There are some games of football that can be broken down into tactical match ups or can easily be seen to have turned on a specific incident or two.
Then there are those that seem only to exist to confirm the fact that we live in a meaningless universe devoid of meaning and/or coherence.
The Vancouver Whitecaps 3-3 tie with the Colorado Rapids at BC Place on Saturday slotted firmly into the latter category.
In (yet another) must win game the Whitecaps were (yet again) listless and unimaginative in the first half and (yet again) conceded a goal in which at least three players probably had some kind of culpability and (yet again) Carl Robinson decided to give all eleven of those listless and unimaginative players another fifteen or twenty minutes to put things right.
This time around though that philosophy actually worked as Kendall Waston headed home a Bolaños corner in the fifty-first minute and suddenly it was game on again.
Except it wasn’t because less than five minutes later a simple ball over the top of the Whitecaps defence induced Waston into bringing down Badji and Gashi slotted home the resulting penalty kick.
Then just when it felt as though the whole stadium was drifting into a pleasant autumnal slumber Pedro Morales cropped up in the opposition penalty area and scored a goal from open play and suddenly it was game on again.
Except it wasn’t because less than five minutes later Gashi slammed home a great free-kick for the Rapids and that was that.
Except it wasn’t because with the last meaningful touch of the game Erik Hurtado headed home a Jordan Harvey cross and we were level once again.
Never was a last minute equalizer greeted with such a mixture of consternation, celebration and confusion. Mainly because it was all too little too late to save the season.
If this game does anything then hopefully it will finally put to rest any lingering ideas that this Whitecaps squad has any kind of genuine fight or character in them.
It’s remarkably easy to show fight and character when you are down to ten men with your backs against the wall.
There’s noting to lose and nobody will blame you if you fail.
Teams with actual fight and teams with actual character display those virtues from the first whistle and take games like this one by the scruff of the neck and wrestle them to the ground until they are begging for mercy.
The current Whitecaps squad wouldn’t know the scruff of the neck of a game if it came up to them in the street and slapped them in the face with a wet fish (although to be fair such an occurrence would be both terrifying and symptomatic of some kind of psychotic and hallucinatory episode so we should probably give them a pass on that particular scenario).
Should we mention the substitutions?
Parker for Smith and Jacobson for Bolaños felt odd in a game that the team simply had to win but then again they worked in that the Whitecaps did get back into the game.
Leaving Mezquida on the bench until the eighty-fourth minute felt equally odd when he provides energy, work rate and the possibility of creating a goal scoring threat but, as we posited at the start, this wasn’t a game that made much sense at all anyway.
All the Whitecaps have to play for now in MLS is the Cascadia Cup and three games against teams who are battling for playoff spots which at least gives the opportunity to enjoy an element of schadenfreude (insert joke about Schadenfreude being a decent box to box midfielder here).
Time then for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Ousted-5, Smith-5, Edgar-5, Waston-4, Harvey-5, Morales-6, Laba-6, Bolaños-6, Davies-6, Barnes-6*, Hurtado-5