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Aaron Campbell

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  1. THE GOOD David Ousted Bigger Saves After Big Saves Was really the only bright spot for the whole ninety 90 of the game. Made some big saves to keep the Whitecaps in the game and gave them a chance at the end of the game to maybe tie the match up. Had no chance on the first goal due to the poor marking by Sam Adekugbe on the cross into the box. The defenders in front of him cannot let players get into the box and into the air that easy on crosses. The second goal was made possible by a Steven Beitashour diving tackle that threw the defenders out of whack. No keeper in MLS would have likely stopped that goal. Time and time again Ousted has bailed out his defenders in front of him this season, he has stepped up and made huge saves late in games to make sure the team leaves the pitch with the whole three points. It is time for the team in front of Ousted to step up, stop getting silly yellow cards and make it so Ousted doesn't have to stand on his head for the Whitecaps to earn a win. THE AVERAGE Pedro Morales' Distribution Yes, he got his first goal of the season and it was a thing of beauty, but why take a yellow card for taking your shirt off, especially in the 2nd minute? He has done this last season and knew the consequences of his actions. I can see maybe after the 80th minute when there is a considerably less chance of picking up a second yellow. He is lucky his stupid action didn't come back to bite him in the rear. The biggest problem I saw with Morales was his delivery decision was poor on numerous occasions. Made way too many passes where he had no chance even with his great ability to get it to his teammate. He should have taken the easy passes numerous times instead of forcing it down the middle of the pitch. It will be interesting to see what he will be able to do with passes when the new longer turf is installed in BC Place. Will the ball be able to make the same curves on them as they do now? Will he still be able to use the speed of the ball on the turf as he does now? THE BAD David Gantar Rules? A MLS referee batting 1.000% this season. Three games this season, three red cards shown by him in them. Gantar has a career record of issuing a red card in 36.8% of his games before last night. As TSN's Jason DeVos pointed out during the San Jose game a few weeks ago, "the players no longer know what a yellow card is anymore". It changes from game to game and referee to referee. I will give Gantar the Morales yellow card. Every player knows that he will be carded for it. That one is on Morales, he should know better. The yellow of Sam Adekugbe was where it gets a little WTF. The only reason that Adekugbe got the yellow was because of the whining and complaining by the DC player well after the fact. Also why didn't Perry Kitchen get a yellow for kicking Adekugbe while he was on the ground? If that call was proper and Kitchen got a yellow it makes a huge difference when Kitchen actually got a yellow in the 84th minute. The whole last six minutes plus stoppage time would be a completely different situation. Matias Laba's first yellow was a bad call also. The ball looks to make contact with his midsection. He stepped up and stopped the DC attack with a good play. Laba's second yellow in the 42nd minute was all on Laba. There was no need to make contact on the feet of the player with the ball. An interesting fact about the first half: Whitecaps had 7 fouls, three yellow cards and one red card, DC had 9 fouls, no yellow and no red cards. A fair reflection? We need more analysis on that one. Of course Gantar gave two yellow cards to DC players after the 84th minute so it will look even on the score sheet. It was too little too late.
