After settling for a 0-0 draw at BC Place against Montreal Impact the Whitecaps hit the road again as they head to Colorado to face the Rapids. I predicted in my mid-week preview article for the game against the Impact that we would see an action packed game full of blistering counter-attacks by Vancouver. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Vancouver coach, Carl Robinson, did follow through with his teasing comments about starting all three of Vancouver’s speedsters. And I think it’s safe to say that will be the last time Robinson uses that attacking combination.
It was hard to pick a leading cause or player that was responsible for the failure of Vancouver’s tactical plan. No single player was at fault. The Whitecaps were simply not on the same page. Turn over after turn over. No killer ball by Morales to spring a speeding Mattocks, Manneh, or Hurtado. It short, it was one of, if not the worst game Vancouver has played since undergoing a major roster overall after the conclusion of the 2011 season. The game was so bad that I would have fallen asleep if I wasn’t so frustrated at the dismal performance that was happening before my eyes. I could see Carl Robinson and it’s safe to say he shared my sentiment along with the other 21,000 in attendance. The usually very loud supporter sections were stunned into almost complete silence for much of the game. The best thing to do is forget the game ever happened and hope that the ‘Caps can recoup the lost two points later on this season.
Now for some good news. Injury free and fresh from World Cup duty, defender Steven Beitashour is expected to join the team in Colorado. Carl Robinson has been forced to start makeshift defensive lines for the past few games and the return of Beitashour will be a massive boost. Robinson started a central defensive pairing of Leveron and Andy O’Brien against Montreal and will likely do so again this weekend. Personally I have seen more than enough of Kekuta Manneh continually run into 3 or 4 defenders and turn the ball over or Sebastian Fernandez flop to the ground hoping for a call that never comes. Manneh has proven he is not worthy of a starting position. Against the Rapids I expect to see him as a late game sub when opposition defenders are tired. Fernandez has been underwhelming of late and I would like to see Mezquida start on the wing in Colorado like he did against the Union. He scored his second of the season and was very effective against the Union. Mattocks was invisible against Montreal but that was arguably his first poor performance of the year. I predict he will start on the wing again this weekend. Hopefully Pedro Morales has gotten over his Hawaiian vacation and will be able to run the midfield for Vancouver again.
The Rapids are the only visiting team to emerge with 3 points from BC Place this season after coming back to defeat a 10 man Whitecaps side. Colorado will be without a suspended Dillon Serna, but DP striker Gabriel Torres could make his return after spending the last few weeks trying to regain his fitness. The Colorado Rapids will be a tough test for Vancouver as the Whitecaps hope to extend their 8 game undefeated run and move up the western conference standings.
(image courtesy of Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)