Typically, Know The Enemy is run before an upcoming match, to allow for some insight into the Vancouver Whitecaps’ next opponent, outside the regular “Who/What/When/Where & sometimes Why” that suits a match preview.
Clearly that didn’t happen before Wednesday night’s figurative and literal shocking performance away to the New England Revolution, due to unfortunate timing and crossed wires. C’est la vie. But this doesn’t mean we need to be entirely bereft of information when it comes to the supporters of a Whitecaps opponents.
I mean, we call out what’s wrong all the time and just witnessed a lot of it, but what does a Whitecaps performance look like to someone who’s not following the organization nearly as close?
Instead of looking information on what to expect from an upcoming opponent, we reached out to our friends at The Bent Musket with Three Questions instead asking what they thought of the match, hoping an independent, external opinion could help bring clarity on a team who’s season is relentlessly and immutably going down the crapper.
Again, big thanks to Seth Macomber at The Bent Musket for weighing in on the Whitecaps’ Wednesday night!
Given that it was a 4-0 loss for the Whitecaps there should be plenty to choose from, but what were some of the bigger flaws you saw in Vancouver’s performance? What needs immediate fixing?
Traveling across the continent during a busy stretch without Ali Adnan was a tall task. Still, I wasn’t overly impressed by what I saw from the Whitecaps. Aside from the 10 minutes to start the second half, I didn’t think the Caps were dynamic enough. If you’re going to rely on the counter, you have to get out of your shape quickly and be lethal with the few chances you get. The Whitecaps didn’t do that.
The last 10 minutes of the game were disastrous for Vancouver, as the Revs found joy every time they entered the box. For your sake I hope this had more to do with tired legs than defensive principles or the team’s overall morale. Either way, the Whitecaps need to do a better job closing out games.
Were there any positives you saw in Vancouver’s performance Wednesday night?
The Whitecaps were difficult to breakdown during the first half because they were getting numbers behind the ball. The bunker-and-counter approach probably isn’t going to win you a lot of games, but it’s a good way to steal points on the road. Up until (Gustavo) Bou’s goal, which was a beauty, Vancouver was frustrating the Revs and it seemed possible that they could leave Gillette with a point or three.
I also liked how Vancouver played coming out of the break as they exploited the space vacated by the full backs. DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye, who were attackers in college, were getting forward a lot during the first half. Vancouver created a few opportunities by quickly getting a player in that space. The Revs were ultimately forced to adjust, which helped them regain control of the game.
Knowing that it was striker Theo Bair’s second MLS start, what did you think of his performance before his substitution in the 68th minute?
Bair had a fine showing on a difficult night. The biggest thing I took away was that he has the size and instincts you want from a striker. The Whitecaps’ best moment came in the 50th minute when Lucas Venuto pushed forward on the right side. He then played a centering pass to Bair, who cut in front of Andrew Farrell. Bair had a one-time finish that hit the post. It was a good run and attempt by the 19-year-old.
That said, Bair will need to continue to refine his game if he’s going to be a full-time starter. Although he was put in a challenging situation as the holdup striker on a team that’s looking to bunker, his distribution needs to be better. I also think he needs to be more committed when initiating the press because the Revs felt pretty comfortable passing in their defensive third.
All and all not a bad night, especially when compared to the Revs’ starting forward, Juan Fernando Caicedo, who missed a couple of sitters.