We can probably all agree that the Nick Cave song “There She Goes My Beautiful World” is a song about song writing.
Or, at the very least, we can agree that it’s a song about searching for the inspiration to write a song even though we may disagree about who or what the object of the song actually is.
There are those who would argue that it’s a straight forward love song with the minor twist that his love is founded on the fact the woman is the inspiration for his writing.
Then there are those who would say that the “she” in the song is actually the song itself and that what Cave is really in love with is the act of creativity (much of the lyrics are taken up with describing the circumstance in which other writers created their craft).
There’s no right answer of course although the latter interpretation is more satisfyingly pretentious (which kind of suits Cave’s music in a way).
But how on earth does this relate to Pedro Morales?
Well there are certainly times when he feels like the only “interesting” Whitecap to write about from a tactical point of view if only because what you see isn’t always what you get and what you get isn’t always what you see.
Take the recent road game in LA for example.
If asked after their game how involved Morales was then I would almost certainly have gone with “barely”, “marginally” or “sporadically” depending on my linguistic mood at the time.
Yet when I look at the actual stats it turns out that no Whitecaps player played more passes than Morales throughout the game (and it`s not even particularly close as to who comes second).
Now I could certainly argue that many of those passes were ineffectual and lacking incisiveness in the final third, but the superficial notion that Morales was barely, marginally or sporadically involved was clearly wrong.
But that does make me hark back to something Jason de Vos (former TSN analyst and now Director of Development of Canada Soccer) said last season.
Namely that the Whitecaps were too reliant on their Captain to the extent that almost everything went through him and that made them both easier to defend against (because they were too predictable) and effectively nullified Morales’ greatest strength which is his ability to hit the first time unexpected pass.
After watching him for almost three seasons it’s fair to say that Morales is one of those players who looks better the better the players around him are (he only really “clicked” with Kenny Miller among all the forwards he’s played with in Vancouver) and while few would describe the Scot as “world class” he did at least make the kind of runs Morales could predict and pick out.
Who is to blame for his failure with the other forwards is a moot point because in MLS the Designated Player has to be able to make an average team good rather than a good team better and Morales just hasn’t done that in the last two seasons.
Yet even though the indications are that Morales will be leaving at the end of this year I doubt that Carl Robinson will be leaving him out of the starting eleven for the remainder of the campaign.
Instead the coach will be hoping that Morales (like Nick Cave) finds that spark of creativity almost from out of the ether but it’s worth bearing in mind that, in the middle of all his pleas to the spirits of writer’s past and muses present, Cave throws in the lines
“If you’ve got a field, that don’t yield, well get up and hoe it
I look at you and you look at me and deep in our hearts know it
That you weren’t much of a muse, but then I weren’t much of a poet”
Finding that indefinable spark isn’t just about waiting for the magic to happen; it’s also about the perspiration over the inspiration and while I think Morales gets a rough ride for the amount of work he puts in (it may not always be effective from a defensive point of view but it is always there) it may be that Robinson just can’t get the best out of him while operating within the limits of the league.
Maybe no coach in MLS could?