan, the walk-up customer on match day might think.
Where is the honour, Mr. Rennie, in watering down your starting XI against the top team in the league? Was this battle merely a forgone conclusion that got in your way for preparations against the war against Edmonton? Or did it really take 58 minutes to see that Tom Heinemann wasn't going to be playing the role of hero without a lot of help from the bench?
Any way I look at the choices made last weekend, it seems that the Vancouver Whitecaps put more stock in winning on Wednesday versus Edmonton than they did in giving Dallas a run for their money. Not only that, but in "resting" the likes of Mattocks, Koffie, and Camilo (who all started on the bench), and presumably (as one can only guess now) playing them in Edmonton, they will have only two days and change for the rematch against FCD in Vancouver.
I respectfully submit that there should be no way in hell the Whitecaps send in another straw-man squad against Dallas when we do battle again on home turf April 27. In any case, I don't think anyone in the Whitecaps organization would have the stones to do that with 20,000 paying customers present - or do they?
Do the concepts of "all" or "honour" apply only for home matches? Looking at the history of this franchise since entry into MLS, I'm beginning to think that's precisely the case. If there's any substance to the claim to deliver their all and to pledge their honour, there's only one way for the Vancouver Whitecaps to demonstrate it - today, tomorrow, and always, and not just when it might be convenient.