Print Edition: April 11, 2012
In the second season for the Whitecaps in the MLS, surprises have abounded – especially goals for and allowed. The Whitecaps, prior to Saturday’s tilt against the San Jose Earthquakes, are undefeated with a record of 2-0-2. Yet, there is one slight problem with that.
Yes, the Whitecaps got off to a quick start with a 2-0 defeat of the Montreal Impact in their home opener, and yes it was the first time they won on the road in their short MLS history against Chivas USA with a score of 1-0, but the offence has run dry starting with their game against D.C. United. In the aforementioned game, the Whitecaps drew even at 0-0, with the same outcome the next game against the Philadelphia Union. In both of those games they also had no shots on goal – something that they should be concerned about through 180-plus minutes of soccer.
Whitecaps fans are enjoying not seeing the ball in their team’s net as often, though; considering through their first season they allowed a whopping 55 goals, with only 35 goals for, resulting in a plus/minus of -20 in the goal-differential department. Martin Rennie’s new coaching tactics and different approach to each game seems to be a result of their stingy defensive play, but also because the team finally has a strong set of leaders.
John Thorrington, Jay DeMerit, Joe Cannon, and Alain Rochat are the four players that were chosen by the coaching staff as team leaders and liaisons to the coaches. All are veterans of the game and bring high expectations for this team – something that the group lacked last season under former coach Teitur Thordarson.
Captain Jay DeMerit put a system of fines in place if players arrive late to meetings and practices. No players have had to pay up yet; apparently all Whitecaps players are either scrooges, are worried about Vancouver housing costs, or the obvious one – they understand that there needs to be continuity and commitment to this team to win more than a measly six games like they did last year through 34 contests.
If the Whitecaps want to stay in fourth place and climb the Western Conference ranks, they must keep playing defensively sound and find their offensive game once again. Sounds simple right? It always seems that way on paper.