In The Cold Light Of Day: Kansas City (away)

Another road game, another defeat.

We will win a MLS away game at some point this season. I’m sure of that. Hmm, maybe ‘sure’ is a bit optimistic.

This season has felt like one step forward, two steps back at times and yesterday’s 2-1 loss to Kansas City only has a couple of positives to take from it.

When those positives are the excellent performance of goalkeeper Joe Cannon and the fact that we only lost by one goal in the end, well, then you know we have a problem and all the optimism from last Saturday’s victory against Philadelphia has evaporated in the Kansas humidity.

You can read AFTN’s full match report over at Prost Amerika, but Kansas City were deserved winners and they really should have won by more.

The Caps goal was against the run of play, and apart from Eric Hassli’s chance at the start of the second half, which he really should have buried, it was an easy day at the office for Jimmy Neilsen.

The game signalled the halfway point of the season for the Whitecaps. There’s been seven losses in those 17 games and last night’s defeat was the fifth one of those to be by a single goal.

The fine line between mid table success and bottom of the heap.

Apart from Cannon, no player can come away from Kansas with much glory. Some were middling, but some really need to have their places in the starting eleven questioned.

One of the major questions for me is why has Gershon Koffie been relegated to the bench?

Koffie has been the standout central midfielder all season. Mr Consistent. He should be the name on the teamsheet before Terry Dunfield and certainly before Jeb Brovsky.

I have no doubt that Brovsky will develop into a good MLS player. Maybe for us, maybe for someone else. He is not currently ready to be a starting MLS midfielder though and although he has skills and shows glimpses, he added little to the Caps team on that Livestrong Sporting Park yesterday.

I did like him walking through the Kansas City defenders, trying to rile them up at a free kick. At least that showed some passion and fight. There wasn’t a lot of that going on elsewhere on that pitch and for once I will give them the conditions factor. That humidity must have been horrendous to play in.

Shea Salinas has impressed in spurts but just doesn’t seem to have the impact as a starter that he did when he was coming on as sub a few weeks back.

And what’s happened to Alex Morfaw?

Soehn rescued him from the PDL, played him in a couple of games, he impressed and now he’s back with the Residency team. A player of Morfaw’s calibre should not be turning out against North Sound SeaWolves on a night when we need him playing in Kansas City. Absolutely incredible.

Wes Knight, for all his faults, should also certainly be on the bench in MLS and not in PDL action. Especially when Bilal Duckett is ahead of him in the pecking order.

Like Brovsky, I’m sure Duckett will develop. That’s why we have the reserve league and PDL. I’ve seen him in PDL action and he didn’t impress. He certainly is not what we need at the back in MLS at the moment. Duckett offers little to no threat as an attacking full back.

After last week’s impressive return, Michael Boxall struggled at the back this week in the first half. He had a much better second half, which was surprising considering he’d lost his partner Jay DeMerit.

Hopefully we’re not going to lose Jay to another groin injury. It would seem he was replaced more as a precaution as it felt tight. Let’s hope he’s fit for the two forthcoming Toronto matches.

Davide Chiumiento going off with a tight leg was also a blow, but in saying that, he simply wasn’t in the game in Kansas during that first half. He struggled. As did Eric Hassli, who equally wasn’t in the game for most of it.

Eric badly needs someone up front with him that can take some of the holding play off his shoulders and allow him to concentrate on putting the ball in the net.

Camilo’s goal was another of the few high points of the evening. The way he left Cesar standing was well worked, but also shockingly defended. A deft finish though. He knew where the goal was and found it. He needs to give lessons.

We said after Teitur’s sacking not to rush to judge Soehn. To give him until after the two Toronto games. Well they’re about to come up pretty quickly.

There’s things in Soehn and his sides that I’ve liked.

There’s more attacking flair at times and it’s good that he changes players positions over depending on how the game is going. He’s not afraid to make substitutions and earlier than Teitur did. Some of his selections though have been baffling.

Teitur was accused by some of favouring his D2 faves to the detriment of the team. You could certainly argue now that Soehn is doing that with the draft picks.

We need to re-group pronto. There’s two massive games coming up against TFC.

I watched their game against Real Salt Lake late last night and although it was 3-1, going on 4 or 5, TFC at least showed some battling spirit and more than we showed both at the Rio Tinto Stadium and last night in Kansas City.

If we can return from Toronto with three points and a Champions League spot, then a lot of the complaints will be put on the back burner and the boost to the squad for the rest of the season will be enormous.

Anything less can only be viewed as failure.

There can be no hiding places and certainly no passengers. We need to get most of our squad out there together, so that Soehn has the best players at his disposal for both the games and can pick accordingly.

We need the fight that we saw in Seattle and the all round team performance that we saw at Empire on opening day.

With some reorganisation and personnel changes, we still believe that the Caps will squeak in to the playoffs. To reach the Champions League we need to fully utilise what we currently have.

The pressure is most certainly on.

Authored by: Michael McColl

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