Whitecaps/ Toronto FC Recap
Watching the Wave
On Wednesday evening the Vancouver Whitecaps played what surely qualifies as the worst game in their short MLS history. Despite being so close to their first significant piece of silverware in the Voyageurs Cup, and that prized money spinning berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, Vancouver came out utterly flat while never really threatening TFC and conceded a late goal to fall 1-0.
There were two crucial elements to this match that forced the Whitecaps out of the most important match they have ever played.
Poor Team Tactics
Martin Rennie has pushed many of the right buttons this season, as the team has shown tremendous improvement, but the Scottish coach misfired badly when it counted most.
He started the match correctly with his best four defenders and three skilled attackers, but inexplicably (with so much at stake) selected an ultra-conservative midfield in Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, and John Thorrington.
All three players are willing workers, but offer little in the way of creativity or offensive spark. Davide Chiumiento was glued to the bench for the start of this game, and even though the team created little, he was not subbed in until the 65th minute.
Toronto, mired in a horrible season, was ripe for the picking but instead of attacking, Rennie went for caution.
The game was sloppy, and that lead to poor tackling, which caused short tempers to rise. Sebastien Le Toux received one yellow early, and then got into an utterly needless tussle with a reckless Julian de Guzman of TFC. For a player of his experience, he must know better than to get pulled into such ridiculous and petty altercations with so much at stake.
Many of the rest of the Whitecaps also found themselves drawn into all kinds of drama on a very poor night of soccer. Top level teams rise above such stupidity, but on this night it was Vancouver who looked like the desperate outfit.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have come a long way, but have evidently yet to develop the final killer instinct. Hopefully, the team will learn from this experience and they will need to if they aspire to join the elite level of MLS franchises.
Quote of the night
“It’s always hard to lose a cup final, especially if you don’t feel you necessarily got to the level you’d have liked to…There will be very few of our players who will say they played to their absolute best tonight.” – Head Coach Martin Rennie