  2. THE GOOD David Ousted Gets Another Clean Sheet Sure I could have picked Darren Mattocks because he scored the game winning goal. I could have picked Matias Laba for his brilliant play clogging up the midfield. Or I could have picked Kendall Waston for shutting down all RSL forwards in the defensive box. They were all excellent but I picked Ousted because he has been solid all season and he continued his dominant performance and got his third clean sheet in four games on the road this season. With all the road woes this team has had since joining MLS, this season's road success is critical. These points could mean the difference between fighting for the last playoff spot in the last game at the end of the season again to sitting comfortably in the second or third spot in the standings and getting a home playoff date. Maybe even more. Ousted made four saves. They weren't amazing saves but he always seems to do just enough to make sure that the team in front of him has that chance to win. Yeah they wait until the last minutes and it's not always pretty, but an ugly win is worth just as much in the standings as a pretty win. That is all you can ask from your starting keeper. THE AVERAGE Octavio Rivero's Past Two Games Don't sound the panic alarms, but Rivero hasn't scored in two straight games! Of course there will be times this season where Rivero has these type of games, but even though he isn't scoring he is still contributing to the team with all the other aspects of his game. He is holding the ball up well, still making dangerous runs in the box and always showing hustle on the pitch. This is something we haven't seen with the other strikers Vancouver has and have had since joining MLS. Even though he hasn't gotten the service he has wanted the last two games he is still making those runs off the defender's shoulders time and time again. It's not his fault that his teammates aren't giving him the ball on his run. He showed frustration a few times in this game when Darren Mattocks or Sam Adekugbe had their heads down and didn't see him making a run into the box, missing the chance to make the pass. Even with all these missed opportunities he is still trying and running his heart out for this team. THE BAD Sam Adekugbe The Whitecaps improve to 5W-0L-1D with Adekugbe in the starting line up this season. He has shown he has the ability to get up into the play down the flank and get involved in the offense. This game was no different for the young player. The problem in this game was he looked rushed on all his crosses. He didn't take his time to make sure he got a decent serviceable ball into the box. Time after time the RSL defenders were stepping in and knocking the ball out before it could make in anywhere close to a Whitecaps player. With this only being his 11th MLS game he is still learning and will only get better with time. He also turned the ball over a few too many times for my liking. He seemed to play every ball a few yards too far ahead or too far behind the player he was looking for. He needs to play the ball through his midfield more. He kept trying to go over the top and down the wing straight to Rivero and Mattocks. When you have players like Laba, Russell Teibert and Gershon Koffie to play through, that is usually the best option.
  3. THE GOOD Laba and Teibert's domination of pitch If you where only listening to the game on the radio you wouldn't even have known Robbie Keane was playing. He was invisible all game long. Other than a few touches far away from the goal, he wasn't a factor at all this game. Teibert was in his pocket all game long. Didn't give him any breathing room at all. If the ball was heading to Keane, Teibert made sure he was on him and making just enough contact to not get a foul but enough for Keane to be frustrated. At one point Keane went to the ref and started whining about the contact that he was facing all match. With all the effort Teibert was putting in stopping Keane it gave Laba the chance to clean up everything else through the middle of the pitch. He was his world class self being tough on tackles and breaking up passes all game. These two together are forming a great partnership and moving forward, they will only get better with the more minutes they are to play as a dynamic duo. THE AVERAGE Quality Finishing Another game where the Whitecaps could have easily had double the amount of goals they actually got. If they were firing on all cylinders the game could easily have been three or four-nothing. Even with the four game winning streak, this team can still get better. They have weak spots, need a winger and need more from their right-back. With the arrival of Cristian Techera this week, this only means more speed, pace and firepower for this exciting to watch Whitecaps team. At the current pace this team is on pace for 48 goals this season. That is way below the 55-60 that Carl Robinson has stated he expects out of his side this year. THE BAD Steven Beitashour's a step too slow Game after game we see Beitashour getting caught out of position way too often. He is either too far up the pitch and getting beat over the top, or too far in the middle of the pitch and getting bested too easily down the wing. For a player of his salary, and in MLS that matters, he needs to be better. He has struggled a bit ever since he returned from the World Cup playing for Iran. With such a dominant performance by the whole team it was easy to notice some off the hiccups that Beitashour had during the game.
