I want to make it clear right off the top that I am not writing this in the heat of the moment. I did not just walk in and make this judgment on Sunday night after witnessing the boys in Blue and White barely scramble a last minute draw at home against the worst team in the Western Conference. No, I have had a full twenty-four hours to cool off, reflect on and think about what the last result means for the Whitecaps 2013 campaign.
For this article I was going to make a clichéd simile that the game against Chivas USA this past weekend can be seen as a microcosm for the entire season but I decided not to because, well, it was not. Yes, the Whitecaps started the game much in the same fashion as against the Galaxy a week prior, conceding very early goals. The kicker was that in this game they gave away not only one but two goals before the 15th minute. The team played what it was probably their worst half of 2013.
However, unlike the good form that the Whitecaps hit mid-season, the well-organized Chivas side, kept the Whitecaps at bay for most of the game. It was only a late in the game push that allowed the Whitecaps to score an equalizer and avoid a disastrous result at home. So, no, this game was not a microcosm of the Whitecaps season, simply because they do not seem to be making late season pushes.
The late goal by Tommy Heinemman avoided a disastrous result at home but the single point is still a bad outcome for a team that is starting to plant serious doubts in the minds of their fan base regarding their playoff chances.
These doubts are not unfounded. As I mentioned in my article last week, the Whitecaps continue to demonstrate their inability to win the games that really count down the stretch. They now face a grinding schedule with five of their last eight games on the road. Winning the game against Chivas would have put them back in playoff position in the Conference and, more importantly, it would have given them a little more confidence before heading out for three very difficult away matches against Dallas, San Jose and East-leading Montreal.
In a very tight Western conference, it would be irresponsible and unrealistic to make a statement like “the Whitecaps 2013 season is officially over and they will not make the playoffs”. Mathematically, they are very much alive but when considering their remaining schedule, their current form, their lack of creativity in attack and their very much discussed inability to come through in the in ‘Big Games’, it ain’t looking very good Whitecaps fans. Buckle up, it will be a bumpy ride.