Tag Archives: Russell

The Need For Consistent “C”

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.

Erik Hurtado fell down. It was Scott Dann's fault. The Vancouver Whitecaps drew at two with Crystal Palace FC of the British Premier League at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Erik Hurtado busts his balls every game. But he isn’t often a difference maker, like the vast majority of MLS’ers. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

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.

Continue reading The Need For Consistent “C”

Monday Night Heists

Whitecaps Wednesday

Usually, Whitecaps Wednesday is a time of celebration and mirth and, given the recent results of this town’s MLS squads, one would tend to assume that this week would be no different. However, after an introduction like that, one would need be on their sixth pint not to grasp that this week will indeed be different. Ladies and gentlemen of this fine city: we have a thief in our midst.

News (officially) broke yesterday that a large number of boots had been pilfered from the Whitecaps training facility overnight Monday. Head coach Carl Robinson is none too pleased about it, as relayed to us in the tweet below by the gracious and assiduous @Harjournalist.

32. Thirty-two. THIRTY-TWO! PAIRS! 64 boots in total. You could dress a starting lineup three times over with a different pair of cleats each time, especially if you have that weird goalkeeper on your team who insists on wearing one boot. One could presumably use that number of cleats in place of sandbags in case of a flood.

Continue reading Monday Night Heists

The Top 5 of 2015 – Escape From L.A.

Whitecaps Wednesday

With lots of Whitecaps rumours and news this week surrounding the acquisition of Blas Pérez and departure of Mauro Rosales, I briefly considered suspending the Top 5 of 2015 series for one week. But then my pal and yours, Jason, tossed up his own review of said happenings and generously added in my own take as a footnote to boot. Perfect. Perhaps, at a later date, I will expunge my feelings on that subject further, but for now, let us forge ahead with the Top 5 countdown and review the Silver medal match of 2015.

Entries five, four and three were certainly delicious, but the top two spots are rich in nutritional value and high in fibre while being even scrummier and more fulfilling than the previous three. On June 6, 2015, the Whitecaps sailed into the most hostile of territories and managed to achieve a remarkable feat on both a micro and macro level.

Continue reading The Top 5 of 2015 – Escape From L.A.

Ode to the 2015 Whitecaps, by Russell Arbuthnot

Tim Parker, the ginger muse of soccer poet Russell Arbuthnot. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Tim Parker, the ginger muse of soccer poet Russell Arbuthnot. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

As we count down the minutes to the Vancouver Whitecaps first-ever home playoff date — the back end of a home-and-home tie versus the dirty, rotten, stinkin’, bearded Portland Timbers that starts tomorrow — poet in residence Russell Arbuthnot offers up his quill to the soccer gods with the six stanzas below. We at Pucked in the Head wholly endorse the product of Russell’s sleepless enthusiasm, but claim no responsibility for questionable grammar, rhyme scheme or metre therein.

End of Season
by Russell Arbuthnot

With the regular season laid down to rest
And with the playoffs drawing ever near
The Whitecaps found themselves among the league’s best
Reflecting on one helluva year

We waved goodbye to the Cascadia Cup
And welcomed in that of the Voyageurs
Coach Robbo patch-worked his CONCACAF lineups
Delicately navigating fixtures

Displaced in June by a Worldly tournament
Meant the men wearing Whitecaps blue and white
Lived in hotels for what seemed like permanent
But they fared quite well in the six-week fight

A rookie named Parker came out of the blue
And from Waston an MVP season
Ousted and Techera were essential too
Expectations mounting, with good reason

Injuries mounted, the infirmary filled
With bumbles and stumbles down the homestretch
Hope and belief grew increasingly chilled
The faithful grew restless, began to kvetch

The franchise regrouped, dispatched the Dynamo
Earned a bye straight to the semifinals
One more week to patch up Captain Pedro
And a chance to knock off their fiercest rivals

The Kids Are Alright

Because Jason only allows me to cover Vancouver-based sports teams that carry an above .500 winning percentage, I’ve been taken off the Lions’ beat. So here I be, back to spilling virtual ink on the lovely Whitecaps, who most recently took on the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS competition.

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC beat the pants off the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1. Photos by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Mauro Rosales celebrates the opening goal in a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. Photos by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

After a positive result in Portland, Carl’s Boys came into the game with some confidence, some beer and some toast. Actually, come to think of it, I was the one that came into the game with some beer and some toast. An odd combination that somehow works well together, presuming the toast is homemade multi-grain sourdough and buttered exactly right. And it was. Oh, it was.

