“The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.”
There have been times this season when it really has felt as though we were through the looking glass when it came to Carl Robinson’s team selections but Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids was probably the peak of Mad Hatterism.
Yes, yes I get that the heat and the travel and the altitude play havoc with the players but we watch football games not weather reports, arrival boards and barometers and anyway there’s a world of difference between losing games and losing them the way the Whitecaps have lost in both Dallas and Colorado.
Barely a shot in anger in either game (or the previous one in Houston to be fair) is hardly the stuff to inspire much hope in fans but, instead of pouring over the minutiae of a dreadful night in Denver, let’s just sit down and think of a number of impossible things that should never ever be tried again.
Pedro Morales as a number ten- By the twentieth minute Morales was already dropping deep to get the ball and so leaving Giles Barnes isolated up front. Maybe this was a poignant tribute to the Rivero era but it’s unclear what Robinson has disliked about the pairing of Kudo and Mezquida in attack.
Even without those two it must surely have been obvious that having a number ten who closed down the opposition defence and stayed in touch with the centre forward was preferable to one who does neither of those things.
In a recent interview the coach said that there were “no stars in his team” but it sure feels as though Morales is being accommodated no matter how he performs whereas others are shunted in and out of the team no matter how well they do
New players should fit into the team not the other way around- I doubt anybody thinks that the signings of Edgar and Barnes are anything but good things, but the decision to throw them both into the deep end against one of the toughest teams to play on the road seemed overly optimistic of their attributes.
Even stranger given that playing Barnes meant that the whole forward line was revamped and even more strange given that playing Edgar completely rearranged an already uncertain backline.
And I refer you to the “no stars in the team” remark to try to explain why Kendall Waston stayed in his regular position whereas Tim Parker (who has been the better central defender this season) got shunted to the right back role where he struggled all evening.
Was it really an surprise to see that back four constantly confused about who should be where and when and why? (That’s a rhetorical question by the way).
If it’s not working make a change- Seriously.
The Whitecaps never once looked like scoring throughout the whole of the first half so why give the same lineup and the same tactics fifteen minutes to make thing better in the second? (Another rhetorical question).
It was somewhat ironic to see the Rapids score within seconds of the obligatory sixtieth minute substitution but, once again, fifteen minutes had been wasted hoping that the thing that didn’t work for forty five minutes suddenly would.
Two defensive midfielders- Just move on from it. It’s clearly not helping the defence and the inclusion of both Laba and Jacobson means that at least three or four other players have to be shifted to their les optimal positions.
Other than that things went quite well and I’m sure the Whitecaps can put themselves back together (Humpty Dumpty style) in time for the tough looking run in to the end of the season.
Time then for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings (sigh).
Ousted-5, Parker-4, Edgar-4, Waston-4, De Jong-4, Laba-5 Jacobson-5*, Bolaños-4, Morales-4, Techera-4, Barnes-4 (Mezquida-5, Davies-5)