Vancouver Whitecaps out of excuses
Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson hasn't had much to smile about lately with his team. (REUTERS)
Following Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s 3-0 loss to Portland Timbers on Saturday, head coach Carl Robinson said the players were “chasing shadows.” Now, with nine matches remaining in the season, Vancouver is chasing the Major League Soccer playoffs.
Saturday’s performance against Portland was alarming – they were outworked and outmatched. But it stretches far beyond that. This team and the players are seemingly not good enough.
Starting with the summer months, Vancouver has been brutal, specifically in July and August, claiming just 11 points out of a possible 30.
Historically, the Whitecaps have had poor summers, claiming 11 points in 2012 and 2013. The Whitecaps will argue that this year is different — that they are a team with a new coach and a new-look roster, but that is just public relations speak.
If history has told us anything, don’t expect big things from Vancouver after Sept. 1. Last season, the ‘Caps managed to claim 44% of available points, and in 2011 and 2012, they captured just 29% of those points.
This year’s version doesn’t appear to be trending any differently.
The Whitecaps are also loaded with “young talent” that is “loaded with potential.” Sadly, we’ve heard the rhetoric before, and game after game we wait to see the results.
Erik Hurtado had a hot streak, scoring four goals in four matches. Many thought this was his breakout performance, but as quickly as the goals came they’ve dried up – 12 matches now without a goal – and possibly even worse, only five shots on target in those 12 games.
Darren Mattocks has six goals in 2014, which seems to be his average. Unfortunately we’re all still waiting for his self-proclaimed 20-goal season.
Potential implies that something exists that isn’t. At some point, potential has to give way to tangible returns and Vancouver has a few players whose “potential” is being reached to make the MLS playoffs.
The Whitecaps have nine matches to prove they are either good enough to make the MLS post-season and the players need to show us that they can actually realize their potential. The time for excuses is officially over.