The View From The Couch
By Gerald Hayes
We are 1/3 of the season in and our beloved Whitecaps are off to a start that few would have predicted. The boys are flying and producing extremely exciting soccer that brings fans to their feet again and again. After a dramatic off season the team has defied predictions and is actually winning games, sometimes with authority.
To celebrate the occasion I decided to compile a list of my 5 biggest surprises of the season. I'll bet that you will probably agree with me even though your order may be different. Here goes:
#5 Darren Mattocks
This speedy Jamaican striker had a quiet season last year until the off season. His infamous interview in his homeland left a bad taste in supporter's mouths and left many wondering if he could even show his face around the team again.
However he has come out totally changed. He works hard. He no longer pouts. He no longer gesticulates wildly to the soccer gods whenever he screws up. And he has assists to go with some goals.
Darren is out of my dog house!
#4 Matias Laba
My immediate reaction when I heard that we picked him up was distaste. "Why are we settling for TFC's leavings", I thought, "another wasted DP signing." I was disappointed after an off season of abject disappointment.
Oh boy was I wrong! I have been absolutely converted to a "Put His Name on My Jersey" type fan. His play has been amazing. Morales brings ooohs and ahhhs out of fans but Laba brings a solid crunch to the mid field.
Laba is, in my humble opinion, the cornerstone of this team.
#3 Coach Carl Robinson
After the 4 "more desirable" candidates weren't interested, Carl was fetched from the hotel room he was waiting in and given the keys to the team. And I could not be happier.
I like Robbo! Honest, refreshing, fearless and he ATTACKS! The team is still molding into his vision and the fans have already bought in.
#2 Erik Hurtado
This speed demon with the funny hair amused fans with his concrete feet. Whenever he played the airport issued low flying aircraft around the stadium with a warning, "watch out for soccer balls launching into space".
In the last few games, Erik has actually scored goals. Goal of the week type goals. Versus Seattle, he left defenders turned into pretzels littering the field in his wake. He has suddenly turned dangerous. Very dangerous.
#1 Gershon Koffie
I kept hearing how great Koffie was yet could never understand why. I found him to be invisible or worse, ineffective. I could not understand why some people kept raving about him.
The last few games have convinced me. Especially the game versus the Sounders. Koffie was a beast! He scored goals (should have had three!). He stripped opposition players. He was everywhere.
The trio of Koffie with Morales & Laba is amazing and worth the price of admission all by themselves.
So these are my top 5 surprises as seen from my couch. Are yours different?