Vancouver Whitecaps play a game of soccer in San Jose

There are two ways of looking at the Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 tie with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon.

It was either a meaningless end of season game which meant nothing to either team and so drifted predictably into nothingness or, alternatively, it was a fascinating insight into the mind of Carl Robinson has he prepares for 2017.

If you think the former then stop reading now (and that is the course of action I strongly recommend) but if you think the latter then please follow me deep into the the rabbit hole of speculation and supposition.

What was with that starting eleven for example?

No place for any of the late season “playoff push” signings of Edgar, de Jong and Barnes was surely an indication that that particular experiment had failed.

And the decision to play Nicolas Mezquida in the wide left role was one that we can clearly class as “brave” given that Mezquida almost certainly can’t play that position and that he definitely certainly didn’t want to play that position on the day given how often he drifted infield.

And are we back to 4-4-2 as an option again or was that just a way of ensuring that Erik Hurtado can’t be removed from the eleven no matter what the circumstance?

It was nice to see Paolo Tornaghi get a start (and a clean sheet) but how nice was that for David Ousted? This may have been a meaningless game but it was still a competitive game and the Dane is nothing if not a competitor.

And why, all of a sudden, is Fraser Aird back at right back ahead of Jordan Smith? There have been multiple occasions when this change would have made more sense than right now.

And Marco Bustos coming on as a substitute after playing for WFC2 the day before?

Yet none of this does signify anything of course because the Whitecaps season is beyond significance and maybe Robinson was taking this opportunity to throw out a few favours to a few players knowing that such an approach wouldn’t be tolerated in the final game against Portland.

That makes some sense I guess.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.

Tornaghi-6, Aird-6, Waston-6, Parker-6*, Harvey-6, Laba-6, Jacobson-6, Techera-6, Mezquida-5, Kudo-5, Hurtado-5

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