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Welcome to Partially Obstructed View. We are each restrained by the limits of our own perspective, but when we meet to share information a clearer picture of the truth can be revealed. Comments & criticisms are welcome.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Perspective - Beginnings

     Great goings in Vancouver, Teitur and the Whitecaps have gone 1-1-1 scoring 7 and allowing 6 goals in their three games. A two-goal win and a score draw at home, a narrow loss on the road in Philadelphia have seen the Caps run their tally to 4 points, enough to garner them 4th place in the tough Western Conference. Toronto FC, on the other hand, have had a miserable start under new boss Aron Winter a lone two-goal win, a squeaky score draw at home, and the depressing opening day loss in Vancouver has seen the Reds go a disappointing 1-1-1, tallying a paltry 4 points, to sit them 6th in the under strength Eastern Conference.

     The amazing comeback by Vancouver this weekend past, against a Sporting Kansas City side that has both scored and allowed the most goals in the league (8 of each), a team that featured no less than 4 players who were playing their first full 90 of the season, and a Kei Kamara who had logged over 50 hours of flight time in the past week to fulfill his international duties for Sierra Leone, was rightfully hailed as the mark of a team on the right path. Though they were thwarted early in the match by KC Keeper, Jimmy Nielsen, the 3 goal deficit was quickly corrected following the introduction of Nizar Khalfan, who did not travel to play for his national team, in the 63rd and Davide Chiumiento, who was rested after suffering a hamstring strain on opening day, in the 69th.

     Toronto’s comeback from a shock early goal by Alejandro Moreno in the 3rd minute of play was a disappointing result for a team and fan base that was rocked by the shock trade of their talisman the previous day. True that Toronto could perhaps have won the match, had Gordon’s earlier header not struck the woodwork, Santos been giving the attacking benefit on his goal ruled offside or converted/passed off to Stevanovic after having rounded the keeper only to cruelly have the ball knocked off his foot by the last ditch tackle of Chivas defender Andrew Boyens, but they equally could have lost it as Stefan Frei was forced to make several key saves in the difficult swirling winds of Lake Ontario.

     This Vancouver squad meticulously put together by Thordarson and a top notch staff over the course of last year was built from the back, while Toronto is a patchwork mess of several coaches’ visions which was left at the doorstep of Winter as long ago as January of this year.  The Whitecaps have triumphed over a shell-shocked Toronto, lost to the second year Philadelphia Union, who went on to struggle terribly in LA, failing to capitalize on a man advantage for nearly half the match, not even registering a single shot on goal and the comeback win, spiritually at least against KC. Toronto should have enjoyed an easy kick off to the season, but has struggled with the unwinnable game to open the season, a lucky win a man down over the improving Portland Timbers, who last recorded a draw at New England, the second place team in the East, a lone point behind the same Philly to whom Vancouver  cruelly lost, and a this latest result a draw against a rebuilt, pointless, in many ways, Chivas USA.

     So, what is the point to this ramble you make ask, early season predictions and projections based on such a small sample size are simply a reflection of the prevailing attitudes surrounding a particular club. The Vancouver hype machine has progressed from confidence in preseason to downright arrogance regarding their place in this league, while the Toronto boo birds have emerged in full force, fresh off of whining about the subpar performances of the Leafs and Raptors, to belittle and neglect the achievements of a team being reborn.  The long season still lies ahead, much will come that can affect the overall placement and assessment of each club, as they are both still nascent projects.

Update 

     Vancouver’s match on Wednesday night, against the undefeated New England Revolution was a comedy of farce. Lead billing goes to referee Baldomero Toledo, who once again stole the show with his grand choreography of hand waiving and flashing cards, while on the undercard, the stupidity of Dichio West, Eric Hassli, showed how much he and his teammates have still to learn about the eccentricities of this league. If the ref is given a choice between action and inaction, he will always choose the path of most attention, be that to the detriment of the spectacle or not. The entertainment value of the Caps games has been high, but danger lies in an overaggressive tactic; for all the note of the physicality of the league, the dance between European and South/Central American styles of play, more importantly of refereeing, remains a fine one.

     Vancouver travels into a sweltering Houston for their fifth match, against a struggling Houston team, with a tally of 5 points. Toronto FC finds itself in Southern California to play their fourth match, against a steady San Jose Earthquakes, with a total of 4 points. Let us wait until a few more games have been played to start declaring the recognition of a determining pattern, or better yet, the Voyageurs Cup, aka Nutrilite Canadian Championship, kicks off in the coming weeks, should be the best installment yet.

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