There’s an old joke about a hapless tourist driving around the British countryside desperately trying to find his destination.
The poor sap finally spots a local standing by the side of the road, pulls his car to a halt, winds down the window and asks for directions.
The local thinks about this request for several moments “Well” he finally sighs “you definitely don’t want to be starting from here”.
Maybe it was always in Carl Robinson’s mind to add to his Whitecaps squad as soon as the summer transfer window rolled around, but what certainly wasn’t in his mind is that the additions would mostly be because so much had already been subtracted.
It’s not just the absence of Octavio Rivero needing to be filled but also the absence of defensive solidity and maybe even midfield sturdiness.
Hence the arrival of David Edgar and (at the time of writing) the imminent arrival of Marcel De Jong.
It can’t have been often in the history of football that the answer to the problems of any team was to sign more Canadian players but Robinson has to hope that this is indeed one of those rare occasions.
It’s certainly not easy to pinpoint exactly what has made the Whitecaps misfire so often this year but something about the culture within the locker room seems to be as good a guess as any.
And that doesn’t have to mean insurrection or disdain; just a pervading air of dissonance on too many occasions for coincidence to be the cause.
There’s also a pretty good argument to be made that every team needs a core of players who hail from the country that hosts the League and while there’s probably also a pretty good argument to be made against that theory Edgar and De Jong should at least provide a sense of stability that can never be there when so many players are being judged on their potential for a move.
They won’t solve the attacking issues of course and with Manneh injured and Kudo returning from that horrific injury it may well have to be set-pieces and the occasional midfielder who supply the goals.
That’s not a long term recipe for success but anything the Whitecaps do now has to somehow span the divide between being sensible in the long term and effective in the here and now.
That’s a hell of a circle to square and if it can’t be done the club may well be better served in simply shoring up the defence and hoping that is enough to squeeze them into the post-season.
That’s not a great rallying cry for the remainder of the season but neither is signing somebody simply for the sake of being seen to do something.
So I guess my advice to the Whitecaps boils down to “only sign a player if he’s going to be really good”.