Whitecaps shouldn’t expect more easy wins
Despite the lopsided win last Saturday, let's hold our horses a little bit on this team first. (REUTERS)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC had a tremendous 4-1 win versus New York Red Bulls last weekend, but fans may want to temper their enthusiasm.
On the surface, the team had a dominant performance, getting offensive production from Kenny Miller, who scored twice, while Sebastian Fernandez and Pedro Morales each added a goal while playing an entertaining brand of football.
Defensively, Vancouver were able to frustrate New York, allowing the Red Bulls only four shots on target, and only one required a superb save from Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted.
Superficially, scoring four goals while allowing just one seems to mean Vancouver is heading in the right direction.
Underlying the goals and the win, Vancouver’s work rate was phenomenal, including Darren Mattocks, who was energetic and lively, making runs and chasing down balls. While Mattocks wasn’t lucky enough to score, he was able to show other things that we haven’t truly seen from the Jamaican.
Helping with the defence was midfielder Matias Laba, who was a key cog. Regarded as a young up and comer, and officially a young designated player, Laba was outstanding. Whether it was his ball-winning skills, his ability to frustrate the opposition or his talent to move forward after winning a ball, the young Argentine will be a crucial part of head coach Carl Robinson’s team.
While the defending was solid, New York were also short-handed, lacking the punch of missing Frenchman Thierry Henry and a jet-lagged Tim Cahill, who played in a friendly for Australia in London, England just three days prior to the match against the Whitecaps. Without Henry and a top-form Cahill, New York’s offence wasn’t as deadly as it would have been.
Vancouver also gave up a late goal in brain-cramp fashion. Bradley Wright-Phillips walked through Andy O’Brien and Jay DeMerit, while Ousted didn’t dominate his six-yard box as he should have. Those little mistakes could haunt Vancouver in matches where they don’t have a four-goal cushion.
New York was also without their top defender, Jamison Olave. Without the Columbian on the backline, the Red Bulls looked confused defensively throughout the match.
It was fun to watch, but it’s time to temper our enthusiasm and excitement about the Whitecaps. Good things are coming, but it likely won’t be as easy as last Saturday.