Apr 162012
 


Hello everyone and welcome back to a fresh episode of my Canadian Football Manager Story featuring the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer. My apologies for the long delay since my previous update and for not leaving comments on stories posted here or on other sites I regularly visit.

Sadly my father lost his 18 month battle with cancer and passed away peacefully in the Wiltshire countryside just before the Easter weekend so with all the arrangements that needed to be made as well as a trip from Toronto to just south of Bath it has been a challenging and an emotional three weeks.

I was proud very proud to have been part of the funeral service as my Dad was given a full honour guard by former Royal Navy servicemen and his coffin was covered with the White Ensign flag which is the England flag with the Union Jack in the top left.

Inevitably, whether we feel like it not, life must continue on which means returning to Toronto, going to work, paying taxes, buying groceries, fixing up the house or as is the case here, being a part of a community that provides some mental relief from the world around us.

So with that in mind let’s continue on where we left off last time with Vancouver having gotten off to a terrific start to the new season and reaching the NACL Final where we had a slender 1-0 lead to take to Mexico.

NACL Final: 2nd Leg

Shea Salinas injured, Russ Tiebert suspended and a sea of 105,000 bright yellow shirts was what we faced as we entered the Azteca Stadium with just 90 minutes between us and the NACL Championship. Club America stormed forward as I knew they would in the opening minutes but Cuesta and Rochat were solid in the centre of defence and Edson confident between the sticks. The game quickly got bogged down into a midfield battle and by half time we had only a couple of shots on goal.

Early into the second half an unusual long clearance by GK Edson was headed on what appeared to be harmlessly by Castillejos but a panic clearance by America fell into the path of midfielder Philippe Davies who struck the ball first time into the roof of the net for the opening goal. America now trailing by two goals on aggregate quickly tried to get back into the game hitting the woodwork almost immediately but that was as close as they came. Mid-way through the second Shannon Williams moved swiftly done the left flank pushing the ball inside to Edhino who took a couple of steps forward and from thirty yards out unleashed a curling shot that sailed into the corner of the net  for our second goal.

From there America had nothing more to give, we ran the clock down, the whistle blew and against all odds we had eliminated three Mexican teams in a row and had become Champions of North America!!!

The fans and board were naturally delighted by the teams’ success and this will hopefully bring me a step closer for the national coaching position.

After our triumphant win in Mexico we scrambled to a 1-0 away win over San Jose in MLS action but then had a disastrous Canadian Championship losing to Montreal over two legs in the semi-finals. A fine display of complacency if ever there was one!

More importantly we were out of next seasons NACL competition having only just won it….I was completely stunned!!!

Down in Texas things didn’t improve much as we struggled to make any headway over Dallas which resulted in a build-up of frustration that saw Nagbe sent off before half time. With 10 men we played better but still couldn’t impose ourselves on Dallas and were fortunate to get a win thanks to the head of Castillejos who got the only goal 11 minutes from time. We followed that game with a 1-1 time at home to rivals Los Angeles with again Castillejos getting the goal for us. It was a frustrating 90 minutes with the words “just wide” summing up our attacking capability.

We stayed at home for the final game of May which saw Nagbe hit the woodwork in the opening minutes and my head sinking repeatedly as opportunities were wasted and by half time my face was in my hands as we trailed by a single goal. A very assertive half time talk brought about the equalizer through Castillejos once more and when Nagbe was hauled down in the box, Edhino coolly converted from the spot to make it 2-1. Midfielder Philippe Davies hit a trademark strike from over 20 yards out for goal number three after 71 minutes for an excellent turnaround and delightful way to finish the month off.

So a quick look at the table shows we have a three point lead over L.A. with a game in hand.

June 2013

The month started off with a late victory over Chicago with Yamith Cuesta heading in the winning goal 10 minutes from time as we continued to struggle in front of goal aside from last month’s 3-1 win over New York.

It was a come from behind victory in Philadelphia thanks to the creativity of young Canadian striker Tyler Hudson who came on as a sub and set up Edhino for the winning goal. Hudson would repeat the super sub performance back at BC Place finishing off a Darlington Nagbe cross with minutes remaining on the clock. The youngster could not do it a third time as we lost our first MLS game of the season away to New England with the only goal of the game coming after just 6 minutes. In all three games Nagbe hit the woodwork so many times I almost lost count of how unlucky this striker turned winger was.

The final game of the month saw our worst defeat in quite some time, in fact in almost a year as we were overrun by Kansas City, and for the first time in charge of the club the fans left BC Place early.

Moneyball

The Guaranteed Waiver deadline was fast approaching, with players waived or released after July 1st would still count towards our salary budget. So midfielder Adam LeBlanc was waived as he couldn’t force himself into the first team and Michael Nanchoff was traded to Houston for a 2014 second round draft pick which was valued at $220,000.

Nanchoff was struggling with injuries for a long time so I’m banking on a youngster from Mali as his replacement. True, it seems Traore whose been playing domestic football in Mali doesn’t cover much ground but this young winger has a cross completion ratio of 41% and hopefully that’s where he will make the difference to our floundering attack.

Results Summary

Quite a mixed bag than the first quarter and certainly we seem to be struggling a bit in front of goal despite more check marks in the win column than drawn or lost.

Western Conference:

It’s turning into a “two horse” race between us and Los Angeles and we definitely have to take advantage of that game in hand.

Eastern Conference:

Fixtures:

A Cascadia Cup game with Portland will start things off in the third quarter after Canada Day followed by a home fixture against San Jose. We potentially face difficult away games at the end of the summer with trips to Kansas City and Seattle.

That’s it for this report albeit somewhat of a compressed one though thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read it.

