Whitecaps fall on a sunny (and rainy) afternoon in Portland

When the Spanish fleet first landed in Mexico in March 1520 the country was home to 22 million people but, by December of that same year, only 14 million were still alive.

That tragedy is down to the introduction of smallpox but it does at least mean that the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 defeat in Portland on Saturday afternoon wasn’t the worst away trip of all time.

Actually the Whitecaps weren’t that bad at all, but a lede’s a lede right?

Unfortunately though the lead at half time was with the Timbers thanks to a combination of great finishing from the home team and sloppiness in possession from the visitors and while Vancouver emerged in the second half as a more potent threat their potency had all but fizzled out by the end.

From a tactical point of view Carl Robinson went with a 4-1-4-1 that almost worked.

There were moments when Tony Tchani and Andrew Jacobson (Jacobson in particular) got forward to support Fredy Montero and a slightly better finish or a slightly luckier deflection may well have reduced the deficit.

But one of the defining features of this Whitecaps team is that they never seem to perform for the full ninety minutes and against a side as well put together as Portland are that was always going to be a problem.

So what do we make of the 4-1-4-1 formation?

One one hand it’s kind of nice to see Robinson taking himself out of the comfort zone of 4-2-3-1 but on the other this felt more like the dress rehearsal for the system rather than the finished product (And we can say the same for the three at the back experiment in Salt Lake).

Iron out the kinks and it could be a useful weapon in the team’s armoury but the those kinks need to be truly ironed out before the team take the field.

Robinson was also far too slow in making a change once the fillip of the Montero goal had dissipated and why he chose to remove the effective Jacobson instead of the lacklustre Tchani is something of a mystery.

By the final minutes Vancouver were back in their comfort zone of relying on the hoofed long ball from Kendall Waston which spelled the death knell for any chance of creating an equalizer and once a couple of set piece chances had also been wasted it was all over.

A decent effort that ended in defeat.

It shows how low the expectations have become that, at the end of the game, I was reasonably content with how it all played out and it probably shows how low the expectations the players are having set for them that the coach seemed to feel the same way.

“I thought we played well and deserved something more” is the epitaph for many a failed season over the years and unless the Whitecaps can figure out a way to either genuinely “play well” or actually “get something more” then the upcoming three road games will be a tough row to hoe.

Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings-

Ousted-6, Williams-6, Harvey-6, Parker-6, Waston-6, Laba-6, Tchani-5, Jacobson-6.5, Bolaños-6, Techera-5.5, Montero-6.5*







2 thoughts on “Whitecaps fall on a sunny (and rainy) afternoon in Portland”

  1. I was a little surprised to see how positive people were towards the Portland match. My take was that Robbo’s 4-1-4-1 was poorly organised and coached. Tchani and Jacobson were placed in positions they aren’t comfortable with and did their best but Robbo’s tactics left WAY to much space in front of the defense and Portland easily controlled the match. Then we grabbed a PK against the run-of-play and suddenly the 4-1-4-1 was the correct formation and the Caps finished well. I sort of think that Robbo accidentally fell into the correct formation. In retrospect he should have started 4-2-3-1 then transitioned to 4-1-4-1. Am I way off here?


  2. Where do you get the ideas for your opening paragraphs? Very funny and entertaining.
    Robbo borrowed the plan from Peter Vermes the week before when KSFC went in and beat PTFC the week before. It worked for them because they have the right players to do this. No shame in borrow in an idea.
    I agree with just about everything in the article and definitely Chani and Jacobson have to remember to play defense as well. Those two players and Laba that make up the midfield need to be real smart and be constantly moving to make the system work properly. Jacobson is a “floater” type player and Chani just looks slow. (Yaya Toura without the upside).
    The system did provide more offense and possession although the Caps did still get out possessed over the game. Since we are week in midfield it may be better if we put more bodies there and use this 4141 system as long as Robbo gets a higher work rate out of Chani and Jacobson.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s