Week number two. In case anyone is wondering, that was the last time the Vancouver Whitecaps won a MLS contest, a string of seven straight matches. It's frustrating, it's unbelievable, and tonight, it was downright boring. Yes, the 'Caps attack didn't generate much of anything against RSL keeper Nick Rimando, who was barely tested throughout the night. That's a stark contrast to the last time these two clubs met, when the 'Caps forced Rimando to be brilliant in a 1-1 draw. Speaking of past matches, was I the only one who thought the 'Caps were going to build on their strong finish against FC Dallas last week? Was I the only one tricked into thinking this club could put some consistency together, or god forbid, look like a competitive team on the road?
To break up this rant, let's take a look at how the match played out.
Head Coach Martin Rennie shuffled his lineup a tad after the FC Edmonton match, though not surprisingly. He went with Joe Cannon in net, despite Brad Knighton getting a shutout in his last match. To be fair though, Cannon hasn't done anything to lose the job. Brad Rusin missed the trip with injury, so Johnny Leveron took his job on the backline, his first MLS start. Russell Teibert got a nod in mid, while Jun-Marques Davidson sat on the bench, joined by Darren Mattocks who was taken out in favor of Corey Hertzog. Nigel Reo-Coker wore the Captains armband.
Like I said before, the Whitecaps really couldn't generate much offense at all against RSL, as it was the home squad that dominated play for most of the half. Yes, in case your wondering, RSL did not have Alvaro Saborio in the lineup, which should have been an opportunity for the Whitecaps. Instead, it was just more of the same.
I'm being serious here, the first good chance for the Whitecaps didn't come until 34', when a Daigo Kobayashi corner kick found the head of Andy O'Brien, but his try went over top the net.
There were tons of corners traded back and forth in the latter part of the half, however neither club was able to capitalize on them. In what was one of the most uninspiring, lackadaisical halves of the entire season, the two teams went off tied at 0. As someone that was truly looking forward to this match, all I can say is 'blecch.'
If anyone was hoping the second half would be better, those suspicions were put to bed when Luis Gil headed in a Joao Plata cross at 47'. It completely took the wind out of the sails of the Whitecaps, and it became clear that a win would be a tall order on this night. Their quest for another draw, however, continued.
At 59', Camilo had a good look inside the box, took his time, and then misfired his shot over top of the net, making me nearly drop my beer in frustration. (Don't worry, I said nearly)
The frustration would only be compounded a minute later, when Camilo sent in Corey Hertzog on Nick Rimando. Hertzog's shot fooled the keeper, then slowly trickled towards the open cage. However, Nat Borchers steamed back and cleared the ball in the nick of time, completely redeeming himself from has hand ball the previous time these two clubs met.
If the fat lady had been warming up before, she started singing at 71', when RSL scored their second goal of the night. Plata earned his second assist of the night, setting up Javier Morales for a low one timer that beat Joe Cannon to ice the match.
Unsurprisingly, the 'Caps couldn't make anything happen after that, and the contest ended in a 2-0 win for Real Salt Lake. Excuse me while I shake my head solemnly, then eat pizza to soothe my nerves.
The Final Word
Embarrassing, lacklustre, boring; any and all of these words could describe the steaming pile of dog doo I was forced to watch. The 'Caps looked heartless, failing to muster any form of consistent attack, and looking quite bored at times. Head Coach Martin Rennie ripped his team a new one after the match, and rightfully so. This was an unacceptable performance, and yet another loss on the road for the boys in blue and white. While I thought the Dallas match could be a launching pad, it clearly was nothing but an aberration. This... this was tough to watch.