Whitecaps road futility in 2011 reaches record proportions
With one match remaining in the regular season, this was not the kind of history that the Vancouver Whitecaps were hoping to make at this stage of the campaign.
Saturday’s night’s 2-0 defeat to FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park left the Whitecaps winless on the road in their debut MLS season, joining the LA Galaxy (2003), Real Salt Lake (2005) and the New York Red Bulls (2009).
“We never really got our finger on that one thing this season, 12 losses away,” defender Jeb Brovsky told TEAM 1410 radio following Saturday’s loss. “It’s tough to get on the road and bring that intensity we bring at BC Place, but you know that’s not an excuse.
“It’s something we should bring to the match every day, no matter where we play. I can’t put my finger on one thing, but it’s definitely a lack of intensity a little bit.”
In a cruel twist, it was the Whitecaps’ own Texan who played a part in giving the ball up on the turning point of the match. Winger Shea Salinas, leading a Vancouver rush in the 35th minute after making an interception of his own, took a heavy touch to lose possession.
Unfortunately for Salinas, his misplay allowed Dallas ‘keeper Kevin Hartman to intervene, and in the process send a long-range pass downfield to the sprinting Marvin Chávez.
The Honduran took the ball down well before sidestepping Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit and finishing past goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
“It was unfortunate,” Vancouver interim manager Tom Soehn said. “We were actually on a three-on-two break. So, from a situation where you maybe go up a goal at halftime, you come in at the break down a goal, and on the road that’s always going to be more difficult.”
The goal that finished it off came from the player getting all the attention in MLS these days, Brek Shea. The American international was left totally unmarked for his 54th minute close-range volley after a scramble in the box.
Brovsky, the right back who was charged with tracking Shea, seemed to keep him in check for large portions of the game.
“He’s such a dynamic player,” Brovsky said. “He can use his left foot, he can take you down the line, cut inside. He’s dangerous in many facets of his game, so I think my mindset was to contain him a bit.”
The ‘Caps now have one final match next weekend against last season’s MLS Cup champions, the Colorado Rapids.
“It just wasn’t clicking today,” Soehn said. “We’ve got to get our heads up and make sure that we’re ready to come home and defend our home territory and send our fans off with something to remember.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon