2 in a row: 'Caps fall to Chivas USA
By Jon Szekeres
Another winnable match, another tough loss for the suddenly reeling Vancouver Whitecaps. A week removed from a poor effort against a thin Houston Dynamo squad, many expected the Whitecaps to rebound against a surprising Chivas USA team. After all, the 'Caps have had success against the Goats, peaking with a 4-0 slaughter last October at BC Place. However, it was the 'Caps that would be beaten this time, falling 2-1 on the road.
The loss is disturbing for a couple of reasons. First, why can't the Whitecaps win on the road? This is a club with an elite level of talent that looks absolutely stunned whenever they travel outside BC Place. What the heck is the deal? In case you don't know the stats, the 'Caps laid a goose egg in 2011 on the road, then won just three away matches in 2012. This year, they're 0 for 2, heading into this weekend's road match against Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes. It's not like they've played the Galaxy on the road this year, these were two matches that the Whitecaps should have at the very least, snagged a point from.
Secondly, where is Darren Mattocks? Just one goal through four matches isn't exactly inspiring, especially considering his lofty, 20 goal boast from the pre-season. Mattocks is getting chances, but his finish just seems off, a normal problem for a young striker. Mattocks will figure it out, but will it be in time?
Lastly, though Joe Cannon cannot be faulted heavily for the goals given up, perhaps a change in net is exactly what this club needs. When a team needs a kick in the pants, often a small shakeup can be expected. Starting Brad Knighton isn't the cure this team needs, but it could be a wake up call for a suddenly struggling club.
All that being said, there were some positives to take from the Chivas match. First off, the match was essentially decided by an own goal deflection off Jun-Marques Davidson, an unlucky goal that only happens 1% of the time. Bad bounces happen in soccer, so you can live with that. Secondly, the Whitecaps showed fight in their defeat, with Kenny Miller continuing his outstanding play. Miller has unquestionably been the Whitecaps MVP, good news for the Whitecaps attacking depth.
The defense continues to be a strength for the club, this despite Jay Demerit's season ending injury. In years past, the backline has crumbled without their all-star with them, but the addition of Brad Rusin has seemingly changed that. Rusin is a fine addition to the core, that already boasts three solid defenders in Alain Rochat, YP Lee, and Andy O'Brien. If a contract can't be reached with Demerit, Rusin's strong play has made him the heir apparent.
Is the sky falling? Of course not, two losses does not a season make. However, if the 'Caps can't straighten their wings this weekend, you might have to ask me that question one more time.