Left Coast By Design

Category: Sports (page 1 of 7)

The 91st Minute – March 28 vs Portland Timbers

Doing something new this season, I plan on giving you a few of my thoughts at the end of every Whitecaps FC match I attend or watch. I’ve grown up on the game of soccer my whole life and feel that my opinion from the safety of my keyboard is just as good as the next blogger. Or at least pretty close to as good. Now on with our regularly scheduled feature.

After rattling off two wins on the road against the Chicago Fire and the expansion Orlando City SC, even the pessimistic of the fan base had to believe the ‘Caps were primed to notch their first MLS home victory against the Portland Timbers. And while a late marker – in the 91st Minute to boot – from Robert Earnshaw got them the win, not entirely sure the pessimists would be too happy.

That’s because the Whitecaps thought it best to play a road game at home.

Sure a win is a win is a win on any day of the week, but I’m thoroughly concerned that a derby match at home brought out a somehow tired Whitecaps squad. You had a “sold out” stadium with a solid contingent of Timbers Army supporters. You had the coaches getting into it via the media. The atmosphere was there. And yet, the play on the field was completely lacking.

Aside from two or three clean opportunities, the team was absent of chemistry and thoroughly outplayed by the Timbers. In fact, if not for that late game magic from recently signed Earnshaw and stellar play from Ousted, this could easily be marked as just another loss to the Timbers. Heck, it would’ve been a loss to the Timbers if possession were the only indication (Timbers had the ball 65% of the time!).

A Few Things

  • Where did the early connection between Octavio Rivero and Pedro Morales go? Or are teams now catching on and defending them well? Even though it seemed like Pedro and Octavio weren’t on the same page, it sure looked like the Timbers were reading both regardless.
  • How Pedro Morales goes seems to dictate how the Whitecaps go. Let’s hope we get creative Pedro against the Galaxy.
  • Props to Nicolas Mezquida on his performance filling in for the injured Mauro Rosales. Sure he scored the opening goal from a solid set piece, but what impressed me the most was his two-way game. It was quite obvious that Sam Adekugbe struggled once Mezquida went off for Deybi Flores.
  • Both Deybi Flores and Kianz Froese found some time during the crucial “bend, bend, bend, bend & don’t break” (they broke) stretch of Whitecaps play in the second half. While I’m all for Robbo getting the youngsters some crucial gameplay, not entirely sold on the left side combination of Adekugbe and Flores – seemed to be the Timbers got far more opportunities on the left side once that sub took place.
  • Will Jordan “The Goal Machine” Harvey get another start where Adekugbe is available to play? Sam misses most of training with bruised ribs (after being stretchered off in Orlando) and yet still starts over Jordan.

The 91st Minute – March 8 vs Toronto FC

Doing something new this season, I plan on giving you a few of my thoughts at the end of every Whitecaps FC match I attend or watch. I’ve grown up on the game of soccer my whole life and feel that my opinion from the safety of my keyboard is just as good as the next blogger. Or at least pretty close to as good. Now on with our regularly scheduled feature.

Talk about a tale of two halves. In the first half of play, the ‘Caps carried much of the play through a high standard of pace, yet could only capitalize on one Octavio Rivero opportunity (and that was to make amends for his early flub on what was a sure goal). Yet, Toronto held their own and got a marker of their own from Jozy Alitdore in the 32nd minute.

Unfortunately, the Whitecaps chose to leave all the creativity and pace in the locker room upon their return to the pitch in the second half and TFC took advantage. After Robbie Findley put the Reds ahead in the 59th minute, the Whitecaps had no answer to Toronto’s smart defensive play. Morales looked gassed. Manneh channeled his inner-Mattocks. Heck, even Mattocks channeled his inner-Mattocks. Regardless, a late penalty kick awarded to Toronto led Altidore to grab his second of the match and a final score of 3-1 for the wrong side.

A Few Things

  • Octavio Rivero did look to be the striker the Whitecaps did not have last season, flub aside. Sure it was only one match, but he had solid pace and was constantly pushing the TFC defenders.
  • Then there was Pedro Morales. In the first half he was phenomenal, but it he seemed to tire significantly as the game went on and frankly had me wondering if he wasn’t him instead of Rosales that should’ve been subbed off.
  • While I’m somewhat adverse to the stretch ’em long and kick the ball long style, there’s definitely much to be seen if a team ever plays the Whitecaps tight. So much pace available to the front line and from the bench.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, was disappointed to see fans litter the field with debris. While I don’t know what Altidore did to attract the attention of a few fans in the south side, there’s no excuse for anyone to be tossing their beverages, garbage and other such crap on to the field. Having had season tickets for the four of the Whitecaps five MLS seasons, I cannot remember a time where that much crap made its way to the pitch – streamers aside.

