What a disgrace. The Vancouver Whitecaps rode into their conference semi-final against Cascadia rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on the back of a 5-0 thumping of the San Jose Earthquakes. Their manager, Carl Robinson, stated that he'd 'take a nil-nil.' Some people praised him for tactical astuteness when a nil-nil was rendered at BC Place in the first leg however, what message did that send to his team that were rolling on the back of scoring 5 goals. It was negative mentality which emanated in negative football.
The Whitecaps then travelled to Seattle, the home of the defending MLS Cup Champions, hoping for another nil-nil and potential penalty kick victory or a score draw to advance. Was that really a realistic objective, especially considering the Sounders were missing some of their key players in the first leg? It was a far-fetched hope which never transpired and the Sounders romped to a deserved 2-0 victory and spot in the Conference final. The Whitecaps looked spent in the 2nd half of the 2nd leg mainly due to the fact that they had chased the Sounders for the previous 90 minutes trying to defend. What some don't realise is the amount of energy that is expended trying to play out a draw. You really have no motive because when you receive the ball, your first inclination is negative therefore your teammates are not moving for you but rather ensuring they are in the best defensive position possible. This gives you no outlet and the inevitability of turning the ball over.
Yes, it can work from time to time but only when you have a well-oiled defensive machine that know their only asset is to defend. Carl Robinson tried to deploy this tactic with a contingent of players that like to be on the ball and attacking - a gross neglect of the capabilities his team hold.
The Whitecaps are out of the race to the MLS Cup due to tragic mismanagement, not because they aren't a talented group of players. It's a sad day for Vancouver, not only because of the loss but also the disgraceful representation of the beautiful game deployed by a team that is better than they were asked to be.