The Monday After Vancouver: Musing a Meltdown

USA TODAY Sports

Did Dallas really dive as much as the Whitecaps supporters thought? What could have been done better?

Four points out of six from Vanvouer, with one coming at BC Place.

We should all be happy with a road point, right? I think most people expected a road point from FC Dallas and not much else. The Vancouver Whitecaps were furious after their (rather comprehensive) loss in Dallas, and they fought back as hard as they could. They're not a bad team, just an average one, and even average teams have great moments.

Their great moments led them to a tie, a point that FCD will take and run home with. The draws that are hardest to accept are not the ones where your team comes back, but the ones where your team is on the receiving end of a comeback. Those sting almost as bad as losses do, especially when your team has a two goal lead and gives it away.

I wouldn't worry as others might, though this team's lack of composure does sometimes rear its ugly head. Dallas has blown a two goal lead three times this year (a staggering 33% of games played so far), but they happily have not lost in any of those games. The Hoops have played nine matches and in five of those they held on to win, sometimes after furious assaults that required organization and careful defending. As infuriating as giving up a two goal lead is, it's equally important to remember that FCD has done much more right than wrong this season. They're leading the league, so can you imagine what it's like to be a Fire fan today?

Every team has a fatal flaw in their genes, and Dallas' so far is that every now and then they come apart at the seams. The team isn't perfect, and that's just something we'll have to accept (loathe as I am to do it). You can't have it all. Hopefully that problem will eventually be fixed, because I don't think we can take many more multi-goal meltdowns.

  • The responsibility for this draw is squarely on the players' shoulders. It's not fun to consider, but you don't lead 70 minutes into the game because you lack the capacity to win. Also, Je-Vaughn Watson and London Woodberry weren't on the field because they were first choice, so there's that.
  • Speaking of Watson, he again failed to impress in a defensive role on the field. His lack of effort in tracking back and closing lanes was shocking. You can excuse a few games' performance and chalk it up to not knowing the system, but this far into a season he needs to try harder. When your team is up 2-0 against a team that is furiously trying to get a result, your job in midfield is to limit damage and make life hard for them. Attack when possible, sure, but don't let players waltz right by you while you wait for the ball. He has had nine games to see AJ work. All it requires is some effort. My opinion may change when I go back and watch the game again, but I doubt it.
  • London Woodberry did not have the best of outings, but he was in over his head and still lacks serious minutes at this level of competition. It doesn't make his performance better, but the kid was thrown into a raging river and told to swim against the current. Hopefully his confidence isn't too shaken after two substitute appearances in which his team gives up a two goal lead. Stephen Keel is almost ready, so not all is lost on the defensive depth front.
  • The above points illustrate that you cannot lose two of your best defensive players on the field and not see an effect. This isn't really about depth (though that's an issue as well), this is about losing your best defensive players. George John and Andrew Jacobson are critical to the security of the field up the middle, and the second they were both out the difference was notable. I highly doubt any bench player can have the same impact as those two, unless they're starting quality bench (and what team has that in spades?). When faced with a full-on onslaught, only the best will do.
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps' twitter account had a few low-quality moments. While I understand friendly banter back and forth, they did not acquit themselves well. They effectively regurgitated fans' lines about Dallas diving, and not only was it dull and uninspired, it was unbecoming of a team's official twitter account. It doesn't particularly offend me, but it doesn't speak well of them that they had to go back and delete their tweets. It's too late Vancouver: twitter is forever.
  • I have never, ever seen a group of fans whinge about diving so much. I understand it's difficult to see certain types of fouls from the stands the same way we can see them in replays on TV, so perhaps that explains the petulant attitude. Dallas embellished, but Vancouver fouled pretty hard.
  • Jackson had a stupid moment where he didn't watch his hands and deserved to get sent off. Hopefully that will teach him a lesson and it will be the last time he gets red carded this year, because he's too good a player to lose to a silly thing like that. He was all over the field, initiated several counterattacks, and all around had a good game right up until that point.
  • If it wasn't for Kekuta Manneh, Vancouver doesn't draw, plain and simple. He was the difference maker. Dallas fans can get mad at various things about FCD, but Whitecaps supporters should be no less concerned for their team than they were yesterday. They have serious defensive issues in the back that keep repeating themselves in every game this season (ball watching, man marking, etc). For all their desire to win on Saturday, they basically gave away their chance at three points. Perhaps Vancouver's twitter account should make fun of their defenders that are supposed to, you know, defend?
  • Raul Fernandez had more scary moments, but he made some truly great saves, including a spectacular diving save that unfortunately led to the first goal. Overall, while he still worries me at times, I'd still rather have Raul in net rather than someone else. He's the closest to Kevin Hartman's reflexes that I've seen in MLS outside of Nick Rimando or Sean Johnson.
  • Vancouver supporters at one point had cards with numbers up, and it turns out they're supposed to be "diving scores" for Dallas players. I was confused by that, because for a while I thought they were trying to encourage their players by showing them the number of points they could have by the end of the night.
A seven match unbeaten run is nothing to scoff at, and the week of coming rest will hopefully reinvigorate and help heal a rather battered Hoops squad. All things considered, the Whitecaps supporters are allowed complain, but they can't deny they would love to be in Dallas' shoes. The Caps can have their 9 points. Dallas will take their 20 and head to a well-earned break.

Also, I'm not telling anyone to panic, but I did light candles to about 20 different medically-related saints (my apartment looks like an old church) so that our boys aren't suffering from serious injuries.

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