It was fitting that the Vancouver Whitecaps shambolic season ended in a game which featured two red cards, two penalty kicks, some dubious refereeing decisions and a finale which found the home team adopting chaos theory as a form of tactical approach.
Carl Robinson may be fond of arguing that “formations don’t matter” but this was taking things to the nth degree.
The game ended with a 2-1 defeat to the Seattle Sounders meaning that Vancouver are finally and officially eliminated from the playoff picture and that their current home record is an astonishingly bad five wins, five losses and six ties.
Five home wins in an MLS season is one way to guarantee a terrible year and the Whitecaps have nothing left to play for in their remaining two games other than the pride that too few of them have shown throughout the season thus far.
The game actually began quite well for Vancouver as a nice piece of play from Alphonso Davies resulted in a penalty kick which Pedro Morales slotted home with ease.
So this would be the perfect opportunity to go ahead and try to finish off a Sounders team who were missing both Dempsey and Lodeiro right?
On the contrary.
The Whitecaps immediately lost all interest in attacking and sat back to allow the visitors to find a foothold in the game, which they did through an Ossie Alonso goal in the thirty-ninth minute.
For the rest of the half the Whitecaps suddenly woke up again but when Jordan Harvey spurned a great chance to restore the lead just before the break the omens weren’t good.
It’s hard to know if their reluctance to press on after taking the lead is down to the players on the field or the instructions off it but, whatever the reason, it’s a flaw that desperately needs to be remedied next season.
The Whitecaps began the second half in their characteristically lethargic style and the game only really came back to life once Pedro Morales was red carded for an “elbow” in the fifty-third minute.
I say “elbow” because it was the kind of challenge that would have been a yellow card (at most) in a CONCACAF game, but the Captain has been around the league long enough to know how MLS refs operate so he probably has less cause to complain than it initially seemed.
Even down to ten men the Whitecaps weren’t that troubled by a prosaic Seattle side but a hard hit cross hit Jordan Harvey on the hand and the subsequent penalty-kick was dispatched to drive the final nail into the Whitecaps playoff coffin.
To be fair to Robinson he did throw all hands on deck at this stage (too little too late?) as he moved to three at the back but by now the game more resembled a pick up game in a local park than it did any kind of professional display.
It’s tempting to say that this was the latest in a long line of disappointing performances from this Vancouver team but the time for disappointments has passed.
We can no longer be disappointed because this is exactly who they are; a group of players who collectively just aren’t good enough for Major League Soccer.
Big changes are needed in the next few months.
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings.
Ousted-6, Smith-6, Edgar-6-, Parker-5, Harvey-5, Laba-6, Morales-5, Bolaños-6, Davies-6*, Hurtado 5, Barnes-4
3 thoughts on “A fitting end to a fitful season for the Whitecaps”
Like using Bolanos — the squad’s best ball-possesion player — as an OFFICIAL game maker for the first time when the season was already over, like not carrying over the good form of Caps CCL team (Aird, Levis, de Jong, Jacobson, Mezquida, Perez, and Kudo), Robbo’s under-utilization of the talents was my general impression of Whitecaps. People cry out for better DP players and criticize the front, but I can’t believe that Caps don’t have enough talents to get to at least 6th place in the conference.
Yeah the unwillingness to reward players for performances in actual games has been one of the stranger aspects of the season.
And if Robbo believed Hurtado would work the best in yesterday’s line-up, where all 3 AMFs can carry the ball and deliver passes to FW feet, I just don’t understand him. What Hurtado is extraordinary is his hip attack ability (and that helped the team when nobody could carry the ball forward in summer). All the other FWs are better in terms of using feet. All in all what killed Whitecaps the most is this kind of Robbo’s strange tactical choices, isn’t it?