Well, well, well.
The four game road trip that many of us thought could be the breaking of the Vancouver Whitecaps season may well turn out to be the making of it.
For the third straight game Carl Robinson trotted out the same starting eleven and the same formation and although the performance wasn’t up to the level of the win in Montreal (or even the defeat in Portland) it was still good enough to beat a very poor Colorado Rapids team by a late Brek Shea goal to nil.
Once again it was heartening to see Robinson introduce attacking substitutions into a veritable stalemate of a game and (from a purely subjective perspective) the more often that change works then the better it is for those of us who watch the team week in and week out.
And it worked particularly well this time around with Nicolas Mezquida setting up the well taken Shea goal with a good crossfield pass.
On the night the standout performers were probably Williams, Waston and Parker with additional nods to Laba and Techera, but we still haven’t seen a great deal from Tony Tchani.
It could be that Tchani is a victim of NPCBS (New Player Confirmation Bias Syndrome) in which the initial impressions of a player become magnified over the first few games with the result that every time that initial impression is confirmed it becomes embedded deeper into the spectator’s subconscious (I recommend reading Dr. Marta Johansson’s ground breaking paper on NPCBS “ArsenalFanTV and the Robert Pires Problem- A Thought Experiment” for a genuinely fascinating insight into the phenomenon) but I’m not sure that’s the case with Tchani.
There was though at least one brief spell in the second half where he acted as a kind of midfield wall for the rest of the team to play off that perhaps offered a foreshadowing of his future value to the team but “foreshadowing” isn’t yet a recognized and measurable statistic and it will be interesting to see how the coach fits Tchani into the eleven as other players return to fitness.
What else is there to say?
This was exactly the kind of game the Whitecaps were losing last season and although that change of outcome is as much down to the vagaries of chance as it is to the variation of tactics they already have six points in the bank from a series of games where four would have been perfectly satisfactory.
Building on those points at home is the next big task but first it’s on to Houston and lots of analysis based around the word “problem”.
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings!
Ousted-6.5, Williams-7*, Waston-7, Parker-7, Harvey-6.5, Laba-7, Techera-6.5, Tchani-5.5, Bolaños-6, Jacobson-6, Montero-6