Onside Memories – Manchester City vs Whitecaps FC

In today’s Daily Prompt from The Daily Post, we’re asked to answer the following:

Team USA is playing today in the soccer World Cup in Brazil. Do you have any funny/harrowing/interesting memories from a sporting event you attended, participated in, or watched?

While I don’t care much that the United States is taking on Portugal later today, I am a fan of soccer and have been attentively following the World Cup (for instance, does Ronaldo play and risk his career?).

And sure it’s true I wish that Canada was playing in the group stage instead of watching on TV like me. It’s important to note I take refuge in knowing that the Whitecaps FC are back in action this week.

So it makes sense my favourite soccer-related memory is their friendly against Manchester City FC a few seasons back.

Eric Hassli surrounded by Manchester City players

Hassli and the City – via Matt Boulton

In their inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) season, the Whitecaps FC found themselves playing in a temporary stadium against much tougher sides and suffice to say, losses were more plentiful than wins. Whether or not this played into their decision-making process, the organization announced early on they had arranged a friendly against the touring Manchester City FC and suffice to say I was coloured purple. Or pink. Or whatever excited people are coloured.

You see, prior to this match I’d only seen a handful of CONCACAF qualifying matches live and never had I been exposed to the stellar play of a side from the premiership. Sure I’d seen solid play on TV, but there is something lost when you’re at home and on the couch.

The match also provided me the opportunity to take my future (and now) father-in-law. Being from the old country, and a Liverpool supporter to boot, he viewed this as an opportunity to see a high quality side play some quality soccer and quite possibly lose – like heck a supporter of The Reds would look for a win from City. And me looking for a way to further connect with him, it gave us a chance to talk about the sport we both grew up with.

While the ‘Caps fell 2-1 to City, the energy in the stadium was electric. Whether this was due to the number of City supporters, or the belief the ‘Caps could pull out a win, the match was hard-fought and well-played (pitiful, soggy and temporary grass field aside). Yes, Camilo he who shall not be named scored a deflected goal early to give the home side and the fans confidence. But even after City fought back to take a lead, no fan was found not to be urging the Whitecaps on.

Eric Hassli attempts to play a ball towards goal.

Hand of Hass – via Matt Boulton

What a wonderful experience. It’s been a shame the ‘Caps have not been successful at attracting another touring side in since.

It would be nice to have another memory or two.

Allegiance For Sale

One of the benefits of growing up in Vancouver is that our winters are far more temperate than the rest of the country and unlike the rest of my Canadian brethren, hockey was a choice and not a necessity. That’s right – as a kid I had options.

It always seems to surprise people when I tell them I played soccer during the winter. Whether it was their belief that I was running around on the tundra kicking a frozen rock or dodging snowballs tossed from the sidelines, it seemed unfathomable that there was any green grass to be seen come winter.

But no – soccer was my choice of sport and my favourite one to play.

I grew up idolizing the Lenarduzzi brothers, drinking Super Socco, and one day playing for Canada in the FIFA World Cup. Boy were the eighties a wonderful decade!

I discovered as I got older that dreaming of playing nationally for the Canadian side was easier than actually committing to do so and soon decided I would instead become an ardent supporter. And having seen the squad qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup, this made so much sense.

Obviously the future was bright for soccer in Canada!

Facepainted Brazillian Supporter

Courtesy of Damien Thorne

Well here we are approaching kickoff for the FIFA 2014 World Cup and there is no Canada to cheer on (in fact, we actually haven’t seen the mens side qualify since their appearance in 1986)!

And while I still bleed maple syrup, use the word “eh” with reckless abandon, and wear the maple leaf proud, I’m a fan without a side to support.

So who do I cheer for?

If I wanted to remain loyal to CONCACAF I can choose from Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica or the United States. Friends have told me to go to my roots which provides either the English, German, Russian squads as choices. My cousin down under tells me I should support Australia. And if I just wanted to support the underdog, Cameroon seems like a solid choice.

So… who do I cheer for?

This is where you come in. I’m curious who you’re cheering for and why? Or if you’re not, why not? Is soccer (or football) not your sport? That’s cool too! Regardless, I’ll go with the popular choice from comments, Twitter and Facebook before kickoff on June 12!

It feels better this way. In fact, you could say it’s “All In One Rhythym!”

Update: #GoSocceroos! My cousin wins this one.


Copyright © 2019 Left Coast By Design

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