See now, there's a reason not to bunker... - Victor Decolongon
Waking the Red's western correspondent declares Vancouver's playoff appearance is not what it's hyped up to be, and also not an example for TFC to follow.
I admit it, as a Calgarian, I do like Vancouver -- as a city. It's got wonderful culture, and the food is impeccable.
But what I'm not getting is the love they're getting from all the media types over a one-and-out playoff "appearance". That showing on Thursday night was a cameo at best, and an embarrassing one at that. And when I see leading soccer writers do that, it just confuses me even more.
Scoring an early goal, and then parking the bus and inviting pressure -- it's a tactic that we TFC supporters know all too well, and we know what the result of that usually is: they lose. So why are writers that have lambasting the Reds repeatedly for consistently parking the bus and other negative tactics, go ahead and turn around to applaud Vancouver's similar tactics? Just because they're in this magical fantasy land that is the MLS Cup playoffs, where everything is perfect?
I'm sure Vancouver supporters are just waiting with the standard "we've played 90 more minutes of playoff soccer than you" comeback -- but surely you can't overlook the fact that the Whitecaps qualified despite earning 13 points out of a possible 48 from 16 MLS games after their "Scottish makeover", and that the final game was a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake, hardly a result to put the Galaxy into any sort of tizzy.
And then there is the game itself: from kickoff to final whistle, the Caps were on the back foot, their weaknesses ruthlessly exposed. Darren Mattocks' opening goal was from against the run of play, but that was only a rare show of offense. The two LA goals that ultimately sank them came from unrelenting pressure of a skilled side that was willing to attack, and not content themselves with protecting a lead.
Time and time again, TFC has offered textbook examples of why NOT to bunker (that game at the Home Depot Centre on March 14th is an obvious one) -- but for reasons that I can't comprehend, Martin Rennie chose that exact option. Was it Rennie's mea culpa that his team was not up to snuff, or did he really that naive to believe that bunkering against a lineup that includes David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane was a good idea?
I would gladly applaud a Canadian team (regardless if it's Vancouver, TFC or Montreal) enter the playoffs in a blaze of glory, conquering all in front of them, rather than backing the bus into the parking spot, and when faced with adversity, remove the tires. If you really wanted to impress me and inspire a new generation of De Rosarios and De Voses, that certainly wasn't the way to do it -- and there is no level of media spin that will make it any differently.
Vancouver has just missed a great opportunity to finally score a filip for themselves and for Canada. But the faster everyone realizes that this was nothing but another brutal disappointment, the better Canadian soccer will be.