“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever.”
The future may not be quite as bad for Whitecaps fans as that envisioned by George Orwell (although, after five consecutive defeats, it sometimes feel like it may be) but in a season that has been marked out by poor results, managerial upheaval, and the general sense that the club is failing to grasp the once in a lifetime opportunity that an inaugural season brings to any sporting franchise, is there anything at all to love about the current Whitecaps?
Quite a lot actually.
Of the top ten goalscorers in MLS so far this year the Whitecaps have two of them. Camilo and Hassli have six apiece, and one wonders how different the season would have been had Hassli managed to play all those early games that he missed through suspension; an extra win here or a hard fought point there may well have put a different spin on things. Remember too that Camilo is only 23 and is playing his first season in MLS, yet still looks like a genuine goal threat despite being asked to play in a number of different positions.
The defence has the potential to be so much better than it is; individual errors rather than bad organisation have undone the back four so far this year, but if they ever get to sendout Harvey, Rochat, De Merit and Leathers on a regular basis there is no reason why the back-line can’t become the strongest part of the squad.
They have a crop of young players that can only get better; if Gershon Koffie (19 years old) were partnered with a more attack minded partner in central midfield then he could develop into one of the better holding players in MLS, and Russell Tiebert (18 years old) has the pace to become a genuine threat from the left once he learns the art of the final ball. In attack Omar Salgado (17 years old) is currently lacking the strength to play the role that he is being asked to, but this time next year he will be better equipped to make full use of his talents.
Another positive is that pretty much everybody else is young too, with only De Merit and Hassli of the first choice outfield ten having ages that begin with the number “3″ meaning that this group of players has the potential to grow together in a way that can only help their overall understanding and camaraderie.
None of this means that this particular season will end well of course, it almost certainly won’t, and some fans have recently complained of a heavy “Big Brother” style security presence that doesn’t fit in with the general atmosphere at the games but, whatever the result, Empire Stadium remains a great place to take in a game (and is most definitely not “Room 101″) and despite their many defeats the Whitecaps hardly ever get completely outplayed by the opposition.
Perhaps if the official emphasis had been concentrated more on the youth of this team, rather than the “Newspeak” style pronouncements that they were playoff contenders, then the supporters would have accepted that they were in this for the long haul with more stoicism, but the past can’t be controlled and we can only look to a future that is actually a little brighter than many seem to think it is.
I have won the victory over myself. I love the Vancouver Whitecaps.
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Tags: featured, Vancouver Whitecaps, World soccer