The Vancouver Whitecaps currently sit in a three-way tie for first place in the Western Conference after 20 games played, as themselves, FC Dallas, and the Seattle Sounders are all tied with 32 points. The lofty point total has also put them in the Supporter's Shield race, as overall, the 'Caps are just three points behind DC United for top spot in the league. However, there's an air of disappointment over the club right now instead of triumph, after back to back losses, and weeks of sloppy play.
The 'Caps fell to Sporting Kansas City over the weekend, and had fallen to the lowly Colorado Rapids the week before. Even during their three match win streak before that the 'Caps hadn't looked like a cohesive unit, with the LA Galaxy victory on June 6th serving as the exception.
Among the 12 teams currently above the playoff bar, the Vancouver Whitecaps are tied for the second fewest goals scored (23, Portland has 22), and they have the fourth worst home win total, with just 4 outright victories at BC Place. Had it not been for the unbelievable start to the season for Octavio Rivero, or the recent superhuman play of David Ousted, you have to wonder where the 'Caps would sit in the Western Conference. That's not even delving into the obvious holes on their roster, none more apparent than in the spot beside Kendall Waston at Center Back.
Now, it's fair to say I'm being pretty hard on the club when you consider they've been winning matches all season long. The 'Caps have more road victories than any other team in MLS, they've only allowed 20 goals against (4th best among playoff teams), and their roster is filled with players that can definitely make a difference. I would argue many teams in the league would switch situations and rosters with the 'Caps if they had the chance.
Besides, I'm ragging on the 'Caps here for a couple of putrid performances, but what MLS club doesn't lay an egg from time to time? Is it really fair to suggest the Whitecaps will be able to roll out, polished, perfect, 90+ minute performances on a weekly basis? Can any club say they can do that?
So, are the Whitecaps an elite MLS team? Would you consider them amongst the cream of the crop in MLS? In my opinion, the Whitecaps have all the tools to make the claim, but they still have plenty of work to do on the pitch.
I think we need to see the club find it's swagger again, something that could be helped with another Octavio Rivero goal streak, or perhaps a return to form for Pedro Morales.
What do you think? Vote, and let us know in the comments!