Darren Mattocks (@DarrenMattocks)
This weekend provided the Vancouver Whitecaps with a perfect opportunity to increase their playoff chances. After seeing the starting 11 for Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening, I was anticipating that I would be writing an article about one or two players and focusing on how they were instrumental in aiding the team’s chances of making the post-season, however, the Whitecaps blew it and now have their fans wondering what happened and if their club can win the big games.
Nigel Reo-Coker visibly upset by the lack of performance and when asked if it was tough to explain what happened, his response was simple, “No it’s not, we got taught a footballing lesson, we had to win today, they were the better team, they had a lot more desire than us and taught us a footballing lesson, we have to be honest with ourselves.”
Coach Martin Rennie was disappointed in his team’s play and his opening post-game remark set the tone, “For the 3rd game in a row we started the game badly, which is really frustrating.” Rennie also added, “We put ourselves in a bad spot to start with and I then I just thought our quality was really poor, we didn’t get good balls into the box, we didn’t really connect any crosses, our passing and movement in the final 3rd was
poor today and it was a disappointing performance, especially when you look at how we have played in our last 2 games.”
The team ownership of the loss was echoed by all players after the match but Coach Rennie said it best at the end of his news conference, “I don’t think anybody played well today, apart from maybe David Ousted,
I think it was a terrible performance from everybody, and that means it’s a terrible performance from the coach as well, it’s a real let down and way below our standard.”
David Ousted was clearly unhappy with the goal against and described the game as, “definitely not a solid performance we can look back on with joy. I think we weren’t there today and conceded a bad goal and weren’t able to get the chances we needed.” Ousted continued to echo similar remarks throughout the post-game press conference stating, “I am not happy with the way we performed, myself included, we should have done better especially in this part of the season. I think we had a great opportunity today, at home, to meet a team that maybe had their minds elsewhere and I can’t explain why we were not there and why we’re not taking advantage of an opportunity like this but we need to get back and try to win the next 3 or 4 games.”
Fortunately for the Whitecaps, they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot and the 5th place Colorado Rapids do not have an easy set of games remaining. The Rapids play the Seattle Sounders next, then they play the San Jose Earthquakes, currently in 6th place and finish out the season with a home and home against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who now sit in 7th place.
Colorado and Vancouver have a game in hand on San Jose and the Earthquakes play the LA Galaxy and
Dallas FC as their final two games of the season, which neither contest will be an easy win for San Jose.
The importance of the loss is clearly acknowledged but the team doesn’t appear that this loss has defeated them and the silent confidence that the team will rebound was apparent with Rennie, “We put ourselves in a difficult spot as we go forward, but we still got plenty of time to get the wins that we need and we know how many we need.”
Vancouver doesn’t have an easy schedule to obtain those wins as the Whitecaps face their Cascadia rivals over their next two matches. First they play the Portland Timbers at home and then travel down the I-5 t attempt to pull out a result in an incredibly tough environment in Seattle.
The Whitecaps have the perfect chance to show their fans, and the league, what they are made of, because every game down the stretch is a big game and if they don’t come away with 3 points in each of the next 2 games their season could be over. The optimistic fans are hoping that the home and home with Colorado is not a moot point and their club can prove they have the resolve to produce under pressure. I believe they have to win 3 of the last 4 to have a chance and after this weekend it’s not looking promising.