Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vancouver Whitecaps 1, Manchester City 2: Andy's Corner

Periodic Analysis & Opinion from Andrew, Supporter's Club Social Secretary:

An impressive come-from-behind win punctuated City's victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Monday.


While the San Francisco match against Club America was a study in patience, in a very Mancini-esque sort of way, this Vancouver game was somewhat of a free-flowing spectacle despite its shockingly patchy pitch. Vancouver, despite being statistically the worst team in the MLS, took the game to us in the attack, presenting something of a double-edged sword for City: on one hand, it lead Vancouver to take on an early lead off of a floaty strike bouncing off of City's new Montenegrian defensive signing, Stefan Savić, while on the other, it displayed our considerable defensive resilience and depth. Savić himself was otherwise steady and clearheaded in the back, never too fast or too slow. The other new signing, Gaël Clichy, was fairly acceptable as well, delivering several well-placed crosses and long balls to Shaun Wright-Phillips and others. Kompany was class as usual, as was Lescott, who continues to impress with his aerial skill, and thoughtful acuity when it comes to an active opposing attack.


The midfield was a bit disjointed, with Nigel de Jong and Yaya Touré being their usual brilliant selves before Yaya went down with a nasty ankle injury. Milner was also his usual self: one minute a solid stud in the midfield, moving much quicker than one would expect, the next minute lazily passing away a ball to the defence. A year later, the jury's still out on him, but I'd say he looks better in central midfield. Barry was similarly on and off, alternating between good, quick passes and carelessly handing possession to the Whitecaps. Personally, I think he is regularly "meh", but at times a solid midfielder for mid-table matchups. 


Our attack was arguably our strongest suit - Vladimir Weiss, Slovakian national coming off loan from Rangers, is looking all parts of great - fast, unselfish, and ballsy in the final third. Johnson is still finding his footing since an injury prone 2010-11 season, but I see a big year for him he stays healthy. Shaun Wright-Phillips, far and away the man of both matches, delivered an absolutely firecracker of a goal, besting his strike against Club America in San Francisco. Fresh off of a renewed contract, SWP looks like he is out for a first team spot, delivering two world-class deathblows in the first two pre-season games. 

-Dzeko looked hungry and creative, but not very stable. An embarrassing miss of a goal here, an ugly strike there = he still looks a bit lost, despite him being one of my favorite recent signings, as far as temperment and loyalty go.
-Balotelli looked like he'd rather be receiving an enema than be on that pitch, but given the complaints and the obvious destruction of the grass, perhaps understandable? He kept his cool enough during a late skirmish to have the opposing player receive as card, not hin, so that's good. Also had a great crack of a shot, but it was well defended. 
-Mancini's son looked decent.
-Swedish player John Guidetti scored the first goal, a well placed header, glad to see even more depth with us. In fact, I'd go so far as to say he had a good game, despite missing a chance at goal after a counter. 
-McGivern and Kolarov were solid yet again

In general, I was happy with our perforamnce. Under the conditions of playing on our worst pitch since our 0-0 Notts County away tie from the successful FA Cup run, we managed to keep a cool head, play like a team, and come from behind with a win. I predict a very exciting match against the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday. 

Cheers and Live Forever,