Well we all needed that!
The long dark midnight of the soul that has haunted the Whitecaps in recent weeks was split asunder by three blinding shafts of light in the form of two goals from Christian Techera and one from Erik Hurtado as Vancouver took full control of their CCL group by beating Sporting Kansas City 3-0 at BC Place.
Maybe that’s a smidgeon of dramatic overkill but it’s been weeks (months?) since the Whitecaps played with this much verve and purpose in any competition.
Carl Robinson rang the changes, most notably by switching to a 4-4-2 with Kudo and Hurtado up front and while the Japanese striker was lively it was Hurtado who stole the show with his breakaway goal and a scintillating display of the full range of his tricks and flicks throughout the game (Wait? What did I just write?).
It’s genuinely hard to find anybody who played badly but special mentions go to Techera who looked more like his lively goal scoring self again, Brett Levis who displayed a remarkable degree of comfort on the ball in his first game since signing an MLS contract and Jordan Smith who spent half the evening breaking up attacks with his sliding challenges and the other half causing havoc with his rampaging runs down the wing (Wait? What did I just write?).
Shout out too to Matias Laba who responded to being left out of the MLS squad with arguably his best performance of the season.
From the first minute it was clear that Laba was up for this game and this was a timely reminder of not just how useful his defensive qualities are but also how valuable his interceptions can be in launching the Whitecaps on the counterattack.
And let’s not forget Carl Robinson who has certainly been under scrutiny of late but responded by getting the best out of the eleven players he fielded and his biggest headache now is just who he selects for the upcoming game in LA.
He’s certainly indicated that if players put in a performance then he will reward them and on this showing the whole back four, Laba, Techera and Hurtado (at the very least) deserve to start.
That probably won’t happen but at least this game should be a reminder to a few senior players that taking a game by the scruff of the neck and all working together is a better recipe for success than whatever it is they have been trying of late.
Those speculations are for another day though because, for now, let’s just enjoy a Whitecaps performance that was not only fun to watch but also looked like fun to play in.
It’s something to build on at least.
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings
Tornaghi-7, Smith-8, Levis-8, Parker-7, Waston-7, Laba-8*, Teibert-7, Techera-8, Aird-7, Kudo-7, Hurtado-8