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.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Perspective - Teitur Thordarson Tossed at Low Tide

     Vancouver Whitecaps parted ways with their head coach early this morning at a press conference. An abrupt end to his four-year tenure in charge of the club was a bit of a shock to most of the media and fans. There had been rumblings of discontent, but it was thought that Vancouver had learned from the mess that is Toronto FC and would not rush into any rash decisions. It takes time to step into this league and find success as mused here; however, the Vancouver frame of mind did not think much of MLS’ qualities. Optimism was high following the opening day defeat of TFC; even as the two clubs’ records ran almost parallel, the new-car-smell of BC’s team was inducing a blinding high, which appears to have worn off inducing a stark, despairing come-down, and the realization has hit, the team is not doing well.

    Sure, there are mitigating circumstances, the hectic schedule and cross-continent travel, combined with the injuries suffered by many of the team’s key players have not helped the situation, but there was a cock-sure attitude about the Whitecaps organization and fans, that presumed they were above the struggles of a first year franchise. Or maybe that is not true.

    When Vancouver hired Tom Soehn and Denis Hamlett as additional backroom staff many assumed it was a wise addition to the management team; pair Teitur and his pre-MLS Whitecaps coaching staff, with some savvy, MLS-experienced heads, meld the old with the new to forge a new path in respect of the past, as the “Since 1974” tribute does on the back collar of their new jerseys. As much as this was a move made with the best of intentions of building a strong foundation of multiple viewpoints, it served a dual purpose of putting Thordarson on notice. Perhaps that is why he was so angry at the VC-NCC match being abandoned due to weather, did he hear the footsteps behind him? Such an experienced football man must have been aware of the risk any prolonged difficulties posed him.

    Both Soehn and Hamlett have lots of MLS experience, as players, and as assistant and head coaches. Perhaps it is out of loyalty to a man who served them so admirably and passionately these past few years that Teitur was given a chance at MLS at all and that a poor start of 9 points in 12 matches, was just all the rope he could be given by an organization intent on success this season. Maybe this was another case of too many cooks, spoiling the broth, inducing paranoia in the incumbent, afraid to change his tact, desperate for his way to win out; did he ignore advice in an attempt to prove his worth? Disquiet on the part of Davide Chiumiento, and his supporters, on his being shunted out on the left rather than in his preferred central role, upset at Thordarson’s single-mindedness at playing a defensive central midfield pairing of Terry Dunfield and Gershon Koffie.

    It is regrettable that such a fiery character has been lost to the Canadian game; goalkeeping coach Mike Salmon, a likeable chap by all accounts, was relieved of duty as well, he too will be a loss if his expertise does not find a home in this his adopted country. Canada wishes them all the best in all their future endeavours. As for the Whitecaps, and their “new” coaching staff; is this the shake-up required to jumpstart a stagnating season, or will this sharp decision cause further turmoil as the quick-fire managerial merry-go-round has in Toronto? Most believe the Whitecaps are the polar opposite of TFC, in method and in madness, perhaps this will have the desired effect, but things can always be worse, they have not lost 6-2 at home yet….   

If you consider yourself a fan of the Canadian game, or even just one of MLS, it is highly recommended that you seek out the work of @Lord_Bob (Benjamin Massey), for all things Whitecaps, and @24thminute (Duane Rollins), for Toronto. Both write at Canadian Soccer News, while Massey’s work can also be found at EightySixForever and The Score’s Footy Blog.

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