So I was beginning to develop an embryo of a theory which vaguely posited the assertion that Major League Soccer had evolved from one form of creature to another.
Maybe it wasn’t quite a fully fledged invertebrate yet but it had at least emerged coughing and spluttering on to the beach and was definitely beginning to think about using those newly acquired lungs that the persistent sales-octopus had sworn were bound to be the next big thing.
In other words, MLS was developing a very definite hierarchy with a handful of teams pulling away from the rest and the rest being separated into the “mostly looking up the table” or “mostly looking down the table” categories.
Unfortunately actual results have tended to thwart this particular theory and though we can perhaps class Toronto, Dallas and maybe New York City, Kansas and Portland/Orlando as comfortably belonging in the upper echelons the rest of the pack are still fighting for their places in the standings like coked up ferrets in a sack full of white hot rivets
So what was interesting about the Whitecaps win in Colorado was that it was Vancouver who were able to introduce difference makers from the bench with Mezquida and Shea linking up for the winner in addition to the inevitable Alphonso Davies hype fest (HypeFest is like FyreFest but with better catering).
And now that the Whitecaps have announced the signing of Bernie Ibini from the Australian A-League that ability to change the game late on has increased again.
Now, there are two ways of looking at the recent acquisitions of the club.
The first is that they are demonstrating a remarkable lack of imagination in constantly signing players who are essentially hybrid winger/forwards and thus creating a one size fits all approach to tactics that will eventually lead to a dearth of flexibility in the approach to any game.
The other view is that there is a deliberate policy of recruiting exactly the kind of players who can be switched in and out of the team without altering either the shape or flow of the side.
It also provides the opportunity to better recreate what we saw in Colorado; late introductions that can change a game.
Carl Robinson already had this weapon at his disposal to some degree with Manneh and Hurtado but the hope has to be that the recent additions are a step up (in either quality or consistency).
Even then they are probably still over reliant on Fredy Montero to sniff out goals where none seemed to exist and the “there’s definitely a plan to the signings” narrative may be based more on wishful thinking than concrete evidence.
But there’s definitely a plan to the signings!