Saturday’s match has undoubtedly left many shaking their heads and asking “What happened?” as Vancouver Whitecaps FC hoped to tally their first “W” in the Lone Star State, only to watch three valuable points slip away to FC Dallas in a match that has some fans wondering aloud if the season can be salvaged, or if it’s already game over for the Whitecaps?
For the third game in a row, scoring opened early— this time however, fortune seemed to be smiling down on the Whitecaps; the opening goal coming from Daigo Kobayashi in the fourth minute. Kobayashi finally appeared to find his groove again, putting on one of his strongest performances on the pitch in recent memory, chasing the ball every which way and helping to set Camilo up on scoring chances in the first and second half. Kobayashi would also come close to scoring a second goal early in the second half, but ultimately missed before being substituted at the sixty-forth minute.
Camilo incidentally, seems to have lost some of his game, going on a now four-game scoreless streak, in spite of the previously mentioned key opportunities. The Brazilian magician isn’t entirely to blame however, as the whole attacking line seemed out of sync, there were times where Camilo was the only forward in a sea of red (aka Dallas defence) and could have used assistance from fellow striker Kenny Miller or any other forward.
Although Kobayashi put the Whitecaps into the lead early, it was short-lived as Dallas would score the equalizer just four minutes later, sending the team into an all-too-familiar survival mode through the rest of the first half, and much of the second. Opportunities to advance up field and score seemed few and far between as the Whitecaps spent too much time in their own end, fending off multiple Dallas attempts while failing to keep possession of the ball, managing a meager forty percent overall to Dallas.
The Whitecaps are now in seventh place (10W-10L-6D), five points out of a playoff spot. (FC Dallas temporarily sat in fourth after Saturday’s match but has since dropped to sixth). From here, the Whitecaps travel to San Jose to meet the Earthquakes in the second act of a three game road trip that is so far not looking too optimistic.
Let me be clear for a minute here. I don’t claim to have the answers or solutions to improve for next Saturday’s match against San Jose, hence why I don’t make any suggestions here. I’m not a coach or commentator. Maybe I’ll address those in a separate article another time.
It is worth keeping in mind however that the Whitecaps sat in a similar position last season, struggling all year to stay in contention and managed to pull things together and achieve the highly sought after spot in the playoffs. There is still a chance to repeat history; the question is how the Whitecaps will answer this new challenge.
Note: While Jay DeMerit was dressed and part of the 18-man squad for the first time since being injured, he did not play.