Stop me if you've heard this one before; the Whitecaps are struggling down the stretch.
We all remember 2012, a season that began with so much promise, and ended uglier than Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMA's. (There, a current pop culture reference. Do I get a sticker now?) The Whitecaps' biggest problem in 2011 and 2012? They couldn't score to save their lives. Now, despite having an elite goal scorer in Camilo and a great supporting cast, the Whitecaps are having some real difficulties putting the ball into the net.
Here are some quick stats to make you want to throw up the toast you ate for breakfast;
- Since the Whitecaps win over the Chicago Fire on July 27th, they are a dismal 1-4-1, including two losses to the L.A. Galaxy.
- After leading the MLS in goals at one point, the 'Caps have 4 goals in their past six matches, including two straight shut-out losses. They're now fourth in the West in goals
- Russell Teibert has just 2 points (both assists) in his last six matches. He hasn't scored a goal since May 11th, when he scored two against the Galaxy.
- It's hard to question Camilo when he has 14 goals, but he has just one in his last four matches, not including the latest one, where he sat out due to injury
- Nigel Reo-Coker has still not scored a goal this season, and despite his inspired play all season long, he has just 2 assists in his last ten matches, and both those came against Chicago.
- He has 7 goals on the season, but Kenny Miller has just two markers in his last 11 matches, and hasn't scored in two straight.
- Should I even bother with Daigo Kobayashi? One goal, one assist on the year, and he hasn't scored a point since the Columbus Crew in the second match of the season. He hasn't scored a point in 5 months.
The problem is pretty evident, and it goes through the entire team. Camilo has been very good this season and surely deserves a pass, but what about everyone else on the team? We all love Nigel Reo-Coker and his electrifying skill set, but he needs to contribute more on the scoreboard. We've seen what Russell Teibert can do, but is he simply running out of gas in his first full MLS season? Where the hell is Daigo Kobayashi? Plenty of questions are being tossed around, but the biggest one is quite simple; what happened to the magic that Camilo, Kenny Miller and Russell Teibert seemed to create at will?
It's clear this team needs a minor shakeup, and that could be accomplished by simply shifting around the lineup. Eightysixforever.com regular Spencer.Phinney made a very good point recently that I think could do wonders for this team.
I think his best effort was switching the formation to a 4-4-2 just into the second half. A 4-4-2 may be the answer to our prayers.
It would allow us to bring in another winger, ideally Kekuta Manneh or Eric Hurtado, as well as it eliminates the third midfielder we just don’t have. As if it didn’t have enough pros, Kenny Miller will finally be able to play in the striker role he wants and needs, just along side Camilo.
Inserting a young gun like Manneh into the lineup, moving Miller to his natural position and removing an anchor like Kobayashi from the pitch? I'm in.
Now, it should be mentioned that scoring slumps happen. Camilo has been banged up recently, Miller has been travelling tons, and most of the roster hasn't had much time to rest. It could just be a sign of fatigue, and the dog days of Summer.
What do you think? Is this club in real trouble, or is it just a scoring slump?