Sports Soccer

Hard to find the truth behind Whitecaps stats 0

By Tyler Green, 24 hours Vancouver, soccer columnist

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks (11) rushes Colorado Rapids midfielder Jose Mari (6) during the first half at BC Place. April 5, 2014, Vancouver. (Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks (11) rushes Colorado Rapids midfielder Jose Mari (6) during the first half at BC Place. April 5, 2014, Vancouver. (Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Amidst all the hype after quality performances — and with all the stories about the perfect timing for Vancouver Whitecaps FC to make some noise as the Canucks faltered — the team lost on Saturday.

Over the first four matches of the season, pretty much everything with Vancouver seemed perfect. Perhaps we were viewing the team through rose-coloured glasses.

Digging deeper, this team looks to be on the cusp of greatness or set for failure.

Take, for example, Pedro Morales. The midfield maestro is tied for first in Major League Soccer for shots on target, hitting 58.3% of the time and, according to whitecapsfc.com, has had 12 chances created from open play and three big chances created — a big chance is defined as a “situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score, usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range.”

The positive news is that the Chilean has been able to create options for himself and his teammates, and is a threat to opposing teams.

The negative saw a “big chance” to get the all-important second goal against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, and Morales failing to cash in. With all his hype and prowess as an offensive weapon, the Chilean playmaker is tied for second in the league with 57 passes into the final third of the field, yet has only managed to pick up two assists. That’s only one ahead of the central defender, Andy O’Brien.

Midfielder Matias Laba has 25 tackles this season and has intercepted 15 passes, both good enough for second place in MLS, but his red card — whether poor officiating or poor player judgment — was costly for the team.

Kenny Miller leads the Whitecaps and sits second in MLS with three goals. His scoring percentage sits at 37.5%, and in 2014, when the Scottish striker scores, the ‘Caps win.

Unfortunately for Vancouver, two of Miller’s goals have come in the same game and two have also come from the penalty spot. His five shots on target needs to increase, especially with the likes of Morales playing behind him.

With every stat, you can make a case for it being positive and negative — which one triumphs in the end will determine whether this Whitecaps team is a playoff contender or just a pretender.

Tyler hosts SOCCER TALK on AM650 Radio, heard Saturday nights at 10 p.m. to midnight. Follow Tyler online at www.tylergreen.org and on twitter @tylergreenFC.

 

 

 

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