Is this a Winter of Discontent for fans of the Whitecaps?
More like a winter holding their heads in their hands and hoping the world would go away I suspect but sooner or later we all have to dive into the freezing cold pool of reality whether we have lanolin covering our bodies or not.
So let’s at least dip our toes into the icy pool of these two subjects.
What does the MLS Cup Final mean?- Well apart from it meaning hell on earth for the Whitecaps that is.
Is two of the higher spending clubs making it to the final indicative of a sea change for MLS as a whole or is it a single event signifying nothing?
Nothing of any import can ever be gleaned from one isolated incident of course but this does at least feel different in a large part because of the influence of two players.
Neither Giovinco nor Lodeiro have the name power to get MLS apostates buying tickets or changing channels but they do have the ability to win games for their respective teams and the initial moves by expansion team Atlanta United indicate that they too are spending money on “difference makers” rather than marquee names.
If Toronto have learned anything from this season (and it’s Toronto so it’s entirely possible that they won’t) it’s that the best way to insert a team into the wider consciousness of the public is to win games on the field.
If enough other teams around the league learn the same lesson then the arms race of spending may switch into something far more ruthless than mere marketing ploys.
And their rivals suddenly start to acquire players with a proven record in proven leagues then hoping to unearth hidden gems from the coal dust of lesser competitions will prove to be more and more risky for the Whitecaps.
Hurtado stays while others leaves- Official farewells have now been given to Morales, Perez, Aird, Smith and Carducci and enough has been said about all of them with perhaps the exception of Marco Carducci.
A talented goalkeeper who never really looked ready for the step up to MLS and one who fell behind in the pecking order to the more accomplished looking Spencer Richey but Carducci could well find a role in the up and coming Canadian Premier League.
The signing of Hurtado won’t get any pulses racing but he is what he is; a useful MLS depth player.
His failings last season were as much about the failings of others as they were his own. Kudo struggled, Perez couldn’t (or wasn’t allowed to) play on a regular basis and Rivero was away before summer ever really set in.
It may be harsh to say that asking Hurtado to lead the line on a regular basis is setting him up to fail but it is certainly asking more of him than he is capable of and there comes a time when a coach’s willingness to believe in a player slips over into bad man management.
I think that’s where we were with Hurtado last season but hopefully 2017 sees him playing the role to which he is best suited; a late impact substitute and a starter in a few of those games against Eastern Conference teams where the main striker(s) need(s) a rest.
For now though let’s forget all that and just try to get through this Final safe in the knowledge that the 2017 schedule, the signings and some actual games of football aren’t all that too far behind.