May 102012
 


Hello friends and a warm welcome back to a fresh episode of my Vancouver Whitecaps story. Last time we finished up with a good set of pre-season results, so let’s see if the lads could carry that into the regular season.

March 2014

The opening game of the season meant a long flight to New York with the home team putting us on the back foot which resulted in an own goal by Koffie after 23 minutes. Our effort was sluggish to say the least until just after the hour mark when on the counter attack Sinclair picked up the ball on the half way line beat three defenders for pace before striking home, 1-1. That motivated us offensively and a precision pass by right back Steve Draper in added time found substitute Jarju who rounded the keeper for the winning goal on his debut as a forward.

We hosted Sporting Kansas City in our home opener which saw a brilliant first half by Edinho who got on the score-sheet with a beautifully struck free kick after just 2 minutes. This was followed by a pair of “guided missile” passes to Nagbe and Jarju that sent us into the break with a dominating three goal lead. Sloppy defending made it 3-1 and cruel deflection brought KC back into the game which set things up for a tense finish but we held on to the lead for the three points.

Following this game Russ Tiebert was traded to Houston for a 2015 draft pick valued at $220,000, though I should have sold him overseas when he was worth a lot more.

April 2014

We stayed at home where a superb effort by Dallas goalkeeper Brian Shuttleworth ensured our 60% possession and 13 shots counted for nothing with a rare attack by Dallas early in the second half snatching the three points.

On the road we had a bounce back victory over San Jose which started off with a cracking shot by Galloway that struck the underside of the bar from 25 yards out before crossing the line for the opening goal. Back in BC we had our usual titanic tussle with Los Angeles but took maximum points with a bullet of a header from Cuesta.

It was back to the East Coast for our next game as we faced New England. Due to some fitness issues I threw young striker Tony Hudson out on the right flank and to my surprise he played his best game for the club grabbing a brace along with Galloway who put in a magical 90 minutes and is now looking indispensable to the club. Scott Sinclair, who resembled an express train down the left flank, was instrumental in three of the goals before getting one himself just after half time. The sending off of Hernandez did allow for 2 late goals for our hosts, but the fate of the game was game was already sealed by then.

We capped off the month in Texas with a visit to Houston who had a good selection of former Vancouver players in their line-up. We opened the scoring early on with Galloway feeding off a through ball by Kramer which he struck low and hard into the corner of the net after 5 minutes. Houston though didn’t capitulate in the same manner as New England, standing their ground and fighting for every inch of the field. Thirteen minutes from time we finally broke them down with a long searching ball by RB Sarkodie which Castillejos pounced on and drove home for goal number two.

May 2014

We started off with an away game to Philadelphia whom we had beaten in last season’s MLS Cup Final and who were also topping the Eastern Conference. Despite having splashed the cash in pre-season they were still no match for us and we came away with a tidy 3-0 win.

Returning to BC it was an experimental side that took the field against the Chicago Fire and after an early set back the youngster’s fought back for an encouraging 3-2 win

The final game of the month was our first Cascadia Cup match of the season across the border in Portland. Twenty-year old Canadian Michael Rodriguez was the star of the show with two powerful headers that forced own goals within the opening 30 minutes. Jesus Hernandez added a third goal early in the second half with a shot from just outside the box.

So just the one defeat so far this season but things are very tight in this conference with the possibility of the lead changing at any moment.

Canadian Championship

This season we opened up with a 1st leg away game to Edmonton. I sent out a full strength side knowing that success in this tournament was our only way into the Champions League. It was a disappointing effort that resulted in a 0-0 draw but in the return leg at home Castillejos scored a brilliant hat-trick to send us through to the final against Toronto.

The first leg of the final was in Toronto where a single goal divided the two teams but with home field advantage in the second leg we felt confident of over-turning that lead.

A capacity crowd was on hand for the second leg in anticipation of a home win and we poured on the pressure in the opening twenty minutes that eventually led to a goal thanks to a brilliant run by Sinclair whose cross found the head of Jarju which he glanced the ball into the net. We kept up the domination but couldn’t break down the Toronto defence again and so a place in the NACL rested on a penalty shoot – out….

…which we won with a perfect set! It was desperate game to win and so we are now back in the all-important North American Champions League.

We were given $150,000 in transfer funds for qualifying for the NACL but it appears the board are going to use that money elsewhere.

Finances

The building of a new stadium has put us into financial trouble with the board having to take a loan to meet operating costs and other financial debts. Aside from the NACL allocation money our transfer funds of over $400,000.00 from the start of the season has also been used elsewhere though we do have $4,000.00 available for salaries.

Overall, things look very grim right now so I don’t expect much in the way of transfer activity and I may have to trade off a player to make room for Mali youngster Traore whose joining us in July. The likely candidate to go is DC Alain Rochat.

Fixtures

We start off with what should be an easy game at home to San Jose before our top of the table clash with Real Salt Lake.

