Lack of finish hurts the Whitecaps

The Whitecaps have run into serious scoring problems as of late disappointing fans.

It’s become a broken record for all those who follow the Vancouver Whitecaps: they can’t score. Until Wednesday’s game, they were held off the score sheet since August 16 — just under a month. It was so bad, it was cringe inducing.

The one silver lining in all of this is that they aren’t out of the playoff race just yet; as a matter of fact they’re actually two points up on the Portland Timbers (as of Wednesday, September 10). But they have to start making up ground, and fast. Scoreless draws like the one we were treated to against the DC United on Saturday, September 6 will not help them.

It’s not as if the Whitecaps have no idea what to do once they get the ball. They’ve been creating quality chances, just not converting.

A perfect example of what has been ailing the Whitecaps came in the 11th minute against the United. Mauro Rosales started a beautiful counter-attack after some DC United pressure, which led to Darren Mattocks having a wide open net from six yards out, but he ballooned the ball over the net.

Kendall Watson had another glorious chance in the 31st from a set piece — a header from six yards out — but put it wide. Mattocks had yet another chance near the end of the first half, getting sent in nearly all alone after being kept onside by centerback Steve Birnbaum.

That’s three glorious chances in the first half alone. If even one of them goes in, the ‘Caps get the three points and are in solid playoff position.

One idea for the ‘Caps going forward would be to create more shots on goal, especially on target. They had a decent total in the United game, with 15 shots directed at the goal, but of those 15, only three were credited with hitting the target. More shots on target will mean more rebounds, which the ‘Caps could try to turn into goals.

However, no new help is expected for the stretch run. President Bob Lenarduzzi stated that he’s not willing to sacrifice the team’s future to bring in an established veteran, so scoring will have to come from within.

Despite all of this, manager Carl Robinson is still preaching patience with his squad. “Just got to keep doing what we’re continuing to do,” he said at the post match press conference on Saturday. “Hopefully we’ll get a break or we’ll take a number of chances we’ve missed tonight.”

Luckily, the fate of the Whitecaps post season aspirations is still in his players’ feet. For all of us who support the ‘Caps, we surely hope that this goalless streak had more to do with luck rather than a worrying trend for the near future, and that Wednesday was a sign of things to come.