Another Draw: 'Caps tie Real Salt Lake
By Jonathan Szekeres
A week after they got an undeserved point versus the San Jose Earthquake, the Vancouver Whitecaps probably deserved a bit more, drawing with an uninspired Real Salt Lake team to the tune of 1-1. The Whitecaps attack in the first half was everything we've been hoping to see; dynamic and relentless, with wave after wave of attacking opportunities coming against an RSL squad that looked over matched. However, even in the positives was the one constant negative; the lack of finish.
Put the ball in the net!
Yes, a squad with the likes of Nigel Reo-Coker, Darren Mattocks, Camilo (and so on) still has trouble consistently putting the ball in the net, a problem that has plagued the Whitecaps since their inception into MLS just about three years ago. Against RSL, the boys from Van city could have easily been up by two or three goals; instead, they had to claw their way back to a draw, lucky to get a penalty kick.
How about that turf?
The turf at BC Place has long been a point of contention for Whitecaps fans. Hell, I remember watching BC Lions games when I was a kid, and hearing about all the unnecessary injuries that were piling up as a result of the asphalt like playing surface. It was upgraded, but clearly not well enough. In the first half of the match, you could see the players gingerly go down on the pitch, wincing every time they did. The ball was incredibly active as well, not dying on through balls like it would if it were on natural grass. In the second half, after the pitch crew had sprinkled some water down, the pitch became more of an ice rink, with players sliding around and falling what seemed like every five minutes. Case and point; remember how the 'Caps got their penalty kick? That would be because Nat Borchers lost his footing in the box, and began falling forward. He didn't want to smack his face on the unforgiving surface, so he put his hands out to brace himself. One hand touched the ball, and that was all she wrote. I'm not sure if I'm willing to call the slick playing surface an advantage or a disadvantage, but boy did it ever play a role on the weekend.
No Miller Time?
Who woulda thunk it? Kenny Miller, the pariah from last season that everyone thought would catch the first plane out of town, is now the Whitecaps most consistent forward. Even more so, the team is struggling without him! Did anyone see this coming? Miller's hustle and finish has made him a fan favorite (sort of), and his absence due to a hamstring injury has left a gaping hole in the Whitecaps attack. Miller is arguably the only attacker that is consistently finishing his chances, with Darren Mattocks and Camilo sporting weak stats for players of such high regard.
Now wait a minute!
It might be a little unfair to criticize Camilo and Mattocks, considering they aren't getting any playing time. Camilo made his first start since March 30th on the weekend, and actually had quite a match. He scored a goal and got a slew of chances throughout the match. On the other side of the coin, Darren Mattocks was shut out of the starting 11 for the second straight week, coming on with about 30 minutes left in the match. There have been rumors about Mattocks benching; perhaps he wasn't taking training seriously enough? In any case, he's a player that said he could score 20 goals in a season if he wanted to. He has 1. He must not want to.
It wasn't a horrible match, but in terms of offence, it was pretty disappointing. RSL was a team on the ropes, struggling with a new roster and couldn't keep up with the 'Caps in the first 45. They should have pounced. That being said, you have to crawl before you can walk, and the Vancouver Whitecaps did that by showcasing a sustained, pressure filled attack for most of the match. I'll be a glass half full guy and call that a positive.