Republic of Ireland

Just one game to report on in which we were completely over-run in the African heat after going down to 10 men early on. The pace of the Mali players was just too much to cope with as they made the most of their attacking opportunities.

Thanks a lot for reading this slightly longer post and I look forward to your comments.

 

 

 






  28 Responses to “Vancouver Whitecaps: Season 4, Spring 2014”

  1. Good to see that you are doing well. Keep up the good job. Looking forward to the next post.

  2. Looking excellent so far, everything looks set for another MLS title. Not so good for Ireland though but that’s just a side challenge anyway and it was an unusual game due to that red card.

    • Hi Johnny
      We’re in good form right now which is pleasing. As for Mali, they made the World Cup so I’m not surprised they beat Ireland though i am by the amount!!

  3. Great form in the early part of the season, and this time no slip-up in the Canadian Cup.
    Although the financial position looks grim right now, I’m sure things will turn around, because you did make a healthy profit last season. It never feels good to see a negative balance showing, but the club is definitely able to make money when they aren’t spending a fortune on building a stadium.

    • Thanks Ziggy
      I was happy to win the Canadian Cup and get back in the NACL as that’s more revenue we can surely use right now.

  4. Very exciting form Kevin, well done. I can imagine the Mali game must have been weird, but as Johnny said it is just a side challenge.

    • Hi Darren
      The Mali game was a bit wierd after such good form with Vancouver. Still it’s early days with Ireland and I haven’t really spent time assessing the squad.

  5. Great start Kevin, your side seem to have hit top form straight away which is encouraging and you look set for another MLS title :) Keep up the good work mate.

    • Thanks Laxeyman
      We really did come flying out of the gate this time so hopefully we can keep this up though we have a couple of times where the schedule gets a bit compressed so could cause some trouble.

  6. Hey Kevin,
    Great start to the MLS season so hopefully you keep it up for another title. Not so good against Mali though but that’s down to one of your players getting sent off so it wasn’t really a fair contest after that.

    • Hi Dan

      Vancouver are going great guns so far and as for Ireland I was a little lazy with squad analysis and paid the price I think :)

  7. Another strong start from the off in the MLS season and no surprise that you’re leading the table. Glad you won the Canadian Championship as a strong Champions League campaign (next season) will help those perilously low finances.
    It’s amazing how much Scott Sinclair popped up in your match descriptions with either asissts or goals, I knew he was going to be an instant success :)
    Good Luck for the remainder of the campaign.

    • Hi saltwater
      Sinclair has been a brilliant signing -he’s just blasting past every defender in the league. I was delighted to get back in the NACL especially to help the money situation.

  8. Good start to the MLS though those finances are looking a bit worrying, I wonder if you have the same chairman as me at Velez! :P

    Bad start to international management but that red card didnt help things, so hopefully things will pick up in the next game.

    Good luck! :)

    • Hi Ana!!
      Yes that bank balance is awlful and looks a bit like mine after the recent trip to the UK :) I was a bit lazy with Ireland so I’m not surprised we lost!

  9. Another brilliant start to the season Kevin, I hope you can keep up your good form. The Mali result wasn’t the best start but I’m sure you will turn it around in your next fixture. Good Luck.

    • Hi Martin
      Yes, things have gotten off to a terrific start this year but we have an intense schedule coming up so fingers crossed

  10. A really great journey there! And oh yeah, back to NACL again. I still have concern about the finance there, but I think you can handle it nonetheless.

    I’ll look forward on the next journey.

  11. Very good start Kevin , Another MLS title is on the cards , Also i am sure you ‘ll do good with Ireland they have very good players & it ‘s only a friendly game .

    • Hi Mohammad
      Thanks for the comment and yes the good start would suggest another title but a long way to go yet :) I was somewaht lazy in my Ireland approach so I’ll have to put in more effort next time.

  12. Some good form Kevin but you are making a big loss this season, hopefully your turnover will be enough to keep your club afloat

    Hopefully the NACL will give you enough money to get out of the red…..looking forward to Traore joining, hopefully he has improved himself in the meantime

    • Hi CsAtlantis

      I have high hopes for Traore but he will now be competing with Sinclair on the left flank :) Good point about NACL revenue which i’m banking on to get us out of the red.

  13. Liking this story so far man.

    I’ve tried an MLS game before but I got annoyed with the lack of development with in the league, although I did enjoy the competitiveness because it does feel like anyone can win it unlike the more established leagues. I reckon I’ll be sticking to Spanish or English squads!

    Keep up the good work though!

  14. Hi Toby
    Thanks a lot for leaving a comment and I’m happy that you are liking the story. The MLS can be a bit mundane especially with the lack of new teams to mix things up a little though the complexities of the league keeps things interesting.

  15. Sincalir has had a brilliant start so far, hope he can keep it up! You deserve first place, your form has been excellent.

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