  4. THE GOOD The Great Dane David Ousted A great showing by Ousted, he stepped up when his team needed him to get the three points from their Cascadian rivals. On the goal you could put a little bit of blame on him for his lack of rebound control, but there is no way that shot should have been given up by Steven Beitashour (Spoiler Alert - see "The Bad" below). He stood on his head a few times to keep the score tied 1-1 to give the team the chance they needed to win the game. There was an interesting exchange between him and Octavio Rivero on the Portland cross that just missed the far post. Instead of running out after the play and yelling at his defenders, as we have seen him do numerous times, he went up to Rivero and didn't start yelling but showed him what he did wrong and what he would like him to do next time. Then on the next corner, after he caught the cross that was whipped into the box, he gave Rivero a pat on the ass for standing his line and not letting Borchers run straight to the post. Ousted has been great this season (3W-0D-1L - 1.00GAA - 2CS). Really, out of the 4 goals he gave up you can only blame him in the first Altidore one from the first game versus TFC. Other than that it has been lack of defending in front of him and a penalty kick. THE AVERAGE Erik Hurtado's First Start Of The Season Carl Robinson gave him a shot with the suspension to Kekuta Manneh to show what he can contribute to the squad. Other than a few crosses into the box where there were no Whitecaps players around to convert it, you really didn't notice him that much on the pitch. Sure he had a few runs into the box that should have created scoring chances, but his passes were either picked off or too far behind the intended target striker. In my opinion he didn't do enough to continue being the starter over the young Manneh. He just didn't show he deserves the spot moving forward. THE BAD The Defence Of Steven Beitashour Another game, another time Beitashour gets beat down the wing and the Whitecaps get bested for another goal. On the Adi goal, not only did Beitashour pinch too far in the middle of the pitch but he then couldn't recover in time and got beat down the wing where Portland got the shot on net. Ousted couldn't control the rebound and Adi was able to beat the sprawling Ousted and tie the game up. This is an ongoing problem for the right-back. Time and time again he is too far in the middle of the pitch, not fast enough down the wing and doesn't stop enough crosses into the box. With Ethen Sampson being loaned to USL today, it means Beitashour has the job moving forward (which is of course as we'd all expect) but he will have to improve so the Whitecaps don't drop two points with a tie or lose all three on a sloppy goal.
  5. THE GOOD Diego Rodriguez stands tall Talk about coming into a hostile environment to be welcomed into MLS. 31,000 fans wanting you to fail, booing every time you touch a player and don't get called for a foul. Even with all of that Rodriguez played an excellent game. He partnered well with the other centreback Kendall Waston. Waston isn't always the easiest player to play with. He can be a little too aggressive sometimes and that will leave a lot on his partners shoulders to cover for him. Rodriguez was able to be sound defensively and was able to stand tall during crosses and corner kicks that were sent into the box. He was calm with the ball and made sound passes that got the ball away from Orlando's strikers and kept the pressure off David Ousted. With all the travel this season he showed Carl Robinson he can be called upon at any time when Kah needs a rest, although he may just have staked a claim to the starting spot in the process. THE AVERAGE The play of Gershon Koffie Had a great first 30 minutes where he was able to get under Kaka's skin and get him upset. Getting a finger wagging from one of the world's greats must be right up there in his footballing memories! Then he got a silly yellow card and had to settle down with his play so he wouldn't pick up a second one. In the second half he settled in nicely and was very sound clogging up the middle of the pitch with Laba. With Teibert away with Canada next week, Koffie will get a chance to build upon his play and make it hard for Robinson to take him out when Teibert is back, but he has to control his aggression or risk becoming a liability. THE BAD Sam Adekugbe's tender ribs After his MLS 'Team of the Week' performance last week, would people continue to talk about him this week? Unfortunately yes, and he will be talked about for all the wrong reasons. He ran into a mountain of a man in Donovan Ricketts and paid the price. The reports from the Whitecaps are that his ribs are not broken but severely bruised. That's somewhat good news, compared to what it could have been. After he was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher it looked really bad and Robinson said after the game they were wanting to make sure his lung was ok. So partly good news in no break, but bruised ribs can take a time to heal as well. Also with the fact he was called up by Canada for next week the injury will take away his chance to represent his country. Tough for Sam and the Whitecaps.
