'Caps continue unlucky streak - The Province


Vancouver unlucky to not secure three points

By Marc Weber

The Vancouver Whitecaps could pre-record their coach's post-game comments and save everyone a little time.

After a 0-0 tie against the Carolina RailHawks on Saturday at Swangard Stadium, the questions were the same, the answers

were the same, and the defending USL-1 champion Whitecaps are in the exact same situation they've been in for two months -- battling for the final playoff spot.

"I'm very disappointed -- we really deserved to win the game, but that's not the first time this year," said head coach Teitur Thordarson, who must feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Plenty of possession. A month's worth of chances for most teams. Not the result they needed. The only difference on Saturday was that a poor defensive error didn't bite Vancouver in the butt.

The Whitecaps had 10 corners to Carolina's one, outshot the RailHawks 22-9 and forced seven saves out of Caleb Patterson-Sewell.

"We have so many chances that it's just incredible that we can't get them over the line," the coach continued -- reciting another sentence he's used more than once this season.

Marlon James thought he did get one over the line, and TV replays appeared to back up the Whitecaps' leading scorer.

In the 26th minute, Patterson-Sewell stopped James's header from close range, then the ricochet off James's body. The ball fell to the goal line and James kicked at it twice as the keeper tried to smother it.

The ball looked over the line before the referee deemed James had committed a foul by kicking at Patterson-Sewell once the keeper had control.

That he ever had control was debatable, too.

"It was definitely in," said James. "The linesman was already heading to half. We should have had three points today. We worked well together and worked hard and just getting one point is not really satisfying.

"Getting frustrated doesn't help. We've just got to keep working hard and look forward to the next game."

The Whitecaps feel they've been unlucky this season, and there was evidence of that Saturday in front of 5,484 fans. Aside from James's near-goal, the striker was also pulled down on a late chance without a penalty forthcoming. In the first half, they were awarded a free kick at the edge of the box, rather than a penalty kick when Wes Knight was tripped on an attack.

But for every bit of bad luck, there's been a missed chance to match it.

James and substitutes Charles Gbeke and Lyle Martin all wasted golden opportunities in the second half with Carolina sitting back. The RailHawks were playing their first of three games in eight days, including hosting the Whitecaps on Tuesday.

"Five-, six-yard range, an open goal, we just have to score one of those," said Thordarson, whose club is now winless in four (0-2-2) with one goal in that stretch.

Thordarson inserted newly-signed English centre back Shaun Pejic and Tanzanian national team midfielder Nizar Khalfan into the starting lineup on Saturday and was pleased with both.

mweber@theprovince.com
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