Three Kicks: Whitecaps FC fall 1-0 against Real Salt Lake

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From the producers of “Nightmare on the Road: Debacle in Kansas City” and “Nightmare on the Road 2: Carnage in DC,” the Vancouver Whitecaps released the latest edition in this horror saga on Saturday night titled “Nightmare on the Road 3: Destruction in Salt Lake.”

The Blue and White fell by a score 1-0 in Sandy, Utah. A result that sent supporters into a panic frenzy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-rIhMpt-KY

1. The lack of goals

The Whitecaps have failed to score a goal from open play in their last nine MLS games.

That is the entire 2016 campaign and the two 2015 playoff games against Portland. Perhaps more worryingly, the ‘Caps have been blanked in their last three games and they currently have the longest scoreless streak in the league.

A few weeks ago the conversation was focusing on whether or not the Whitecaps would be able to score from open play, it seems that worries have now shifted to whether or not they will be able to find the back of the net again. When asked about the lack of scoring Carl Robinson does not have a clear answer at this point.

In fairness, the Whitecaps had a positive first half pushing RSL back and creating several clearcut chances that they failed to convert. There is only so much that the Welsh tactician can do from the sidelines.

2. The Usual Suspects

The bewildered Vancouver supporters were quick to round up the usual suspects searching for a name to use as the lightning rod for their electric rage. Uruguayan striker Octavio Rivero was the culprit of choice.

Rivero’s production certainly does not help his case.

However, blaming Rivero seems like a shortsighted analysis.

The truth is that there are several players who have failed to perform to the level that was expected. Yes, this includes Rivero but also Cristian Techera, Kekuta Manneh, Matías Laba, and even Kendall Waston at times have yet to live up to what fans are expecting from them.

The reality is that the team as a whole is underperforming.

3. The Coach

So far Carl Robinson and his coaching staff have been off-limits when it comes to criticism and culpability for the team’s poor beginning to the 2016 season. Robinson has earned quite a bit confidence and trust due to the positive results achieved during his first two years at the helm.

But, although not widespread at this point, even the head coach is coming under fire during this dark and difficult time.

Making rash decisions and knee jerk reactions at times of crisis is a recipe for disaster. Carl Robinson is a coach that has experienced success with this group. With a better team this year than last year (at least on paper), there is no reason to believe that the ‘Caps will not be able to turn the tide.

The 2016 iteration of the Whitecaps have experienced a series of injuries, suspensions and international call-ups that have prevented them from really get a run of games together as a unit.

There is good news and bad news for the Blue and White in the near future. On the bright side, they return to BC Place for two games next week. Unfortunately, those games are against the high-flying teams of FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City.

There is a notion in Major League Soccer that the results at the beginning of the season are not as important as the form of a team towards the end of the campaign. While this is true when thinking about the playoffs, the points earned or dropped at the early stages of the season can be the difference between missing the cut come October.

Whatever the answer is to get this team scoring again, Carl Robinson, his coaching staff and the players themselves have to find it. And they have to find it soon.

MATCH DETAILS

Budweiser Man of the Match: Tim Parker
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Attendance: 19,720

Scoring Summary
55′ – RSL – Juan Manuel Martinez (Joao Plata)

Stats
Shots: Salt Lake 13 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Salt Lake 4 – Vancouver 5
Saves: Salt Lake 4 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Salt Lake 8 – Vancouver 14
Offsides: Salt Lake 1 – Vancouver 4
Corners: Salt Lake 4 – Vancouver 6

Cautions
71′ – RSL – Kyle Beckerman
79′ – VAN – Kendall Waston
90’+2′ – VAN – Octavio Rivero

Real Salt Lake
18.Nick Rimando; 2.Tony Beltran, 15.Justen Glad, 21.Aaron Maund, 17.Demar Phillips; 5.Kyle Beckerman, 27.John Stertzer, 19.Luke Mulholland (70.Jordan Allen 75′); 10.Joao Plata, 14.Yura Movsisyan (49.Devon Sandoval 90′), 7.Juan Manuel Martinez

Substitutes not used
24.Jeff Attinella, 4.Jámison Olave, 16.Chris Wingert, 25.Danilo Acosta, 80.Olmes García

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird (19.Erik Hurtado 83′), 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 17.Andrew Jacobson (9.Masato Kudo 78′), 15.Matías Laba; 13.Cristian Techera, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (7.Christian Bolaños 61′), 23.Kekuta Manneh; 29.Octavio Rivero

Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 31.Russell Teibert, 44.Pa-Modou Kah

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Jorge Mendoza I grew up in Mexico, therefore, soccer has been my life for over three decades. I have watched all kinds of football from Champions League matches to second division Peruvian games. (Yes, really). I created, produce and host the From the Backline podcast with my buddy Mark. We chat all about the Whitecaps, MLS and soccer. When I am not podcasting or writing about soccer I can probably be found watching TV & movies or eating cookies.
@JorgeMendoza

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