  6. Sam Adekugbe has been in the Vancouver residency system since September 2011. Time and time again he has excelled at the U16 and U18 levels and after he signed his MLS homegrown contract, he has stepped up to the next level, knowing that the road to becoming a full time MLS starter will be full of obstacles and challenges. In the long run they will only make him a more well rounded and more complete professional footballer because of it. Last weekend during the game versus the Fire there were signs that he has plenty to work on to become the most complete left-back he can be. He isn't always in the perfect defensive position, he can maybe be too aggressive from time to time, but what he lacks in his technicalities he makes up for it with his raw speed, pace and his gifted abilities. Numerous times he showed off that unsuspecting speed to blow past countless Fire players and run right around them down the left side of the pitch. He showed great footballing smarts by jumping into the play when he was open to do so. Now the pass wasn't always sent to him by his teammate, and there were a few wasted 50 to 60 yard runs, but at least he knew when he had an opportunity to make them. He also knew once he didn't get the ball to hustle back and get into sound defensive positions just in case there was a quick turnover and a counter attack. Just as well, as watching the game there was plenty of them by both teams. Moving forward, Carl Robinson has a difficult decision to make now every game. Does he go with the football intelligent, experienced and great team leader that is Jordan Harvey or is the future now and should he start the uptempo and faster Adekugbe? As of now, there appears to be no limit on Adekugbe's potential as a player. What to do with him and how to get the best continued development out of him are now the questions facing the Whitecaps management. USL and the new WFC2 team are still an option for Adekugbe this season. That would be a great chance for him to get quality, competitive minutes on a pitch. But there is the potential of him not benefiting enough from the quality of play in USL. Adekugbe has shown he is capable of holding his own and excelling at the MLS level. Sure he will learn from his mistakes at either level, but it might be better for his continued footballing development to make the mistakes around players like Mauro Roslaes, Pa-Madou Kah and Steven Beitashour than players like Brett Levis, Tyler Rosenlund and Jackson Farmer. And I mean that as no slight or with no offence to the USL players I named, but they don't have years and years of experience at the highest level of football in North America, and in Rosales' case in South America. Another option thrown around by Whitecaps supporters on Twitter these past few days caught my eye. Could we have Harvey start at right-back for the struggling Steven Beitashour, thus allowing Adekugbe to continue to start and gain quality MLS minutes and experience as the left-back? Other than the assist to Octavio Rivero to set-up the game winning goal (which we have to give him kudos for), Beitashour has struggled this preseason and the two games so far in the regular season. Just like last season he has been beaten too many times by being sucked in too far into the middle of the pitch, then having the opposing team's defender run right past him giving them an easy shot or too much space to make a decent cross into the defensive box. Harvey has filled in nicely at the right-back position a few times over his career, he has the experience to be able to not look completely out of place on the pitch in that spot. Ethen Sampson is currently the first choice back-up to Beitashour, and although Tim Parker may also be an option there going forward, the cupboard is somewhat bare for the Whitecaps in that position, and not for the first time. Adekugbe's performance on Saturday earned him a place in Major League Soccer's "Team of the Week". That display, along with the 'Caps keeping their first clean sheet of the new season, make him hard to now drop. Tough decisions ahead for Robinson.
  7. THE GOOD Sam Adekugbe The young Canadian left back got his third MLS start of his career. The difference this time was that it was because of merit and not because starting left back Jordan Harvey was serving a suspension. He stepped up to the plate and did everything the coaching staff asked him too. He was able to use his speed and get up the wing to jump into the play. He linked up well with Kekuta Manneh and made it difficult for the Chicago Fire players to stop them both. Did Adekugbe do enough to earn a second straight start? Is there any way that Carl Robinson can not start him? The future is bright for young Sam and he looks like he will be an important part of the Whitecaps in the future moving forward. THE AVERAGE Able To Counterattack It was a game of counterattacks, for both teams on the pitch. Sure it means that mistakes were being made by both sides but it was sure entertaining to watch. With all the opportunities created by both teams it led to chance after chance but both sides failed to score off those attacks. Sooner or later these chances for the Whitecaps will go into the back of the net. When they do, the team will be a high octane force this season in MLS. THE BAD Would The Real Pedro Morales Please Stand Up Where has his shot gone? Why can't he hit the net from anywhere on the pitch? He is looking like a player that has concerns in his mind that is affecting his ability on the pitch. The good thing is he is still creating chances and getting these opportunities that he is missing. He has been able to link up well with newcomer Octavio Rivero and with time, they may become one of the most dangerous duos in the league this season. He is too good to keep struggling like this for an extended period of time. His goals with come, he will continue to get better game after game and he will step up when the team needs him to this season.
