In The Cold Light Of Day: Whitecaps Taste First MLS Defeat As Hassli Sees Red

It had to happen sometime. The Caps had to suffer MLS defeat and burst the exuberant bubble that was generated with last week’s demolition of Toronto FC.

We’re not going to do a full match report on AFTN, but you can read the report we’ve done for Prost Amerika HERE.

“In The Cold Light Of Day” will be more of a reflection of games.

The Whitecaps can leave PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania with their heads held high.

Have to take time to say how much I love that stadium. The setting, the way it’s been built and the atmosphere it generates. Just makes you want that Waterfront Stadium for the Caps all the more.

Vancouver turned in a solid performance today for their first MLS away match and completely dominated the first half. They could easily have gone in a couple of goals up with better finishing and some better breaks.

The turning point of the game obviously came in the 57th minute.

When Eric Hassli caught Philadelphia’s Carlos Valdes late, his momentum clearly took him through. He did leave his foot in a little but the Union player made the most of the kind of challenge you pretty much see in every game. With the referee in the mood he was in, the inevitable second yellow for Hassli followed and so did the early bath.

You could see it coming. I had said just a couple of minutes before the incident that he needed to watch as I thought that he’d had his final chance from a referee who was clearly blowing for every little thing. Should he have been substituted? Perhaps, but you don’t want to take off your most potent attacking threat if you can help it.

I love Hassli’s style. I would much rather have a striker who is not afraid to put himself about than one who shits out of everything. His harrying, bustling style is going to cause a lot of problems for defences throughout the League.

The yellows he picked up are arguably for things he would probably have gotten away with in various European leagues. Looking at replays, I do feel that he knew exactly what he was doing with his clip on Danny Califf that brought about his first yellow. We’ve all seen those passed over though.

He will definitely have to watch himself here in MLS with super fussy referees like Yader Reyes today. His card had been clearly marked early on by the official.

The referee completely spoiled the fluidity of the game. He blew for 39 fouls in total, 24 of them in the first half. Only 7 yellow cards from those (including Hassli’s two) is a bit strange, especially when he seemed to have lost his card after the 57th minute sending off.

Atiba Harris was being kicked all over the pitch at times, with very little punishment for Union players.

The referee was poor for both sides and the match would have been a much better spectacle if he’d just gone with the flow.

Talking of Harris. I can just tell that he is going to frustrate the hell out of me this season.

His finishing is lacking at times and he seems to want to take one touch too many far too often. He can hold the ball up and lay off well. He has played more as a midfielder and I think that this is where he may be best suited for us and not as an out and out striker.

With Hassli now missing next week, we need to have Harris step up big time. I could see him as the lone forward with Davide Chiumiento playing just in behind him in a 4-4-1-1 formation, assuming our Swiss maestro is fully fit.

We certainly missed Chiumiento’s flair. Nizar Khalfan is a worker but you’re not going to get the same input into a game from him and it’s not fair to expect it. He had an above average game but isn’t the most comfortable looking when defending.

The defence stood strong and was solid. Our two centre backs didn’t really seem in any real trouble and it’s a shame for Greg Janicki that the ball deflected off him for the goal. It could have gone anywhere but had to fall into the path of Le Toux!

The agreement made with the Canadian under 20 side to only play Russell Teibert for a maximum of 65 minutes puzzled me when I first heard about it. I don’t like deals like that. Teitur should be allowed to play him for as long as he sees fit, if he is getting to play him. It was have been great to have kept him on the pitch beyond that time as he was having a tremendous match. As soon as he went off, I felt that we were then just looking to see things through to the end for a point.

Our AFTN 3-2-1 award for this week is:

3 points – Joe Cannon (solid, some big saves – boom!)
2 points – Russell Teibert (may have gone under the radar for some today but had a bigger role to play than last week)
1 point – Alain Rochat (solid, led well and I loved his go away dismissal towards Ruiz when he picked up his booking).

Considering the players missing today, I think our guys stepping up to the plate did us proud and nearly brought back at least a point. A few breaks and decisions the other way and we’d still be unbeaten. No point looking at ifs, buts and maybes. Take the defeat on the chin and move on.

The loss is probably a good thing, as it will bring some of the fans back down to earth with a bump after last week’s heroics. We played outstandingly last week and we shouldn’t forget that. It showed that we have a squad capable of doing some serious damage to any team in this League. If we turn up though and don’t take our chances and don’t defend tight, today is a good example of what will happen.

We said in our Metro Column on Friday that the hard work is only just beginning now and so it’s been proven.

The players now need to pick themselves up as we head back to Empire. The home field advantage could prove to be a big asset to the Club this season. Let’s make the most of it again next Saturday.

Mon the Caps.

Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Krammerhead at 02:57

    I think Harris might not get the calls because he rolls around on the pitch too much. He is going to frustrate the hell out of Whitecaps fans this year.

    I'm not that impressed with their stadium myself!

  2. MrBuzzcut at 20:50

    Yeah, PPL is a weird stadium. The bridge looming over the short stands. A brisk river wind cooling the Sons of Ben.

    Yader Reyes is a shit ref. The Colombians on the Union sensed it and kept the diving up. The 360 degree spinorama by Valdes on the 2nd Hassli yellow took me back to the frustration of the World Cup. There will be many more games like this in MLS.

  3. Anonymous at 02:41

    It's a nice stadium but it's not in Philly. It's a solid 30 min DRIVE from Philly. And there is nothing near the stadium to walk to. No restaurants, no bars. Classic American mistake of putting sports in the suburbs. Will be a problem once the novelty wears off…

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