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  • Another day, another loss for Vancouver


    Saturday's clash against the New England Revolution <a href="http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?1674-Whitecaps-Revolution-Preview-Can-Vancouver-find-points-on-the-road">was always going to be a daunting one</a> for the Vancouver Whitecaps, particularly considering their poor run of form, their injuries and their incredible fixture congestion. It was their fifth game in 14 days, with another one to follow Wednesday against Toronto FC in the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship (Voyageurs Cup) final, so head coach Teitur Thordarson's decision to run out a young squad with <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ProvinceWeber/status/69559587619078145">an average age of 23.4</a> was certainly understandable if not quite predictable.

    Moreover, many of those players gave good accountings of themselves. Long Tan and Shea Salinas, both largely afterthoughts through this point of the season, looked pretty impressive, and other more-frequently appearing young players like Russell Teibert, Jeb Brovsky and Blake Wagner also had solid games. Still, when all was said and done, Vancouver came up on <a href="http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/soccer/Struggling+Caps+lose+Revolution+penalty+shot+goal/4785639/story.html">the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline and came away from Massachusetts without any points</a>.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

    It was the Whitecaps' fifth loss of the season, reducing their overall record to 1-5-5. You wouldn't necessarily picture that stat line from watching Vancouver's games, as they've been close in just about every match and have had plenty of chances to win. They just haven't been able to put it all together, though, and they've frequently been undone by critical mistakes. Saturday, it was a poorly-timed 49th minute Wes Knight tackle on Revolution star midfielder Benny Feilhaber that proved Vancouver's Achilles' heel; Shalrie Joseph converted the ensuing penalty for the only goal of the match. It seemed appropriate, as Terry Dunfield <a href="http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Penalty+kick+goal+turns+tide+against+Whitecaps/4785804/story.html">told Marc Weber</a>: "That penalty probably sums up our season.”

    The Whitecaps got plenty of chances, but couldn't find a way to bury any of them. Matt Reis made several spectacular saves to deny Vancouver throughout the match, including pushing a Salgado header just wide in the 70th minute. Even when Reis wasn't making the stops, the Whitecaps couldn't find a way to put the ball in the net; a early Salinas shot was blocked by defender A.J. Soares, while Tan had a superb chance off a header that went just wide. As Kyle McCarthy of the <i>Boston Herald</i> <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/kylejmccarthy/status/69610910221729792">pointed out</a>, Vancouver certainly controlled the ball well in the first half and made things difficult for the Revs. It's goals that matter, though, and New England managed to grab one while the Whitecaps didn't.

    There's only so much could have, would have, should have that really can apply, though. As Team 1410's Mike Martinago <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/MikeMartignago/status/69575830090686464">wrote</a>, "1 W from 11 league matches isn't good enough." While the Whitecaps have been competitive in just about every match, they haven't found a way to pick up consistent results, and that's something that's going to have to change quickly if they want to make the playoffs. Moral victories don't count for anything in the standings, and the Whitecaps are going to need some real points sooner rather than later. This wasn't an easy game for them, but not many in MLS are.

    Side note: plenty of fans in Vancouver were negatively impacted by Sportsnet's bizarre decision to use <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/tylergreen1040/status/69549220566286336">a nine-minute tape delay</a> in the first half (thanks to a Blue Jays' game that ran late) instead of joining the game in progress. There wasn't even much of an indication of what was going on on the broadcast. Fortunately, the radio broadcast on The Team was live and Sportsnet got things sorted out by the second half, but from this perspective, it was still an embarrassing situation that could easily have been avoided. There's nothing wrong with continuing your original event to the end, but if it runs into another live event, just go to that live. Tape-delayed sports don't work well in this age of information.

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