Tag Archives: Whitecaps

Cascadia Comedown

Whitecaps Wednesday

If the Whitecaps have designs on banking a few points at home before heading out on a six-week road trip, it may be wise for them to reengineer their method of doing so. Mind you, for much of the season to date they have been incapable or unwilling to evolve their tactics when the occasion demands it, however now may be a better time than ever to get creative.

In a game that should have been interesting if not intense, the Sounders were far and away the better team in front of the fans at BC Place for the vast majority of the 90+ minutes. The loss comes on the heels of a disappointing draw against Edmonton in Canadian Championship play on Wednesday and did little to alleviate the mounting pressure to perform at home.

Maybe that upcoming lengthy road trip isn’t such a terrible thing after all.

Coach Carl Robinson of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Coach Carl Robinson can’t be pleased with his team’s performances at home this season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Continue reading Cascadia Comedown

Episode 65: Whitecaps atop the MLS table

Russell and Jason, awash in the euphoria of another Whitecaps home win, record under the dome at BC Place.

• Steve Ewen bumper
• Russell was conceived to A Flock of Seagulls
• The Whitecaps should beat the Union
• Robbo concedes his side should have won this game
• This is why Edmonton can’t have nice things
• Pedro had himself a tidy little game
• David Ousted: save of the week?
• Whitecaps are too deep to lose to Edmonton
• Darren Mattocks inspires our musical selection
• Pedro Morales — You’re Welcome!

Darren Mattocks scores on the Philadelphia Union. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Darren Mattocks scores an impressively athletic goal against the Philadelphia Union to cap off a 3-0 Whitecaps win at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head

Episode 64: Hating every minute of it

Pucked in the Head records under the dome of BC Place after a Whitecaps win, and the boys discuss the after effects of Jason’s first-ever full marathon.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon medal is purty. But yeah, totally not worth it. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon medal is purty. But yeah, totally not worth it. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Recording under the big roof
• 42.2km is a looooong way
• People along the route are quite lovely
• Be quiet or I will cut you
• Anyone want to sponsor a trip to Greece?
• Halfs are the way to go
• How do you spell recovery?
• Watch out, nipples!
• Who’s got two thumbs and ain’t an elite runner?
• BMO Vancouver Marathon route
• Some spectators make a day of it
• Portland, here I come
• Russell says, “Nope, nope, no, nope, nope, no.”
• I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock of Seagulls

You've gotta be bananas to run a full marathon. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
You’ve gotta be bananas to run a full marathon. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon map. I saw this a full year before the event, and somehow didn't manage to invent an excuse to not run the damned thing.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon map. I saw this a full year before the event, and somehow didn’t manage to invent an excuse to not run the damned thing.

 

Episode 63: We’re Blue, We’re White

Russell and Jason queue up a little of the beautiful game — specifically a review of the impressive start to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2015 MLS campaign.

• Exploding intros
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Pedro likes to doff the jersey, doesn’t he
• Laba gets too handsy for our taste
• More like the Yellowcaps, amirite?
• Kendall Waston: the Todd Bertuzzi of MLS
• Arbuthnot’s prognosticatin’ successes
• Ousted has been Oustanding
• Techera and Earnshaw — as good as their billing?
• Vastly improved depth
• Russell doodles with the best of them
• Next World by the Orchid Highway
• Again! Again!

Wednesday, Snowy Wednesday

Remember when it snowed on Wednesday?

Oh that’s right, you probably don’t, because it didn’t.

Unless you happened to be in Edmonton with the Whitecaps and their travelling horde of fans.

Vancouver was in the Alberta capital for the first leg of their Canadian Championship series against FC Edmonton, but then this happened:

Clarke Field is green sometimes. The rest of the time it looks like this. Photo from Whitecaps FC.
Clarke Field is green sometimes. The rest of the time it looks like this. Photo from Whitecaps FC.

On May 6th. Months after winter has supposedly ended. That.

Continue reading Wednesday, Snowy Wednesday

Whitecaps photo gallery

Whitecaps WednesdayThe Vancouver Whitecaps surprised just about everyone in MLS on Saturday, as they dominated — dominated — the LA Galaxy from opening kickoff to the final whistle. The official stats keepers only gave Vancouver 52% of possession, but let’s be clear: the Caps played freakin’ keepaway against the defending champs, and won handily. The 2-0 scoreline flatters L.A. More telling is the shot total: Vancouver generated 18 shots on the Galaxy net, and only allowed six the other way. If you only count balls on net, the Whitecaps were even more impressive, outshooting L.A. nine to one.

So far this season, the Caps have won ugly, they’ve won lucky, and on Saturday, they won impressively. Vancouver is now on an MLS franchise-high four-game win streak, with depth everywhere on the pitch. It looks like it’s going to be a fun season, y’all.

Next up it’s a midweek game against the Columbus Crew, Wednesday at 7pm at BC Place, followed by a road match in San Jose on Saturday.

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The Mystery of Morales

Whitecaps Wednesday

After a disappointing loss to Toronto in their season opener, the Whitecaps have reeled off three straight wins and find themselves in good shape through the first month of play. Sure, they’ve had a flair for the dramatic, earning two of the three victories in stoppage time and the other just shortly before, but it’s tough to argue with nine points in four games – a win is a win after all.

And while the results have been by and large positive (more positive than I had predicted), the process certainly hasn’t been what Carl Robinson was expecting of his squad, which is both a testament to the talent he has brought in and an indictment on their efforts thus far. Yet, over the last three weeks, a rotating cast of players has provided just enough magic to allow the Whitecaps to come out victorious. Which is a far cry from where this team was last year.