 

 

 

 






  27 Responses to “Vancouver Whitecaps: Q2, 2013 Report”

  1. Welcome back Kevin! I really didn’t care much about the results in the post this time, I was delighted to see you back posting here and that’s what matters the most. But I still have to congratulate you on that NACL win, that was amazing in my view. By the way, do you know if any Canadian team has won the NACL in real life? I honestly doubt that :)

    • Thanks Johnny.
      Feels good to be back into the routine without disrespecting the circumstances.. I was astonished by our relatively easy win in Mexico to claim the title which by far is my best achievement in FM. By the way no Canadian team has ever won the NACL.

  2. I’m so sorry about your dad but its nice to hear of his peaceful funeral.
    Anyway fantastic NACL championship but that seems ridiculas that the holders won’t be in next years competition, so comiserations with that. I hope the consistency problem isn’t creeping back in after the fantastic first quarter start, and to be honest, I think you’re going to run away with the MLS, it’s just a matter of when Los Angeles stop clinging on.
    As always good luck.

    • Hi saltwater
      Thanks for the condolences. I was delighted with winning the title but immediatly sucker punched when we lost to montreal and realized we couldn’t even defend our title. No prize money either!
      I’m worried about that inconsistency too which has plagued us every season though hopefully we can forge ahead of an aging LA team :)

  3. Hey Kevin,
    You’re doing great and I’d love to see a Canadian team win the MLS!

    On a more sombre note I’m really sorry to hear about the loss of your father, you’ve absolutely no need to apologize and may he rest in peace…

    • Hi Dan

      We, Vancouver are actually going for a “three -peat” as we have won the MLS in our first two seasons which is incredible. Thanks for your kind words about my dad.

  4. Sad news about your father, may he rest in peace. Oddly I was down in Wiltshire at Easter as well.

    Good to see your team win the NACL, and my faith in your team to step up for the big match not misplaced. I guess the lads got complacent in the Canadian Cup though. This means you’ll just have go on and win the MLS instead.

    • Hi Ziggy
      Thanks for the kind words. Interesting you were in Wiltshire – I was in Trowbridge this past week.

      Yeah, we seem to do really well on the big occasion though I’m hoping our form won’t take too big a hit after that CC upset.

  5. My thoughts are with you Kevin , but really i am delighted you posted again here your story really add something different to this site .

  6. Hi Kevin, sorry to hear about your dad, hope you’re coping ok, and, of course, it’s great to see you back posting :) Congrats on the NACL win, well done! Looks like it’ll be a close race in the Championship, I reckon you’ve got what it takes to pip LA Galaxy. Good luck!

    • Hi Laxeyman, I’m doing okay now and it’s a good distraction to be playing FM again. I was delighted to win th NACL and was quite shocked how easy we beat Club America in the end.

  7. Hey Kevin,

    Great to read one of your updates as I was a little worried about you and how you may be coping. I hope the funeral was as good as such a sad day can be and hopefully you can start to get things pieced together again. Either way its good to have you back.

    Great Nacl win by the way, incredible achievement to be the first Canadian side to win that comp…very well done!!

    • Hi Darren,
      It certainly has been a tough few weeks and in some respects the family is glad it is all over. People commented on how it was “the best” funeral they had been too so was very proud to be a part of it.

      Winning the NACL was just awesome though too bad we didn’t even qualify for this years tournament :(

  8. I feel sorry about the loss of your dad, but the good news is that you’ve won the NACL! Congratulations there! Now you can compete in FIFA club world cup which is very rare I suppose for canadian team.

    Anyways, I’ll be looking forward on your next chapter.

    • Hi Tegar
      Thanks for your kind words. I hadn’t even thought about the FIFA Club Cup so thanks for pointing that out which is exciting news!!!

  9. Hi Kevin

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss but yo didn’t have to apologizes. I hope your OK.

    Congrats on winning the NACL and so far a great season keep up the good work :D

  10. Hello Kevin,

    My condolences on your father.

    Congratulations on winning the NACL, somewhat of a shock that Montreal Impact beat you in the Canadian championship, looking forward to see how Traore does, that cross completion ratio is very impressive, hopefully he can repeat that feat at your team

    • Hi CsAtlantis

      Thanks for your sympathies.

      I was totally shocked that Montreal beat us especaily after just beating Club America!!
      Traore is a bit of a gamble so as you say I hope he can live up to those stats!

  11. Extremely sorry to hear about you’re father Kevin, Cancer is so so horrible :(

    Nevertheless, congrats on the NACL win, that was absolutely fantastic I must say. Top drawer stuff, great job!

    • Hi Sears

      Many thanks for your sympathies – cancer is horrible that’s for sure. Appreciate your comment on my NACL campaign.

  12. I am so sorry to hear about your father, my love, thoughts and prayers are with you through this difficult time.

    I really hope you are ok and if you ever need to chat about anything you know where I am.

    I can understand why you are posting again, when my brother had recovered from his accident I too felt like I had to move on and return to ‘normal’ life your father sounded like a well respected man am sure your very proud of him.

    On to your story and congratulations on winning the NACL! You were against tough opposition but your team pulled through to claim a terrific victory.

    League wise and things still are looking ok despite a couple of defeats at the end, so good luck! :)

    • Hi Ana
      Thanks very much for those very kind words of support. in fact I was thinking of you and your brother whilst going through the motions of the funeral service and felt I had to get back to normal asap.

      I was very pleased at how well Vancouver performed in Mexico and I think this is one of my best achievements yet!

  13. Sorry to hear about your father Kevin, My condolences to you. Great to see you back posting and well done on the success in the NACL!

  14. Sorry to hear about your dad Kevin. You won the NACL! Great job. You are doing well in the league as well, and now you need to make sure you win it the MLS, because thats the only way you can make it now to the NACL!

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