  8. THE GOOD: Octavio Rivero's overall skill level Ok, let's get this out of the way first. The miss was bad. It was really bad. Mattocks could bury that. I think Jarju could have scored on that chance. Other than that Rivero played a great game. His first and second touch on the great pass from Pa-Modou Kah was world class and he showed that he can be that player who is tall, fast and strong enough to play those over the top balls and have the skill to bury the chances. He was able to use his height and pace to separate himself from defenders and create the best chances of the game. Once he gets his touches and his pace correct, and gets used to turf pitches, he looks like he will be a player that will be hard for defenders to deal with. Before any comments on this story......YES THE MISS WAS BAD...... THE AVERAGE: The play of Pedro Morales He had some amazing passes all over the pitch. Great 60 yard cross pitch bombs on a dime to Kekuta Manneh. Great played through balls to Rivero in the first half. The second half was a completely different story. He looked like he took a niggle on one of the hard tackles from Micheal Bradley in the first half. His shots were all over the place except for on the goal. He missed easy passes and his pace was brutal at best. Thank god its only game one and he has plenty of games to redeem himself and show the home town supporters his great play from last season. THE BAD: Lack of defence on second TFC goal It was a comedy of errors on the Findley goal. First, Steven Beitashour gets beat by two steps on the wing to give TFC the easy cross. This was a problem last season and this preseason for Beitashour. He looks like he is just a little too slow on his first step backwards to get to the winger. Secondly, Kendall Waston and Pa-Modou Kah didn't run fast enough to get into the defensive six yard box. They could have easily knocked that ball into the stands and get rid of the danger. And last, but not least, Jordan Harvey was so busy looking at the assistant referee calling an offside that Findley easily walked around him and made his way to the front of the net. Harvey has to realize by now that him calling for the offside not convince the official to change his mind if he says different. He has to make sure offside call or not, don't let the opposing team ever get ahead of you and get to the front of the goal that easily. All four defenders can be blamed on that goal. It's time to move on to the next game and make sure they don't give those easy goals up moving forward.
  9. THE GOOD Overall Team Health The biggest concern every preseason is to make sure the team makes in out with no injuries and a healthy team for the long gruelling MLS season. Other then a few knocks for Mauro Rosales and Erik Hurtado, the team goes in to the season with a overall healthy team. Even Gershon Koffie has recovered nicely from his bout of flu at the beginning of the preseason. With a completely healthy line-up it gives Robinson his full arsenal of talent for his opening day clash with TFC. With a 4-2-3-1 formations, the Whitecaps should have a starting day XI of: Ousted; Beitashour, Waston, Kah, Harvey; Teibert, Laba; Rosales, Morales, Manneh; Rivero. THE AVERAGE Pa Modou Kah's Defensive Ability Yeah he scored two big goals for the Whitecaps in the tournament down in Portland and the coaching staff and supporters will take that all season long, but with Kah partnering up with Kendall Waston it leaves the Caps open to attacks up the middle from opposing strikers. The problem is both centrebacks play an attacking up field style. Kah was caught out of position a few times this week, being too aggressive in his defensive play. Last season with Andy O'Brien, the team had that defensive player they knew would always be in the right place at the right time. Kah and Waston will have to learn how to play off one another to make sure that doesn't happen too many times during the season. THE BAD Lack Of Goals Six goals in five preseason games against MLS opponents. That is not good enough to make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference this season. If Robinson wants an extra 25 goals this season they have work ahead of them. With newly acquired striker Octavio Rivero starting this season as the lone top striker, there will be a learning curve. It may take 7-10 games for him to learn how to play the MLS style of game, how to play off defenders and adjust to the physicality of the league. Is this the season where Darren Mattocks re-finds his scoring touch? Can he be that secondary striker that can get 7 goals this season? Will he still be here by Saturday? The Whitecaps will need secondary scoring this season to have any success. They will need these strikers to put away their chances. That has been a problem with Mattocks the past few seasons.
  10. THE GOOD Pedro's Passes We saw a clinic in the first half of the game. He was on point with all his passes up the middle, over the top and through to the wing passes for Kekuta Manneh, Octavio Rivero and Mauro Rosales. He was able to hit them in full sprint and if it wasn't for the Portland keeper being so active outside his defensive box the Whitecaps would of had two or three more great scoring chances. It looks like the three months off this offseason has Morales healthy, rested and refreshed. THE AVERAGE Octavio's Finish Rivero had some great runs this game, we saw the same thing down in Tucson. But he did lack calmness and finish in the 18 yard box. He was trying to make that one extra move that gave the Timber defenders a chance to knock the ball away from him. On the bright side he did play well with Morales and looks like once they are in sync they will be a power pair in MLS. THE BAD Centrebacks Seeing Yellow We all saw that coming. Kendall Waston and Pa Modou Kah both earned a yellow card in this game. This will be a big story this season. There will be suspensions, which means Diego Rodriguez, Tim Parker and Christian Dean will likely all be getting MLS minutes. Waston was lucky he didn't pick up a second yellow a few different times. He played at his physical level that you love to see from him. You have to take the missed games due to suspension if you want him to play at this level. He was just physical enough where Portland forwards where concerned to go up against him in the box. Kah has a history of yellow cards and it won't change now that he is in a Whitecaps kit. Both he and Waston have to be smart when they play with each other to make sure they don't hurt the team by both of them being reckless. He did show some great defensive ability in the box and stepped up big with the game winning goal.
  11. THE GOOD: Sam Adekugbe The young Canadian left back showed great hustle the whole game. He jumped into the play well and wasn't afraid to join the rushes up the wing. He didn't look out of place in the defensive end and showed great first touch when he was able to attack. Was a little heavy with his crosses and that could come from the excitement of being up so much and him looking to add more goals to the score. Earned the free kick with some great movement to set up Pedro Morales for the opening goal of the game. Expect to see him get quality minutes in Portland next week so Carl Robinson can see how he fairs against the better opposition the Whitecaps will face down the I5. He should be a staple for USL ThunderCaps this season and really give an older player like Jordan Harvey a push for the starting spot next year, if not later this one. THE AVERAGE: Ethen Sampson Saw more offensive attack from Sampson on Sunday then I have in the past two seasons from him. He jumped up the wing really well and had a few crosses into the box. There wasn't much of a UVIC attack in the second half that he had to defend against. That being said, he uses up an international spot that I think the Whitecaps could use to find a better team fit than using it on a back up right back that barely plays. They could use a Jackson Farmer or Tim Parker in that back up role and use the international spot for a new left winger. THE BAD: Steven Beitashour's Fitness The only two runs down the wing that UVIC had in the first half were on Beitashour's half of the pitch. We saw the same thing from time to time last season. With him being away from the team last week due to his honeymoon, he is going to be a little behind the rest of his teammates on the pitch. There is still plenty of time for him to get his fitness up with the three games next week in Portland. Picking this as "The Bad" for this article is really the only thing that could have been picked. It's hard to find things to complain about in a 6-0 win.