Continue reading The Kids Are Alright

The March to March – Part 6

Whitecaps Wednesday

Another Wednesday, another Whitecaps. Put those two things together and you have a sentence that makes editors break out into cold sweats, and Whitecaps Wednesday. So welcome, and please, make yourself at home whilst I stride this towel over to Jason with which to wipe his moisty brow.

Jason, when confronted with grammatical errors and slightly before the moistiness sets in.
Jason, displaying his reaction when confronted with grammatical errors and pointing to his moistical gland, which moisties his brow.

This is the latest edition of the March to March, bringing the total now to six. SIX! Can you believe it? I don’t even own six pairs of underwear (what proud, decent man does though), yet here I am punching out a sextuple of Whitecaps Wednesday pieces. You probably can’t even count them all on one hand anymore! And if you can, colour me impressed.

August is a busy month for Caps, who manage to squeeze five games into five weeks. That means five airtight predictions in which you can only yearn to store your favourite sandwiches. Click on to read on, friend.

Continue reading The March to March – Part 6

The March to March – Part 5

Whitecaps Wednesday

Whitecaps Wednesday spent last week in Harrison Hot Springs, dodging village-wide gas leaks and a hearty collection of bed bugs (thanks Ramada Hotels). Luckily, the Caps just officially released what most have expected for a while now: a brand spankin’ new kit, so the previous one, now infested with little creepy crawlies, has found a new home in the firepit.

Truth be told, Jason wanted me to include an actual photo of the bed bugs I discovered wile on vacation. I couldn’t expose my valued readers to that, so here is the least repulsive bed bug photo I could find from a google image search. You’re welcome.

When we last checked in on the Whitecaps, they were mired in a long stretch of games away from Vancouver and, despite dropping their last game of the month, managed to acquit themselves well overall. July sees them in familiar territory, that is away from theirs, as they finally wrap up their road trip before heading home.

Read on for results!
Continue reading The March to March – Part 5

The March to March – Part 4

Whitecaps Wednesday

The international offices of Pucked in the Head were unceremoniously attacked last week by an audiophilic zombie, leading to chaos and turmoil throughout the agency. The confrontation eventually led to the production of a podcast and a brief hiatus for our beloved Whitecaps Wednesday, but it is with great pride that I report everyone here remains just as screwed up as they were prior to the zombie’s arrival. No more, no less.

As for today, the fourth installment of the “March to March” series trumpets the return of Whitecaps Wednesday, in which we will examine the Whitecaps’ matchups throughout the month of June.

Whitecaps FC ambassador Carl Valentine walks the sidelines shaking hands of the Southsiders supporters group on 15 June 2013. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Whitecaps FC ambassador Carl Valentine often visits with supporters at BC Place. He’ll be a little more stationary throughout June this season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Vancouver heads out on the road, where they will remain for an extended period of time, in order to allow the 2015 Women’s World Cup the use of their hallowed, lawsuit-initiating turf. Read on to find out how I expect month four of the Caps MLS season to play out. Continue reading The March to March – Part 4

The March to March – Part 3

Whitecaps Wednesday

Welcome once again to Whitecaps Wednesday – and the 3rd installment of Pucked in the Head’s “March to March” series. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that the Whitecaps have managed to pull five victories from their first nine games.

Now mired in their busiest stretch of games (but not the most frenzied – we’ll see that in Part 4), we take a look into the third month of the season and forecast the results of their five May matches.

Buckle up quick, as their month kicks off with an away fixture in Portland, the first of two Cascadia matches in a three-week stretch.

Continue reading The March to March – Part 3

The March to March – Part 2

Whitecaps Wednesday

I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for today. Can you believe it’s finally here? I know I can’t. And I bet you missed me. But don’t fret, I’ve missed you too.

And now with formalities aside, part two of Pucked In The Head’s  March to March series sees the Whitecaps enter the second month of the 2015 MLS season with a 2-1-1 record. April starts off with a tough contest for the boys in the blue and white, followed by two more games within a week.

What will be the result, you ask? Read on, find out and curse my divinations in the comment section.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have seen an impressive run of play from young Canadian forward Russell Teibert. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Russell Teibert looks skeptical of my predictions. He may have reason to be. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Continue reading The March to March – Part 2