Building a team within the confines of MLS isn’t a particularly easy task. By and large, the player pool is generally limited to in-betweeners (those who can’t quite make the cut in other leagues) and to players either in the dawn or twilight of their careers. It’s also limited to players who are willing to work and play on our vast continent and put up with the turf and the travel – there is minimal contrast between most when it comes to talent in a league driven by parity such as MLS.
The Designated Player rule is a means by which teams can bolster their roster – it is the most immediate mechanism clubs have to separate themselves from the pack. And when you’re hamstrung by the budget limitations enforced by the Whitecaps front office, it makes the necessity to utilize that mechanism all the more difficult – and crucial.
It is also a process that the Whitecaps have seemingly overlooked and/or underestimated repeatedly.
There’s no love lost for Camilo round these parts. The man broke his contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps prior to last season, sparking a year-long search for a decent goal scorer. Sure, the Caps made the playoffs, and did so in dramatic fashion, but they sorely missed the diminutive Brazilian in the striker position.
The blue and white saw offensive production drop by a full eleven goals without Camilo. In 2013, the Caps were the only teamwith a positive goal differential to miss the post-season; a year later, they were still in the black (thanks to a wonderful improvement on the back end) but had the lowest GD of any playoff team.
Would number 7 have stepped in the way of the LA Galaxy in their quest for a storybook ending to Landon Donovan’s career had he stayed? Unlikely: the Whitecaps may have gotten shut out in both away games versus the Galaxy this season, but they didn’t fare much better last year with Camilo in the lineup. It’s also not his fault that Coach Robbo elected not to offer Kenny Miller a contract extension in favour of giving the young horses in the stable a chance to run.
What if and if only aside, it was that very lack of scoring finish — I’m looking at you, Darren Mattocks — and a bizarre bit of refereeing that ultimately did the Caps in.
After an impressive season opener last Saturday, the Whitecaps will look to continue their strong play in California tomorrow. They’ll take on a Chivas USA team that also turned some heads in their 3-2 victory last weekend. In fact, these two teams have a little more in common than simply opening the season with wins.
The USA Goats, much like the Caps, have undergone an off-season of change. Both clubs promoted MLS assistant coaches to manage their teams – Chivas found their man in former Colorado Rapids assistant Wilmer Cabrera. Vancouver’s hire of Carl Robinson has already been well documented in this town.
Carl Robinson focused on retooling the Caps midfield to encourage forward movement from the middle of the park. Chivas recruited playmaker Mauro Rosales, formerly of the Seattle Sounders, to solidify their midfield.
The Whitecaps newcomers, Seba Fernandez and Pedro Morales (amongst others) both had stunning debuts for their club, as did Rosales. He assisted on Chivas’ second and third goals versus the Chicago Fire to secure the win. You say Morales, I say Rosales, let’s call the whole thing off. Continue reading Goats ‘N’ Prose – Whitecaps FC VS Chivas USA→
It was an off-season filled with questions after a second half meltdown left the Whitecaps on the outside looking in at the 2013-14 MLS playoffs. Where did it all go wrong? Would Martin Rennie keep his job? Who would step into the departing Y-P Lee’s boots? Could management finally land that elusive attacking midfielder?
Naturally, these questions can only be answered by a rousing playlist, featuring nothing but classic songs by classic artists.
I pored over the YouTube archives, spending no less than 32 minutes searching high and low for the finest musical contributions of the last 50 years. Now, without further ado, I present to you the:
The Whitecaps’ offseason of upheaval continues amid reports the club’s MVP, Camilo, is leaving for greener pastures and paycheques in Mexico. The only problem is, according to the Whitecaps, this isn’t even a possibility considering the Brazilian is still under contract with the team through 2014.
Adolfo Rios, chairman of Querétaro FC, contradicted this assertion on January 2nd, telling a website that Camilo’s reps at FootballBrazil had informed him the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner was a free agent.
I don’t think it’s much of a secret that the Whitecaps are in a dogfight to extend their season. Yet if you were to judge the urgency of their situation on in-game performance alone, you’d have to wonder if the players’ copy of the memo ended up in the shredder.
If it seems the Whitecaps have been playing must-win games for pretty much the entire 2013 season, it’s only because it’s true. The MLS Western Conference is, to quote Roger Waters, as tight as a funeral drum. Sadly for Vancouver soccer fans, that’s exactly what the Southsiders might as well be beating after the club has taken just six points out of a possible 24 since mid-August.
Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers offered wonderful entertainment — not least of which was Camilo’s world-class scissor kick strike in the 78th minute to draw the homeside even — but leaves Vancouver six points below the playoff bar with just three games remaining in the regular season.
After last week’s historic win over Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC, it was a foregone conclusion that Sunday’s afternoon match against the Chicago Fire was going to be somewhat of a letdown. Even those around the team worried about Whitecaps FC perhaps not giving the last-place Fire enough respect. “More nervous than last week,” tweeted team ambassador Carl Valentine through his @CarlTwoOne Twitter account. “The team really needs to focus and we will get the job done.”
The game on Sunday, then, lived up to expectations, with the Caps sleepwalking through much of the first half. Don’t believe me? Check the highlights below: there’s not a single play shown between kickoff and the 42nd minute. There were a couple of early chances, but they were both for Chicago. A hand ball missed by the officials allowed Fire forward Chris Rolfe a glorious chance in close, but Whitecaps keeper Brad Knighton continued his recent strong play with a goal line stand. In fact, he would throw 92 minutes and 50 seconds of clean sheet at Chicago before they broke the shutout with mere seconds left in stoppage time.
In the two and a half years of the Whitecaps MLS tenure, there has been no more polarizing player than Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo. Fans of the diminutive Brazilian point to his club-leading goal-scoring numbers, his willingness to get a head on a cross, his penchant for taking on defenders in the box and drawing penalties. His detractors, meanwhile, accuse him of being an unabashed diver, and a selfish player to boot. Deserving penalties those were not, say they, and why doesn’t Camilo ever pass the ball? You can throw me firmly in the former category. I love Camilo, but I also like to have some empirical backup for my opinions.