  12. THE GOOD: Ability To Work With Younger Players With the Whitecaps wanting to ideally field a USL PRO team that will consist of mainly players between 17 and 24 years old, Koch's history and experience will make him a good candidate for this job. These players are going to have to be pushed just right, there will be times when Koch will have to be brutally honest when they are struggling but there will also be times where he will have to be more of a friend that encourages the player than a coach. With young Canadian players like Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Caleb Clarke, Marco Carducci, Ben McKendry, Sam Adekugbe, and maybe even a Residency player like Dario Zanatta, their development this season in USL PPO is key. This can't be like when they sent players to Charleston Battery where it was a waste of the player's year and the player and team didn't benefit from it. This has to work. This has to be benefit the first team, Residency and most importantly the players themselves. Koch is the safe bet for the front office to hire. He is known to the coaching staff and players and he knows what the direction of the club under Carl Robinson is. This can be a gateway to maybe a MLS job in the future for Koch and we know he will give 100%. THE AVERAGE: Expectations For Team I hope supporters and casual fans realize that this team was not started to win USL PRO championships. Sure winning one would be great for the club but that's not the main goal. That goal is to build up young players, Canadian or not, to succeed enough to become a mainstay on the first team. With the mandatory roster rules of 50% Canadian and 6 out of 11 of the starters also being Canadian, these rules shouldn't be a problem for the Whitecaps. But with these young players getting these minutes this doesn't mean that it guarantees success this season. For club or player. Fans will have to be patient and enjoy the level of play that the USL will bring. It will be a chance for the fans to support soccer on a level where only those supporters who have followed Residency games will know. It would be great seeing a full Thunderbird Stadium supporting, chanting and cheering on these young players, but it may take a bit of time for those numbers to be hit. Koch's style of play will be vital to both player development, a winning team on the pitch and bums on seats. THE BAD: What If It Doesn't Work What if it doesn't work? What is the back up plan? All their eggs are in the basket for this team. If the team struggles and the fans aren't patient, the support at games will drop. This team has be supported. The players will have to feel apart of the community just like the first team. What if this doesn't help players move up to the first team? Sure you got players like Bustos, Adekugbe, Froese, Clarke and Carducci that will get first team minutes this season. They will play Canadian Championship and CONCACAF Champions League games this season and get their chance. But what about other players on the USL PRO roster? Will they get a chance to be in a gameday 18 and/or a MLS contract? What will they have to do to get that chance? In the long run I believe this will be a good fit for Koch, but fans will also have to be patient and look at the long term goals moving forward.
  13. The Good: Long term stability I know this is a new concept for Canadian MLS teams, but having a coach stay more then one or two seasons can only be good for the team. Robinson came in last season and laid out a long term plan for the club that involves a big effort from producing regular talent from the Residency to building talent from South America. This plan isn't a one to three year plan. This is a long term five to six to ten year plan that should make the team and Canadian soccer better over the long term. By signing Robinson, Forrest, Pert and Rovde to extensions, it gives the players reassurance that the gameplan moving forward is for the long term. Players like Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese and Marco Carducci now know that the path that there young careers have been led down the past season will continue to give them the best chance to be quality MLS players down the road. They don't have to worry about a new manager coming in and changing the path and moving away from youth. Look at Caleb Clarke, under Martin Rennie he was shipped off to Germany and told that the club's direction was to have him play over there. There was no talk of having him in the MLS squad in Vancouver. There where rumours that there was no way he was re-signing in Vancouver this past off season. Once Robinson was signed and the proper communication opened up with Clarke and the chance to play MLS and USL Pro in Vancouver he decided to stick around. He was not the first player under Rennie to question coming to play in Vancouver or who was mistreated. Look at Atiba Harris, Alain Rochat, Davide Chiumiento and Eric Hassli. They all had various issues with Rennie and mistrust about what was said to them. The players know they won't have to worry about being mistreated and lied to like that with Carl around. He says one of his best qualities is his honesty, which has to go down well with his players. The Average: Can't Settle For Average Effort Moving Forward Some people say Robinson over achieved last season. I myself thought the team would be a 7th place finisher in the West. This contract moving forward will put added pressure of Robinson and the coaching staff. People will now expect continued improvement, difficult in itself after a season of bests. That's means we as supporters, bloggers and media shouldn't and won't settle for average effort anymore. We are going to see the peaks and valleys (see below) but at times last season the effort was average or below average at best. The players have to realize if they don't give 100% it's not the coaches that will be leaving if they struggle. These extensions means if players (Canadian or not) can't cut it or can't get to the level to make first team there is a chance of them being demoted to USL Pro or being cut from the team all together. I know it won't take long for this concept to be trolled on Twitter by certain TFC media, but if our young Canadians can't make the MLS starting 11 or game day 18 because of skill level it means that they just don't have the skill or aren't making the effort needed, suffering the fate that will come with that. The Bad: Peaks and Valleys Last year was a season with many peaks and many valleys. The supporters, for the most part, were pro-Robinson throughout the whole season. The main part of the season where Robinson's decisions were questioned was people saying he fielded a too young line-up against TFC in the Canadian Championship. With the new long term contract, what kind of effect will it have if this season is not as good as last season? What happens if the whole season is a valley? Will supporters stand by Carl if that happens? Fans can be quick to turn everywhere and past achievements are often soon forgotten. A new contract means long term stability for the team but it also means that if there is a hiccup this season the coaching staff will be held accountable, but moving forward there may be a peak right around the corner. Having a new coach around for the long term is new for Vancouver, it's even a new concept for all the Canadian MLS teams. So let's all be excited about the announcement today but let's remember what this means for the future - that no matter how high the peaks and how low the valley, Robinson and this coaching staff are in this for the long haul. But also remember, contracts often mean little if the results aren't there to back things up.
