Gone to Texas: What went wrong?
By Jon Szekeres
They were playing a team missing three key players. They were coming off a restful bye week after starting the season off at 2-0. They fielded a full lineup, missing just one player in Kenny Miller. Yet, despite the glorious chance to end the Dynamo's impressive home unbeaten streak, the Vancouver Whitecaps fell short, losing 2-1.
It was a disappointing match for so many reasons. The defense looked lost without Captain Jay Demerit, the attack looked muted except for super sophomore Darren Mattocks. In general, it was downright frustrating to watch a club stare greatness in the eye, and blink.
While I'm a supporter of the club, it's tough not to see a pattern since 2011. Since their MLS inception, the Vancouver Whitecaps have crumbled in big matches. While I'm not suggesting that the Dynamo contest was a huge statement match, it was an opportunity to end history and establish themselves as an upper echelon club early. They didn't. Just like last year, when they fell apart at the seams against Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship. This was of course, well before their collapse against the eventual champion LA Galaxy in the playoffs.
Quite simply, this year's edition doesn't have the same excuses to use as 2011 and 2012. This is their third year; they know what to expect from MLS, and they have a roster full of capable players. It's not so much that they lost against Houston, they looked downright bad while doing it, and by all accounts, that shouldn't happen with this level of talent.
Is Jay Demerit injured? Yes, but isn't the three headed monster of Lee, Rochat and O'Brien enough to handle the load? Isn't that why Jun-Marques Davidson has a spot in the starting lineup, to play a defensive midfield position? Then can someone please explain to me how they fell apart like wet paper against a Dynamo team fielding a far from complete lineup?
Finally, Martin Rennie unquestionably knows more about the game than I ever will, but I do fail to see the logic in starting young Erik Hurtado instead of Camilo. Camilo may only be 24, but he's a three year veteran of the MLS that has the talent to be the best striker on the roster, and he hasn't played half as much as he needs to. Rennie has said today that Miller won't start against Chivas this week, as he'll be tired from International duty. If that's the case, then Camilo needs to get his time in the sun, it's that simple. Apart from a cheeky assist, Hurtado was largely unimpressive, while Camilo looked very good when he got his minutes.