Tigres v Whitecaps: What did we learn?

Well, apart from the obvious fact that a team with higher paid and better quality players will always outplay a team with lower paid and lesser quality players that is.

Fredy Montero won’t create chances on his own- Let’s not say that Carl Robinson didn’t want to sign Montero but let’s at least accept that the striker sort of turned up on his doorstep after being dropped there by Mauro Rosales.

The Whitecaps weren’t in a position to turn down a proven MLS goal scorer but it will be interesting to see how Montero fits into Robinson’s view of how a striker should be utilized.

 
In that world the forward tends to be a combination of a man isolated on an island away from the rest of the team while simultaneously being set up to comically fail due to no fault of his own.

A kind of Robinson Clouseau.

Erik Hurtado makes the most of the role because he runs around a lot and Nicolas Mezquida showed against Tigres that he can carve out a chance through his harrying of defenders but Montero already looks like the kind of striker who feeds on other people’s scraps.

Being paired with Mezquida up front feels like it would be the right move but Robinson’s aversion to the Uruguayan probably means we’ll see a platoon of  Brek Shea as the target man he isn’t and Hurtado as the hard worker with limitations he is before we see that.

Kekuta Manneh drops down the depth chart-  There was a time when the last thirty minutes of the Tigres game would have seen the automatic introduction of Manneh.

Unleashing his speed against a team that were pressing for a goal was virtually Robinson’s “go to” move when it came to substitutions.

But a mixture of indifferent form and unwillingness to put in a defensive effort meant the coach couldn’t trust the former rising star in such an important game.

It’s ironic that the man he did trust, Cristian Techera, also failed to track back for the crucial second goal but either Manneh treats his lack of deployment as a wake up call for the season or he should be used as trade bait before his stock falls any further.

Parker ahead of Waston in the defending stakes- Nobody should underestimate just how difficult it was for the Whitecaps defence on Tuesday evening.

A team that is used to facing one or two dangerous players was suddenly facing a plethora and while Ousted was excellent and Harvey admirably steady it was Tim Parker who stood out for his ability to only go to ground when absolutely necessary.

The modern defender needs to be as much a shepherd as he is an enforcer and Parker demonstrated the necessary patience for such a role.

Kendall Waston was mostly excellent too but he’s developing an unnerving ability to throw in at least one disastrous mistake per game.

That probably comes from a desire to be a “leader”  on the field but more often than not the end result is that he tries too hard to intercede in situations where intercession is best left to somebody else and that tends to leave a gaps where no gap should be.

Isolated incidents to be sure but ones that add up to a less than stellar body of work.

He can’t be blamed for deflecting the ball into his own net against Tigres but he can be blamed for what went before and what went before was two failed attempts at a hasty clearance.

Suddenly he’s rushing back to make amends and the rest is history.

All in all though the game offered more positives than negatives for Vancouver and the trick for Carl Robinson now will be to somehow configure his team so that it can regularly threaten the opposition goal.

That would be nice.

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