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  • Whitecaps 0, Chivas 0: Great chances squandered


    I wrote in <a href="http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?1528-Whitecaps-Chivas-preview">the preview</a> of Saturday's Whitecaps - Chivas game that this game represented a critical opportunity for Vancouver. Through their first five games, the Whitecaps had played some highly-entertaining soccer and made plenty of impressive comebacks, but their record was still only 1-2-2. At home against a side in the basement of the Western Conference after a week of rest, the odds for them to break the cycle of entertaining play with less-than-stellar results seemed high, and the Whitecaps came out with a ferocious attacking pace that suggested things might end well for them. In the end, though, they couldn't convert their chances, and the final conclusion was the same; some tremendous positives to take away, but a disappointing single point in the standings from <a href="http://www.whitecapsfc.com/news/2011/04/whitecaps-fc-held-goalless-draw-mls-western-conference-rivals-chivas-usa-saturday">a 0-0 draw</a>.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

    For the vast majority of the 90 minutes, this didn't seem like a game that was likely to end scoreless. Both sides created plenty of chances, with Vancouver's frequently coming from the run of play and Chivas responding by winning lots of corners. The Whitecaps hit the post twice in the first half, and Wes Knight and Eric Hassli in particular had plenty of superb chances. Camilo made things happen, Kevin Harmse had some solid runs, and Vancouver easily could have pocketed a goal or two. Things didn't fall for them, though, and it was 0-0 at the break.

    Chivas created many of their own chances, especially in the second half, but their finishing touch was somewhat absent as well. When they did manage to get a shot on target, Jay Nolly proved up to the task. Vancouver's attacking pace fell off a bit after halftime, but they still created chances of their own, especially late when substitutes Nizar Khalfan and Omar Salgado each had chances to win it at the end, only to have their strikes go narrowly wide.

    The <a href="http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter-recap/vancouver-chivas-tally-scoreless-tie-empire">stat sheet</a> looks better for Chivas than Vancouver, as they outshot the Whitecaps 18-12 (4-2 in shots on goal) and collected nine corner kicks to Vancouver's two. The Whitecaps' chances were arguably generally of a better quality, though, so this one easily could have gone either way. There are plenty of positives for Vancouver to take from this; while they allowed plenty of opposing chances, they limited the quality of those chances, and they recorded their first clean sheet, suggesting that the defence is improving (despite the absence of likely first-choice central defenders Jay DeMerit and Greg Janicki thanks to injuries). They also again showed that they have plenty of playmaking talent in the midfield and up front, which has historically been an issue for expansion teams, and they created a vast number of quality scoring opportunities. The finish wasn't there, though, and in the end, they came away from a golden opportunity with only one point. That doesn't mean things are all bad for the team, but they're going to have to start converting potential and chances into goals and wins at some point if they want to make the postseason.

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