Encouraging the masses

It’s tough; Clapping, chanting, and shouting. Standing for 90 minutes while 22 blokes kick a football may seem unimportant, but it’s not.  The eleven gents that wear your beloved colours are desperate to fight for the cause, but you’re not.

Clinging to every mis-placed pass, way-ward shot, and missed opportunity, we expect too much.

Their muscles ache, while our bellies are filled with the latest local ale.  They perspire, and run breathlessly after a ball filled with air. A trivial pursuit, it may seem, but it’s more than a game.

Supporting your team is a reciprocal relationship. You cheer, they deliver. You, as fans, get the performance that you deserve. Show passion, and they team will too.

Viva Whitecaps.

Tactics: Whitecaps 2-0 Impact

Last season the Whitecaps were in desperate need of a right-back, a possession-oriented centre-midfielder.

Let’s have a look at the improvements.

Young-Pyo Lee

Assertive, skilful, and composed. Lee has been nothing short of excellent in his time with Vancouver. As he becomes more and more comfortable with the squad, he’ll likely provide plenty of crosses from the right – something he didn’t really do vs. Montreal. Here are his successful passes.

Jun Marques Davidson

Arguably not the “star name” that many yearned for, but Davidson performed very well in his competitive debut for the Whitecaps. It was an efficient display that showed what the Whitecaps needed last season – composure. Essentially, the Japanese-American centre-midfielder has replaced Pete Vagenas (thank goodness for that)

Here’s a look at JMD’s successful passing.

Davidson’s defensive duties benefited the Caps greatly. He shielded the back-four very well, allowing the more attack-minded Gershon Koffie the license to roam forward.

Headers are shown with directional arrows.

Interceptions in black, and clearances in green.

 

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What a difference a year makes.

The beer has worn off. The sun may not have been shining on a raucous Empire Field, but yesterday’s win at BC Place felt better.

A smash-and-grab win last season was wild, and exciting, but, in the end, it was little more than gloss on a rather poor product. Rennie has instilled fluid efficiency on a squad that needed to be handed a rather large slice of optimism. Looking on, the additions of Young-Pyo Lee, Seba Le Toux, and Davidson looked brilliant.

Last year vs Toronto

Starting XI: Nolly; Leathers, DeMerit, Boxall, Rochat; Chiumiento, Koffie, Dunfield, Teibert; Harris, Hassli

The stand-out performers remain in the ‘Caps line-up, while the pretenders moved on. Cultured, hard-working additions have added steel to the starting XI and it really showed. The Whitecaps were omposed in possession and clinical in front of goal – in stark contrast to Whitecaps 1.0 – so things look much brighter.

 

The renniesance is here. Let’s get that away win now. 

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Finally some honesty

Fresh-faced, man-motivator wants results, and that’s exactly why Martin Rennie has organized the evaluation camp.

A chance to analyze what has and most of all, what he does not have. First impressions are everything and Martin Rennie has nailed it. He expresses his thoughts honestly and bluntly, which is something that had been absent from Tom Soehn’s style as a manager.

“The overall standard isn’t what it’s going to be. It’s going to be much, much higher, and I think the players, maybe they’ll look back and say, ‘wow, the difference is considerable, in the quality of everything we do.”

A shake-up, if you will, is Rennie’s intention. One thing is for certain, personnel will be leaving. Paul Ritchie comes across as a cut-throat but reasonable coach. He’s demanding but reasonable and seems eager to instill some passion within the Whitecaps players.

 

One player, in particular, who seems to excel (when motivated) is Davide Chiumiento. He will improve greatly with this new coaching team.

The Renniesance begins.

While many a Whitecaps fan would be forgiven for calling for Tommy Soehn’s position to be underfire, it is the technical staff that are the first to leave. 

Assistant coaches Colin Miller and Denis Hamlett were relieved of their duties – an unsurprising move considering Martin Rennie will want to make his mark on the squad.

Soehn seems untouchable. The perfect situation was what happened this season, a win-win.

Took over the reigns, with Vancouver struggling, and claimed it won’t take much to turn the season around – how wrong he was. If he had succeeded, he would have been hailed as a managerial saviour. But he didn’t and faced no consequences.

 

No results? No problem, Tommy, you just head back to your office.

Bottom of the league, we’re having a laugh.

As I discussed on TheFootballProject so many things have gone wrong, but here are a few points to ponder:

 

  • New coach: passion, determination and a bloke that won’t sit on the bench for most of the match.
  • New stadium: to be perfectly honest, BC Place has been a much more comfortable place to “occupy”.
  • Added expectation: with Barber aiming to be one of the top 25 clubs in the world, Rennie has to deliver. A young, fresh face at the helm is an indication that the long-term aim.
  • A solid nucleus of players: Rochat, DeMerit, Koffie, Camilo, Hassli are the first names on the team-sheet in my mind.

Fear not, Whitecaps fans, a season to forget is not one that will be easily forgotten. Vancouver supported their team despite disappointment and poor performance, which is a testament to the supporters. I don’t think, in all my years of following football, have I seen a club support a team that has done so poorly. Perhaps that is the culture of the North American game (compared to the UK system) but I don’t think that is the case. Fuelled by the Southsiders, the club must be thrilled with the support. Off-the-field, things steadily improved. Now it is time to see the results on the field.

 

As the phrase goes, things can only get better.

The return of a proper 4-4-2

In the last two matches, Whitecaps supporters have seen the return of a tried and tested tactical formation. The ol’ 4-4-2.

Joe Cannon, Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Carlyle Mitchell, Alain Rochat; Nizar Khalfan, John Thorrington, Gershon Koffie, Jordan Harvey; Camilo, Long Tan.

Some width, and genuine graft.

A few thoughts.

  • Brovsky is looking much better at right-back (still a square peg in a round hole). Seems positionally much more aware after his poor performance vs Portland.
  • Carlyle Mitchell seems very assured at centre-back. A great trade for Mouloud Akloul – which essentially is what it is.
  • The Rochat-Harvey combo on the left-wing seems to have the creativity and width that the Whitecaps have been lacking, all season.
  • Khalfan is an exciting player, not sure why but he offers something different.
  • Long Tan, rewarded for his hard work, got his first MLS goal.
  • Camilo must be a designated player next season. End of story.
Onwards and upwards, or rather, a steadying of the ship. The visit to playoff-chasing FC Dallas will be a good barometer for the status of the “new-look Caps”. They’ve just secured their spot in the playoffs so may, in fact, rest some players.

Looking forward to Saturday’s match.