Lose a couple of matches, and the fans are eventually going to get on the Head Coach. Lose a match at home, and that only speeds up the process. Yes, Martin Rennie has once again found himself on the hot seat after the Whitecaps fell 1-0 to the L.A. Galaxy at home, thanks to a great strike from Landon Donovan just minutes into the contest. Almost immediately after the final whistle had blown, the probing from frustrated fans began to start. The point I heard bemoaned the most was, Why did Rennie start Darren Mattocks instead of Camilo? Camilo has 14 goals! Rennie hates Camilo and loves Mattocks!
While that's obviously just an angry fan flexing their hyperbolic muscle, let's all take a deep breath and count to ten. First off, the decision to not play Camilo against the Galaxy was certainly a bold move, but not one that came out of left field. Camilo has been playing an awful lot of soccer lately, and the 'Caps attack was pretty stagnant against the Rapids. Why not give the tiny Brazilian a match off, especially when you could just bring him on as a sub in the latter stages of the match? Besides, it became known that Camilo was battling a sore groin; would you have seriously placed him in the match knowing he wasn't 100% healthy?
Of course, pundits were quick to point to Darren Mattocks' ineffectiveness in the match as an extension of Rennie's poor coaching decisions. To that, I nearly rolled my eyes out of the back of my head. Pray tell, who else would have put in Camilo's place? Have we forgotten that Mattocks has had some of the best matches of his career against the Galaxy? Seriously, in the Whitecaps playoff loss last season, who were the two best Whitecaps in the Galaxy match? Darren Mattocks and Matt Watson (more on him in a little bit.) The main point here is that hindsight is 20/20, and it's very easy to pick apart coaching decisions when they happen. However, to question Rennie's decision making at this time is ridiculous, because any coach worth their salt would have put out a lineup comparable to what Rennie trotted out against the Galaxy. Sure, you could have put Manneh at the top of the attack, but why not give your Mattocks, the player who was supposedly this club's savior just a year ago, a chance to redeem himself and gain back some of the confidence that apparently has slipped through his fingers? Did he play well? No, he was largely ineffective, and looked more confused than hungry on the pitch. Still, let's cut the guy some slack.
Now, we've been complaining about the poor play of Daigo Kobayashi, and Rennie finally decided to do something about it versus the Galaxy. He inserted Matt Watson, easily one of the most underrated players on the squad, and hoped he could rekindle some of the magic he had in last year's post-season. Obviously it didn't work, but I go back to my main point; why wouldn't Rennie insert a hardworking fan favorite that has had success against that particular team? It seems like a pretty easy choice to me.
Listen, I'm not trying to defend Rennie's every decision here, but I feel that he is being unfairly attacked for fielding the best possible lineup he could have in the circumstances. You can pick fly crap from pepper and say that Manneh should have been switched for Mattocks, but at the end of the day, that's not a decision that's going to cost him his job.
I wanted to win on the weekend too; it didn't happen, but the 'Caps played a competitive match against one of (if not the) best teams in MLS. The 'Caps may be sitting outside the playoff bubble today, but that can change very quickly.
Long story short; Relax, people.