Happy Fourth of July! Watch out Colorado, the big bad South American Canadians are in town and are looking to ruin your party! Western Conference bottom feeders and Wooden Spoon contenders, the Colorado Rapids will play host to Vancouver Whitecaps this evening, in what should be an easy win for the ‘Caps. However, Vancouver has a nasty habit of stumbling versus lessor opponents.
The smoking corpses of Las Angeles, New Jersey Red Bulls, and the Boston Revolution lay mangled in the dirt, as the Whitecaps, dressed as Spartan Hoplites, continue their march across America, laying waste to some of the best MLS teams.
Top of the league based on PPG, and sporting an incredible 6-3-1 road record, the Whitecaps are a team to be feared. After being named MLS Player of the Month (June), David Ousted continues to lead by example. The best goalkeeper in the league, Ousted’s hard work and determination has rubbed off on his teammates and has become the keystone of their road success this season.
Since 2011, when playing on the road, the Whitecaps have often fallen victim to bad luck. Questionable calls, missed opportunities, long flights and other excuses can be blamed. At the end of the day, those are only excuses. A good team creates their own luck. A quick transition from defence to offence is the name of the road game, and the Whitecaps have nearly perfected it in 2015. Absorbing the enemy attack while patiently looking for a chance to force a turnover. This technique has resulted in many goal scoring opportunities for the Whitecaps on this 5 game road time and has directly lead to several goals.
Despite being without Captain Maestro, Pedro Morales, the Whitecaps have collected 9 out of a possible 12 points on this road jaunt. Morales will be absent yet again tonight in Colorado, but that shouldn’t have fans worried. A recent resurgence in form means Mauro Rosales is more than ready to continue in the attacking midfield role. Not to mention that young Canadian, Kianz Froese is bristling with confidence after scoring his first MLS goal and could very well soon be awarded with a starting role.
Times are good for the Canadian team. Mostly healthy and gaining confidence as the weeks go by, this young roster is making waves. Amusingly, most of the fans across the league haven’t a clue the powerhouse that Carl Robinson is creating in the north. In an article posted earlier this week, author JC Zambrano, discusses in detail some of the reason why the Whitecaps largely remain unknown and underrated. While I agree with many of his points, he has glazed over the fact that Canadian MLS teams are an afterthought to both the league they play in and American media. When the dump trucks full of cash began leaving TFC headquarters in January 2014, the media south of the border had no choice. They couldn’t ignore TFC any longer. The same cannot be said about the Whitecaps and Impact. The coffers of Vancouver’s owners are overflowing, just like MLSE. However, the ownership group in Vancouver have chosen a very different path to success. We are beginning to see this success come to fruition, and if it leads post season success and a deep run into the MLS playoffs, American mainstream media may have no choice but to notice the Whitecaps. I’m not particularly concerned about this; in fact, I can confidently say that I don’t care who in the States notices that the Whitecaps are building something special in the City of Glass. The longer the Whitecaps can fly under the radar the better.
Local media and fans are noticing the Whitecaps. A post season run for the MLS Cup would likely result in the ‘Caps opening up capacity to the lower bowl in 2016. But of course, that is all speculation at the moment. The chance of another summer collapse is still a very real possibility, and David Ousted can’t be expected to perform miracles every week.
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