Drab: Whitecaps 0 - 0 Union
The atmosphere was electric – you definitely can’t fault the fans for a drab home opener which saw a Vancouver Whitecaps team who had lost more than they gained over the summer struggle to impose any real threat versus a sub-par Philadelphia Union team.
The hoopla surrounding the home opener was the excitement of having Fredy Montero suit up in all white for his debut. As I stated in one of my previous blogposts (https://www.footyscout.ca/blog/fredy-montero-fantastic-hair), Montero is not going to light fires up the Caps backside and propel them to the promise land. He’s at the tail-end of his career and in fairness to him, shouldn’t be expected to lift the club out of their previous seasons doldrums. Nevertheless, he is the ‘biggest’ signing of the summer so I understood the fans excitement in getting to watch him in the flesh. Unfortunately, Carl Robinson decided to prolong the anticipation by leaving him on the bench for 60 minutes. I’ve never understood why managers do this. A footballer is a footballer and will always take time to adapt to new surroundings – thinking 60 minutes of viewing time would do him justice was ridiculous. When he did arrive, his contribution was lacklustre and bar a few good touches, he failed to impose himself.
A nice surprise was Brek Shea. I thought he was energetic and exciting up the touchline and will contribute some decent creativity from the left or right flank over the course of this season. Shea is tall and fast and seems to explode off his toes. Regardless of his silly headband and surfer dude hair, he’s going to be exciting. I also thought Jordan Harvey and Cristian Dean were imposing and strong at the back. Dean looks to have bulked up over the summer and will definitely add to a strong back-line that will be expected to embed hope through keeping clean sheets.
Other than a clear-cut chance from Cristian Techera in the first half, the Caps didn’t create anything worth talking about. The Techera chance was a terrible miss skewing it wide from 10 yards out – at least test the goalkeeper!
In addition to an average on field performance, I fail to understand the system Robinson is trying to impose upon opposition. They have decent speed and creativity on the flanks but nothing up the middle to finish anything created. In the middle, there is Laba who adds to the defensive strength but doesn’t offer much going forward. The expectation will be that Montero will generate chances and score a few goals, a stretch of expectation considering what I’ve already stated.
In a nutshell, the Caps brass have failed to add any players of noteriety and they should begin to air on the side of caution in thinking that the fans will continue to pack the house out. Complacency is a football club killer and the board must inject some excitement into the squad to maintain the solid foundation which the supporters have created – otherwise, it will be a nasty spiral into obscurity.
Whatever way you look at it, the average football fan wants excitement, usually in the form of chances and goals, and the Caps don’t seem to have the type of players which will really create such furor. A big signing doesn’t just inject passion into the fanbase but also to the players within the squad. Sometimes it can elevate a club from mediocrity to promise – at the moment, the Vancouver Whitecaps are struggling to be average and a big name is ultimately what is needed to appease an increasingly frustrated city.