The shine that accompanied the Vancouver Whitecaps sterling start to the season is starting to fade, as the club lost their second match in three outings, this time a disappointing 2-1 decision to DC United in which they were forced to play without Matias Laba for half of the game. While the Whitecaps are far from a lost cause, the warts on the roster are growing instead of dissipating, and Carl Robinson may not have the personnel in camp to heal the wound.
We've spoken plenty about the backline in the past and at this point it's essentially beating a dead horse, so I'll keep it brief. Pa Modou Kah is not an MLS starter, and needs to be on the bench far more often. I understand the club had various reasons for not coming to terms on a new deal with both Andy O'Brien and Johnny Leveron, but it's clear the club did not do a good enough job in re-stocking the cupboard. Tim Parker has impressed and Christian Dean keeps getting called to USMNT camps, so are they ready to pick up the load? In my opinion, that's just more gambling, and the Whitecaps need to find a reliable piece to put at Center Back.
As for the attack, the Whitecaps have plenty of talent up front, but for whatever reason they have yet to truly start clicking. Post-match comments from our readers were harsh, especially towards Captain Pedro Morales, some questioning whether or not he should even be wearing the arm band.
I agree that Morales has been truly disappointing this season, but I'm willing to give the reigning MLS newcomer of the year some time to figure his game out. There have been glimpses of brilliance, moments when you can envision how dangerous this club could be with a Rivero-Morales combination, but it isn't coming nearly enough. Also, if Morales is going to continue to be the go-to-guy on set pieces, he's got to work on getting his delivery going again. Finally, I think my biggest beef from the match was watching Pedro strip his shirt off after scoring his first goal of the season. Many of you touched on this point in your post-match comments, and I'm really just echoing them here. The goal was in the 2nd minute, meaning the Whitecaps still had to defend the lead for the 88+ minutes; Not exactly the most appropriate time to rip your kit off like you've just won the World Cup. Perhaps the most important, Morales was just coming off a red card. Why on Earth would you give the official a chance to put you in the book again so quickly?
The Whitecaps don't have 16 points by accident, and they can thank David Ousted, Matias Laba and some timely goal scoring for that. However, they can't expect Ousted to steal matches for them every single week, just like they can't count on Matias Laba to play every minute of every match. To be an elite team in MLS, they need every cog of their machine producing, and they need to do it on a consistent basis. I think the Whitecaps are bursting at the seams with talent, but something does need to give. They need to improve their backline. They need their Captain to be their best player again.
What do you think, Whitecaps fans? Do you believe in the current roster? What, if any, changes need to be made?