What we learned vs. Philadelphia Union

The legend talks discipline, a cruel game, and the team spine

What we learned vs. Philadelphia Union

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

That was a really disappointing way for our boys to lose our home unbeaten streak. The team battled gallantly while playing with 10 men for basically the entire match, but eventually fell to a 1-0 defeat against Philadelphia Union.

So what did we learn?

It’s a cruel game sometimes

Highlights: Whitecaps FC 0 - 1 Union

If someone had said that we would play the game down a man for over 80 minutes, lose our captain just after halftime, and then lose another centre back late in the game who had been playing very well, I don’t think anybody would have given us a chance in this game.

Well guess what, this team nearly overcame all those obstacles to win the game, or at least earn a draw and keep our home unbeaten record alive. No one could have begrudged us if we had come out of this game with at least a point.

Although we lost, it was very pleasing to see the way the team responded. This is a special group that seems to gain strength from adversity.

It can’t be denied that we looked the most likely team to score. We created most of the best opportunities in front of goal. We have played a lot worse than this and won, but sometimes you do not get what you deserve out of the game and it sucks.

It just wasn’t our night. It can be a cruel game.

Discipline

Jun Marques Davidson is sent off

This is not something I am going to harp on, as Jun Marques Davidson has already apologized to the players and fans, and I know that Gershon Koffie is sick knowing that he has to miss a very important game in Portland that he was desperate to play in.

It’s good our players play with passion and I think this is a good lesson learned as we head into the fight to get into the playoffs.

It will be key that they are able to keep their discipline and composure in all situations in the many important games ahead.

It could well be the difference.

Spine

'Caps attack down the middle

If you look at this game and how we overcame much of the adversity we faced throughout the match, you have to be excited by the spine we have running down our team.

Many coaches will tell you that if you can be strong down the middle of your team you are going to be tough to beat.

It starts at the very back. Knighton has elevated his game since David Ousted has arrived, and the Dane does also look the part if called upon, so we can be confident in that position.

The defence was also outstanding again on Saturday night as Johnny Leveron and Brad Rusin put in another workmanlike shift. With Andy O’Brien and Jay DeMerit set to return soon, and Carlyle Mitchell waiting in the wings, we’ve surely become one of the deepest teams in the league at centre back.

In the middle of the field, Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker were dominant. They have established themselves as a driving force for the ‘Caps and often boss the midfield. With Matt Watson and Daigo Kobayashi adding some steel and creativity, there are many options for Martin Rennie in the engine room.

Up front Kenny Miller and Camilo are causing all sorts of problems for opposing backlines as they interchange with great movement. This has given defenders headaches as they try to track them down, but are unable to shut them down. When Darren Mattocks is ready to come back strong, they’ll be another element of speed up the middle. Add in the poaching ability of Corey Hertzog and the gritty play of Tommy Heinemann and you’ve got some options.

If strength down the middle is a good thing, then you’ve got to me confident in this team going forward.