Coach Carl Robinson of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Coach Carl Robinson watches on as his Vancouver Whitecaps steal three points against the Portland Timbers at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Last season we saw a team that won and lost largely due to the performance of one man. As Pedro went, the Whitecaps went. And to start the 2015 campaign, it appears that perhaps Pedro has indeed went.

Continue reading The Mystery of Morales

Earnshaw scores in debut — again

Robert Earnshaw was on the pitch at BC Place for less than four minutes before he found himself on the receiving end of a brilliant touch pass from El Capitán Pedro Morales. Keeper Adam Kwarasey charged out to challenge, and Earnshaw used his first touch as a Vancouver Whitecap to chip the ball over him  into the back of the net. He celebrated thusly:

Robert Earnshaw celebrates for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Robert Earnshaw celebrates scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC win over the Portland Timbers. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

It wasn’t the first time he’d scored in his first appearance with a team. Earnshaw scored in his first game with the Chicago Fire last year, and potted a pair of goals in his home debut with dirty, rotten, stinkin’ Toronto FC two seasons ago. (It should be noted that Saturday’s game-winner was Earnshaw’s first-ever at BC Place — he was held scoreless in his MLS debut two seasons ago when the Caps blanked Toronto 1-0, a game in which he started and played 85 minutes.)

At 5’8″ and just 160 pounds, he’s not likely to overpower defenders like Nat Borchers or that bloody ginger beard of his. But holy hamhocks, can this guy boot a ball into a soccer net. Earnshaw now has a dozen goals in 32 MLS appearances. That’d be a fair clip for a hockey player, but in soccer, them’s all-star numbers. Don’t just take my word for it; the MLS website, for all its warts and biases, usually gives us stats pretty straight up, and it tells us, “[Earnshaw has recorded] a hat-trick in every professional division in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup competitions as well as internationally for Wales.”

Sam Adekugbe of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Sam Adekugbe jacks up the crowd after Robert Earnshaw’s late go-ahead goal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

“I knew he’d get one chance,” said Coach Carl Robinson after the match, happy to steal three points in a game where his squad was badly outplayed by the opposition. “I know what Ernie can do, what kind of touch he has with the ball, so I just told him to take the chance when it came. I’m glad he did.”

Chances are the Welshman will do it again. Earnshaw now has 217 goals for clubs in England, Scotland, Israel, the US, and Canada, as well as the Welsh international side.

“It’s always exciting, especially in a debut,” Earnshaw said after the match, saying that even after 18 years of playing professionally, he’s still overwhelmed with emotion when he scores. “The feeling of when the ball hits the net, oh my God, it’s the best. The best.”

Here’s a video for your highlight-watchin’ pleasure:

Sports’ Biggest Fallacy

Whitecaps Wednesday

A win is a win is a win. Except when it isn’t.

“Now hold on a second, Russell! That doesn’t make any sense! How can a win not be a win?” Lend me your attention for a moment fine reader and I’ll be happy to explain.

After three months of inactivity, I've got the okay to pull the Rackets & Runners shirt (and the cheesy running selfies) out of mothballs.
Pucked in the Head’s fearless leader Jason Kurylo is seen here trying to outrun logic and reason. If you look closely, you can spot his overactive moistical gland in full production.

On March 14, we saw the Vancouver Whitecaps escape Toyota Park with a 1-0 result over the Chicago Fire. I watched this game while a wave of frustration bombarded me with each squandered scoring opportunity.

Sure, the Whitecaps notched their first triumph of the infantile MLS season this weekend. I’d suggest that many of you were in fact quite happy to see the Whitecaps find the victory in Chicago on Saturday. It’s not out of the question that you were placated by the fact that the Whitecaps FC had never scored a goal at Toyota Park. And many of you probably defaulted to using the aforementioned “a win is a win” cliché as some type of reasoning for arriving at your satisfaction in seeing the Caps win. (I’m looking at YOU, Kurylo).

Continue reading Sports’ Biggest Fallacy

Too Much, Too Soon

The Whitecaps started their 2015 season off with a bang. And ended their first game with a resounding thud. It was a tale of two halves, at least I think that’s how soccer games work, and on this day, the fans at BC Place saw two entirely different Whitecaps’ teams depending on which 45 you watched.

The first half looked like what we have had been told to expect this season from the blue and white – a fast-paced group, intent on spreading the ball around and utilizing their speed to overwhelm their opponents. The Whitecaps’ attack produced a number of quality chances, yet were only able to capitalize on one of them.

Marie Hui sings the national anthem prior to the Vancouver Whitecaps season opener. Sadly, the home team lost their 2015 home opener to the dirty, rotten, stinkin' doughbugs of TFC 3-1. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Marie Hui sings the national anthem prior to the Vancouver Whitecaps season opener. Sadly, the home team lost their 2015 home opener to the dirty, rotten, stinkin’ doughbugs of TFC 3-1. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Coach Carl Robinson liked what he saw, but post-game he conceded that perhaps that type of phrenetic pace isn’t one that can be maintained over a full 90 minutes. That, coupled with a tactical change at the break by Toronto head coach Greg Vanney, turned the game upside down and what appeared to be a potent Whitecaps attack suddenly looked more like a woodpecker taking a steel pole to task. Not much progress and one helluva headache.

Toronto took control in the second half, watching the Whitecaps attempt the soccer-equivalent of the dump and chase time and time again. The TFC defenders took a few large steps backwards and simply watched the balls come, abandoning any semblance of chasing. Yet the Caps seemed content to fire away and perhaps oblivious to the fact that it simply wasn’t working.

Let’s take a look at the highlights, the lowlights, and the limelight in the Caps’ 3-1 loss on Saturday.

Continue reading Too Much, Too Soon