The Vancouver Whitecaps enter this weekends match against the Philadelphia Union in a bit of unfamilair territory. After an impressive run that saw the club go unbeaten in six straight matches, the 'Caps must now remember how to rebound after a loss; a very disappointing one, I might add. Yes, the Whitecaps looked downright terrible at times, versus an undermanned LA Galaxy squad missing usual 'Cap killers Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, which might lead Martin Rennie to begin his trademark lineup shuffling.
Note to Rennie; For the love of the football gods, please don't.
A continuing storyline this week has been David Ousted, the Danish goalkeeper that was supposed to be in the net by this time. Of course we all know the story; Brad Knighton has played lights out, and has forced the Whitecaps front brass to play him. After allowing two goals to a toothless Galaxy lineup, you could see why Rennie would be tempted to start making changes in the cage, but we're not pinning that loss on Knighton, are we? Has that truly been the weak link of the club, goalkeeping? The last time I checked, the Whitecaps got one goal from a guy on a hot streak, then failed to produce much more for the rest of the match, allowing L.A. to control the flow of play, and then eventually score goals. Knighton isn't the reason the Whitecaps lost; no offense from players like Koffie, Miller, and Teibert are why the Whitecaps lost. It's nice to have a weapon like Camilo in your arsenal, but the 'Caps needed some secondary scoring against the Galaxy, and didn't get it.
Furthermore, according to Marc Weber of 'The Province' newspaper, Rennie has now been hinting that Kekuta Manneh may find himself in the starting 11 soon. He did stop short and mention he didn't want to mess with team chemistry, which I sorely hope he remembers before he fills out his roster card. Yes, we all understand that Teibert and Koffie didn't play their best on Sunday, but why ruin the chemistry your team has spent months building up. I'm not suggesting that having Manneh on the pitch more would torpedo the squad, I'm merely suggesting that this club has played very good soccer for a couple of weeks now, and deserve a chance to work their problems out on the pitch. We were all trumpeting how good this club was just a week ago; does one bad loss truly throw all of that out the window? Why doesn't Martin Rennie just allow these guys another 90 minutes to prove that they've formed a cohesive unit?
Manneh wouldn't fit in very well in Gershon Koffie's spot, so if Rennie is seriously considering putting Manneh in, that would mean either Camilo, Kenny Miller or Russell Teibert would need to come out. Why on Earth would you tempt moving those parts around, when they are arguably the sole reason the Whitecaps have moved up the Western Conference standings? They've developed (along with Nigel Reo-Coker) such a great working relationship in their time together, they should be given as much time as they want to recapture their magic.
Plus, I am more than comfortable having Manneh in a substitution role with Darren Mattocks, considering his speed can be such a game changer against a tired defence.
That's just my opinion though; what do you lot think?