Here we are, seven games into the Vancouver Whitecaps season, and the Canadian side has yet to score a goal from open play. All four of their goals have been scored from the penalty spot by their catalyst, Pedro Morales, who is now out injured. It is a bit of a problematic situation, to say the least.
So, let’s play the blame game. Why can’t Vancouver score?
The answer is actually pretty simple – because they won’t shoot. The Whitecaps average only ten shots per game. That could come down to a lot of things – from the lack of chances they create to the lack of shot-takers they actually have, but the end result is the same – they can’t score.
The Whitecaps have experimented with a couple formations this year and just as many different combinations of strikers. Masato Kudo, the big signing for the Whitecaps, has to be the most disappointing of all thus far into the year. Kudo is only firing 0.4 shots per game. That’s right, one of the Whitecaps go-to strikers does not even take a shot per game, not even every two games.
In fact, he was producing so little, that the Whitecaps shoehorned Nicolas Mezquida, a midfielder, into the striker role in their last match. Mezquida outdid Kudo by firing one shot the entire match.
The only two people that appear willing to take shots are the injured Pedro Morales and the true-forward Octavio Rivero. Rivero actually averages 2.8 shots per appearance, but he has yet to score as well, although he has been shown a nice collection of yellow cards.
Vancouver is a counter-attacking team, they do not control possession (worst in MLS, in fact). But they have been unable to strike on the counter attack either, despite their best efforts.
Pedro Morales was undoubtedly the catalyst of this team, but his injury should not have rendered the entire club incapable of scoring a goal.
The Whitecaps have two potential options to fix this conundrum. The first is to start Erik Hurtado, who averages six shots per 90 minutes played (he doesn’t play much).
The second is to get Cristian Techera more involved. Stateside of Soccer covered his contributions earlier this month and for good cause. Techera has one of the best work rates on the team, he creates chances, takes shots, and can be a key piece of reviving this offense, if only they will let him.
Vancouver is quickly becoming the second most disappointing team in MLS this season. But they don’t need to be. Feed Rivero, get Techera going and bide the time until Morales returns. The season is still young.