The Whitecaps homepage had a fan poll asking us to choose the player of the month for March. Our choices were, Ousted, Parker, Mezquida, and Waston. It turned out it was difficult to choose anyone worthy of player of the month. Ousted’s strong play is marred by an early red card in San Jose, Parker was culpable for a number of goals against, Waston’s own goal against Tigres was the result of a miffed clearance, and Nico scored a goal, but only recently got into the starting 11 and was somewhat hard to find against Toronto. Of course, I’m picking on them all. Ousted had some brilliant saves, Waston managed to clear most everything out of the air against a very strong Tigres team, Parker has often been solid, and like I said, Mezquida scored a goal, which is something right now. But, as anyone who has been following the comments sections on this site knows, it has been hard to see the positives.
Let’s face it, in the month of March the Whitecaps have suffered, three losses, one draw and only a single win. In that time they have been carded twice, with a third arriving only days before March first, they were held off the scoreboard three times and have only earned one MLS point so far. So you can see why choosing the best player for the month of March is a bit like choosing your preferred way to lose a big toe. I’m still deliberating between frostbite and a farming accident.
At the same time the Whitecaps have yet to be scored on in MLS at even strength. They are playing in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, only three other teams in the Northwestern Hemisphere can claim that, and they managed to hold a vastly superior team to only two goals in a cauldron of Mexican football (ok, maybe that last one feels like a stretch for some of you).
So, where are the positives in a slow and unconvincing month of March to start the season? There surely are some.
David Ousted has returned to his solid and at times, spectacular form. He stopped a PK attempt in NY, has already made some of his superb reaction saves, and has two shut outs.
The backline looks like it is better than last year. This may not be saying a lot, but RB no longer looks like a free pass down the left side for opposing teams. Even the rookie Nerwinski hasn’t been completely exposed, despite opposition attempts to targeting his side of the field, and the CB’s have settled down for the most part.
It is a little harder to find the silver linings in the offense. There were some flashes of chemistry between Davies and Montero in the NYRB home game. In fact, before Robbo locked into his familiar 4-2-3-1 there was a little life in the offense. Or was that just a poor NYRB team? Bolaños has returned and brought some vision to the midfield, plus, he and Waston recently connected off a corner for Costa Rica in WCQ play.
The month of March has instigated a lot of what is wrong with the team. A bigger challenge is to look for what is right, or is trending towards right, with this team. And, I don’t believe the belligerent fan boy retort of, “Nothing. There is nothing right with this team,” is correct.
Are you up for the challenge? Is it a challenge worth accepting? Is there anything you have seen so far that gives you hope for the season?