In The Cold Light Of Day: Manchester City

For an old grump like myself who hates mid-season friendlies with a passion, I actually really enjoyed last night’s game between the Whitecaps and Manchester City.

The fact that it was a competitive game and the Caps were able to score and create a lot of chances obviously helped a lot with that enjoyment.

And the fact that the pitch was such a wreck, in turn, helped with that aspect.

A nice chain of events for the Caps.

The pitch was definitely a great leveller and a lot of the City players seemed to be at half pace a lot of the time.

The state of the pitch, two games in three days and pre-season sharpness will do that to you.

The result was an excellent performance from the Caps and one which obviously leads to the question “if they can play like that tonight…”.

We were not disgraced or embarrassed by being on the end of a rout. Our performance belied the current bottom of the heap position we occupy in MLS and both the players and supporters will have earned plaudits from the worldwide audience.

Camilo was my man of the match. Not quite sure how Shaun Wright-Phillips got it. Could be because of that wonder strike or the fact that he was still actually on the pitch at the end.

The last few weeks have seen a transformation of the Brazilian. He’s being creative, scoring regularly, working really hard throughout and managing to stay on his feet.

He’s been contributing more to the games than Eric Hassli, but now that we have the addition of Mustapha Jarju, I think we’ll see the best out of Hassli yet.

The three of them looked good out there. The complete link up play clearly isn’t there yet, but that’s to be expected.

We need them all to work together for a team effort though and not be individualistic and go for glory themselves all the time.

Those three, with Davide Chiumiento in behind them, are going to give the Caps one of the most exciting attacking units in MLS and will certainly be a handful for many defences.

What we seriously need now to back them up is a midfield of substance and a defence that doesn’t ship so many avoidable goals.

Peter Vagenas continues to impress me. He’s looking better each game.

I also liked Philippe Davies at spells in the second half, which surprised me as I didn’t think much of him last season or in the PDL games this year.

It was pleasing to see Jay Nolly get the full ninety in goal. He excelled against the multi-million pound talent he was facing and certainly pushed a claim for a return to the starting line-up.

The Caps just need to build on this now moving forward. We might have little to play for in the remainder of the season, but at the very least I’m looking for not finishing last and landing the Cascadia Cup.

The fact that the game went ahead at all is a credit to the hard work put in by a number of people. The pitch clearly wasn’t anywhere near up to standard by kick off, but for City, it must have seemed like playing a third round FA Cup tie at a League Two ground – just with more fans. The exquisite portacabin changing rooms will have added a nice authentic feel to the occasion.

I still think all the hassle getting the game on was an unnecessary farce. It seems even less worth it when you look at how Manchester City behaved whilst they were in Vancouver, or rather, what they didn’t do.

It was very much a whirlwind visit. They arrived on Sunday, played the game on Monday and then left immediately afterwards to fly back to LA.

Whilst Man United players are in Seattle for days and making some personal appearances, City did fuck all for the fans here. They didn’t even hang around on the pitch to acknowledge the fans. No public training session or anything.

So apart from coming and playing, what exactly did Vancouver’s fans get out of this visit apart from a postponed League match?

I’m not sure that City will have gotten too much out if it either. Seems a weird way to promote their “global” brand by not doing any promotion or coming across as fan friendly.

They do go back to California with a good work out and an injury to Yaya Toure for their troubles. Was it worth it for them? Well I’m sure they money got helps a little. Small change in the grand scheme of their business dealings though.

The Whitecaps got global exposure. The won’t have made much money. Giving away 16,000 free tickets and selling a further 8,000 is going to see to that and that’s a fact I admire. They didn’t try and gouge their loyal supporters.

They were going for the promotion and not the money. Whether it will have worked and whether the performance by the players and the atmosphere from the fans will be enough to attract some newbies into Caps games, only time will tell.

There’s no doubt we’ll have at least one of these friendlies in BC Place next year. let’s just hope it goes off with a little less drama than this year’s one did.

[*** You can see AFTN’s photos from last night’s game on our Flickr account ***] [*** You can read AFTN’s Match Report on the game on Prost Amerika ***]
Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Krammerhead at 01:53

    Call me stupid, but just what's the big deal about this global exposure Vancouver is supposed to get from this game? The Whitecaps have played these bug teams before. Personally I'd prefer they try to get some decent exposure in the league they are playing in by actually winning a couple of games.

  2. GoF at 23:58

    For me, the global exposure aspect that interests me is getting our name, our play and our atmosphere out to players across the world who may want to come and play for us.

    Decent players. Not has-beens looking for a late pay check. I know we're not going to get the superstars but we should attract some good interest.

    I (naively I know) hope that players will see games like Man City and think, I quite fancy that.

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