Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Whitecaps have struggled against the worst teams in MLS

Whitecaps have struggled against the worst teams in MLS

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The Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, Portland Timbers and Toronto FC are the not-so-proud winners of the four worst records in MLS.

So far this season, the Whitecaps have played five matches against these four teams. And the Caps have two draws and three losses to show for those efforts.

A tie at Philly. Losses at New England and Toronto. And a loss and draw in Portland.

That’s two out of a possible 15 points.

Yes, all of these games were away from BC Place. But as the Whitecaps hold on to fifth in the Western Conference, five points up on FC Dallas, there has to be some thought about the amount of games the Whitecaps have tossed away against the league’s bottom feeders.

You can argue that there were mitigating circumstances — such as the Whitecaps resting many regulars when they were rocked 4-1 by Lee Nguyen and the Revs early on in the season. But, to be a good team, to be considered an elite team, you need to find a way to beat the bad teams, even when your best players aren’t available.

Yes, the Whitecaps are still looking good for their first-ever playoff berth. But, right now, the team sits in fifth place — and that would simply be good enough for a road date in a wild-card game. Had the Whitecaps been able to exploit any of their games against the bottom of the table, and we would be talking about home playoff games at BC Place.

Right now, the Whitecaps are six points behind the Sounders, who sit in second in the West. Six points. That’s what the Whitecaps would have had with just two wins against the bottom four.

But those four bottom teams have been anything but fantastic for the Whitecaps.

Take a look at the history of the Premier League — and you will find that the teams that win championships are the ones who don’t slip up against the bottom clubs. Beating the other title rivals is gravy — but the measure of a champion is taking out the minnows.

Last season was prime example: You could argue that Man City’s two wins over United were the difference. But Man City also had losses to Arsenal and Chelsea, two of the other big dogs of the EPL. But Man City did not lose to a team that eventually would be relegated. Manchester United had a painful loss to Blackburn — and, when goal difference is what decided the title, that slip up was arguably THE moment that decided the season.

North American sports are different. We don’t crown a champion based on regular-season alone. So, 10 teams will eventually have a chance to enter the tournament for the MLS Cup. But the Whitecaps have seen their position erode. And they wouldn’t be here had they taken care of business against the bottom of the table.

 

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