After settling for a draw on the road against Toronto and Real Salt Lake, the Whitecaps returned home to face FC Dallas who is enjoying a run of strong performances. Vancouver has been a solid team all season and I believe they are still one of the many teams still capable of earning a playoff spot. However, time is running out and as we head rapidly towards the final third of the season Vancouver must turn draws into victories.
The Whitecaps started on the front foot against FC Dallas. In the 11th minute Gershon Koffie sent a sublime, defence splitting pass to a sprinting Darren Mattocks. Mattocks took a few strides before passing the ball into the net to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Vancouver continued to press and had several chances to increase their lead. Chances they yet again failed to capitalize on.
This reoccurring theme has been Vancouver’s achillies heel all season long. Sure enough Dallas tied things up in the 29th minute when a scramble in front of goal ended with Blas Perez hammering home the ball. Things did not improve for Vancouver when central defender Carlyle Mitchell seemed to recreate the infamous Maradona ‘hand of god’ moment. A high cross into the box resulted in a moment of brief confusion. Goalkeeper David Ousted called for the ball but Mitchell had a moment of madness or simply heard the call to late as he jumped for the ball. Mitchell realized his error and tried to get his head out of the way while inadvertently lifting his arm over his head to connect with the ball. Referee Kevin Stott had no choice but to point to the spot and Dallas took the 2-1 lead.
Vancouver came out with intent in the second half and got their own penalty in the 53rd minute when Dallas defender Moises Hernandez held out his arm to stop the ball after he was beaten by a charging Mattocks. Upon further review it looked like the incident happened just outside the 18 yard box. However, Pedro Morales stepped to the spot and evened the score. Both teams had several chances to win the game but were forced to settle for the draw.
This was another Whitecap classic game. Start strong. The Morales show. Take the lead. Give up a soft goal. Miss many chances. More Morales. Settle for the draw. More dropped points. Rinse and repeat. It’s pretty frustrating to watch really. The simple truth is that Vancouver needs a striker who is experienced. The young blood simply are not clinical in front of goal.
Vancouver also needs a center back to replace recently retired Jay DeMerit. Vancouver president, Bob Lenarduzzi says the team is looking at several options during this transfer window. The Whitecaps should sign a DP striker but they will probably hold off signing a DP after their past mid-season DP signings have been less than stellar.
The Whitecaps have been masters of their own demise so far this season but that is not all that surprising. Head Coach Carl Robinson has showed all season long that he has faith in his young players but we all know that with youth comes inexperience and inconsistency. The team now heads to Chicago where they take on the Fire this Wednesday night.
(image courtesy of Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP Photo)