It’s been a rough few days for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Losing the Voyageurs Cup in such heartbreaking fashion and then following that with a 2-0 MLS loss to the LA Galaxy on Monday evening.
The game began with an air of mystery surrounding the absence from the eighteen of Kekuta Manneh (the official reason given was “coach’s decision”) which means that either the youngster was absent because Carl Robinson wanted to send a very specific message or he’s become involved in the same kind of transfer imbroglio that has kept Octavio Rivero out of the picture in recent weeks.
Time will tell I guess.
Yet the Manneh no show wasn’t the only mystery of the evening so, as the fireworks and confetti slowly dissipate from the hallowed grounds of the StubHub Center, come with me as we delve deep into the riddles and enigmas of this particular Independence Day (actually don’t come with me, you can just stay right where you are and just read the rest of it).
The Mysterious Case Of Blas Pérez – With Rivero and Manneh unavailable it’s an unassailable fact that Blas Pérez is the best striker the Whitecaps have, yet time and time again Erik Hurtado gets the nod for the starting eleven.
I get there’s an argument that his power and pace can unsettle a team but his inability to finish probably settles them right back down again. Pérez for sixty minutes and Hurtado for the last thirty just seems a much more effective way of using each player.
And the fact that Pérez almost immediately goaded Nigel De Jong into a horrendous red card challenge makes one wonder how he would have fared against a relatively inexperienced backline from the get go.
Pérez was played as a starter for Panama in the recent Copa America and if it’s good enough for them….
The Strange Case of the Jekyll and Hyde Team- It really is quite amazing how many times the Whitecaps play a second half that is so very different from the first. Occasionally they get noticeably better but more often than not they take two steps back.
That was certainly the case in LA where they reverted from a team that was constantly creating chances in the first forty-five minutes to one that was huffing and puffing more in hope thaN expectation in the second.
Sure the second LA goal didn’t help but it’s hard to know how eleven players can change so much in so short a time. Tactical adjustments from the opposition maybe?
The Bizarre Curse of Kendall Waston- I’m not sure how many mirrors Waston broke in the offseason but he can’t catch a break this season to save his life.
He probably should have closed down Robbie Keane for the opening goal, attacking corners rained down on to his head like (well, rain I suppose) yet he couldn’t get near to one in any meaningful way and to top it all of he produced a “trademark” sliding tackle in the final minute which escaped punishment on the day but may well get the DisCo mirror ball spinning this week (maybe he actually broke a DisCo mirror ball?).
He can’t seem to do right for doing wrong.
The Astounding Case of the Vanishing MLS Security- Major League Soccer has been very big on stadium security this season with the list of what is and isn’t allowed into grounds approaching Draconian levels and yet in LA at least two fans were allowed to run onto the field and approach players.
Now that’s a genuine security risk.
Oh well, time for the less than mysterious Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Ousted- 6, Smith-5, Waston-5, Parker-6, Harvey-6, Laba-6, Jacobson-7*, Bolaños-6, Morales-5, Mezquida-6, Hurtado-5 (Pérez-5)