The Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes was, in many ways, perfectly emblematic of their season as a whole. They kept things relatively tight defensively, while still managing to concede two goals. They created enough chances that they probably deserved a goal of their own but didn’t get one. They probably deserved a little more out of this game than they got. But at the same time, you could not really say they were robbed.
There were a lot of people on my Twitter timeline saying this was a disaster, the players had checked out, etc., etc. I’m really not convinced that’s accurate. The Whitecaps out-possessed, out-shot, and out-chanced San Jose. Doing that on the road, even against lower-level opposition, is not very common in MLS. But the Whitecaps managed to concede two goals on the handful of chances they did concede. There were, of course, defensive breakdowns on these goals. If you track any shot against back far enough you can find a breakdown of some kind or another. It’s a fact of life that there will be some defensive breakdowns. Giving up two goals from 9 shots and 0.7 xG is a very unlikely outcome. It’s also true that neither goal could be described as a goalkeeping error. But that’s kind of Thomas Hasal’s thing, isn’t it? He rarely makes big obvious errors but you also can’t rely on him to come up big on any halfway decent shot against.
But, it also wouldn’t really be accurate to chalk this all up to bad luck. San Jose parked the big blue bus after halftime. When one of the worst teams in the league decides to give up attacking and let you come at them then you would hope to generate more chances than the Whitecaps did. The pieces were out there to be, if not elite, at least decent offensively but so far they have not really clicked. That is a concern, one that is going to have to be addressed quickly if the Whitecaps are going to make the most of their slim playoff chances.
That’s about all I can think to say about this one. Ryan Gauld is suspended due to yellow card accumulation so their chances of winning against Colorado seem low. I feel relatively positive about the team’s prospects for next season but it is going to require some tough decisions and some stones from the Whitecaps’ top brass. We will see if they can do it.