Whitecaps fail when the chips are down

Perhaps the worst thing to happen to Carl Robinson at the start of his career as head coach was that so many of his early signings produced positive results on the field.

Morales, Beitashour, Laba, Mezquida, Waston and even Sebastián Fernández provided valuable contributions to Robinson’s first season in charge and created the sense that the Whitecaps had a coach who could pick up quality Designated Players from the lower end of the salary cap spectrum along with bargain buys from Central and South America.

But as the seasons have progressed that has proved to be less and less the case as the likes Rivero, Rodriguez, Smith and Flores have all turned out to be busted flushes when it comes to MLS play.

And the decisions to sign Smith and Flores after both of them struggled for the previous season felt a little like watching a Blackjack player who once got lucky by hitting a two when he already had nineteen in his hand try to recreate that moment with more and more desperation.

Recent signings have indicated a move away from the philosophy that all problems can be solved by a Uruguayan but they are too little too late for this season (and may well be too little for next as well) and when every new player is designed to fix a problem rather than improve the team then glory is most certainly not on the horizon.

Perhaps the best thing to happen to Carl Robinson at this stage of his career as a head coach (and I’m talking long term here) is how much of a disaster this season has been.

If we had to define his core philosophy it would probably be that a happy team is a good team; if a coach stands up for the players then the players will stand up for the coach.

Well that isn’t happening this season as time after time the Whitecaps fade out of games once they fall behind or fail to kill off a team once they get the lead (it is possible for the Whitecaps to take the lead, I’ve checked the record books).

Now there are those who will say, who do say, that these failings are caused because the players don’t care enough about the team or the shirt or the crest, but it seems to be less about caring and more about the lack of concern any of them really have with regard to their position at the club or in the team.

Even the decision to drop Matias Laba for the game in Kansas was signaled so far ahead of time that it can’t really have shaken the player up all that much.

But sooner or later Robinson is surely going to realise (going to have to realise) that some players play well when they are happy and some players play well when they are scared and there just isn’t a one size fits all to getting the best out of a team.

If that message sinks home then the off season should at least be interesting as both he and the Front Office need to come up with a new vision as to what this team actually wants to be.

Anyway all this rambling is to avoid mentioning the 2-0 defeat in Kansas on Saturday evening where the Whitecaps didn’t play that badly but never really looked like scoring and always looked capable of conceding.

That’s how far the bar has fallen this season. A performance like that counts as “not bad”.

Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings.

Ousted-6*, Aird-5, Waston, 5, Edgar-5, de Jong-5, Jacobson-5, Morales-4, Mezquida-4, Bolaños-5, Barnes-6, Perez-4

 

 

 

 

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