  14. THE GOOD: 5 out of last 7 games at home BC Place has become something of a fortress since they moved from Empire Field. With how competitive the West will be this year, the Whitecaps can't afford to drop any points at home. The past three years have come down to the final weeks of the season for a playoff position push. This year should be no different. With games versus Houston, Dallas x2, San Jose, Seattle and NYCFC it will be a great chance to cement their playoff place. THE AVERAGE: A September 26th visit from New York City FC or Man City B Who will be in their line up? Will Frank Lampard and David Villa play on the turf? I am curious what $100,000,000 and the backing by Man City does for the MLS. All season long they will be compared to Orlando SC, just like the Whitecaps and Portland Timbers were in 2011. Can money buy MLS championships? We shall soon find out. THE BAD: Women's World Cup Break Yes, having a women's World Cup in Vancouver is great for Canadian women's soccer. Yes, they will be supported by supporters here in Vancouver. We're still holding out hopes that we could get a new turf that will benefit the Whitecaps moving forward. BUT.... from May 31st to July 11th, the Whitecaps will not play a home game. It will be 5 games on the road with thankfully a bye week break inbetween. This is my make or break time for this team. If they collapse, like they do most mid seasons they could be playing catch up the rest of the year to make the top six and grab a playoff spot. If the 'Caps can grab seven or eight of the possible points on offer during those five games it should give them a fighting chance in the tough Western Conference this upcoming season.
  15. The Good: Can't Put Pedro & Kendall In The Corner First thing first, great run by Kekuta Manneh to get the corner for the Whitecaps. As soon as Pedro runs over to the corner you could hear the supporters start buzzing. It's almost like they knew something special was about to happen. Erik Hurtado made a great play by drawing defenders to the front post and letting Waston follow right behind him with a free run. Even though Waston over jumped the height of the cross he was still able to get head to ball and score the biggest goal in the Whitecaps' MLS history. 10 games in for Waston and he has become a fan favourite and is on his way to DeMerit level of fame. The Average: 21,000 Out of the 17 MLS home games, the Whitecaps sold out 11 of them. They averaged just over 20,400 fans to a game this season. If they are to host a home playoff game versus Seattle you have to think the FO will open up the lower bowl for 26,000. This season was a great step in the proper direction. I believe they are still a year or two away from getting the tarps off for good. They have created a demand and the market is coming in the direction they want. The Bad: Darren Mattocks The game was full of Mattocks being out of proper position, coming back to the ball and giving up too soon during a build up. This might have been his last MLS regular season game in the white and blue for the Whitecaps. In my opinion it was one of his worst outings this season. Too many times he gave up on a play if the ball didn't come right to his feet. And the times when it did he had horrible passes and touches and just turned it over. Manneh and Hurtado came on to the pitch and made impacts in their limited minutes. That is something Mattocks hasn't done in weeks. There will be trade value for him this off season, even at a salary of $220,000. Whitecaps should be able to get a decent return on him.
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