Vancouver Whitecaps: The Season So Far (The Forwards)

The female mosquito has six separate needles with which to extract our blood.

Two that are used to saw through the skin, two to hold that skin apart, one to drip saliva into the blood to keep it flowing and finally one to act as both a straw and a filtration system that separates the water from our blood and immediately excrete it; thus allowing as much top quality red blood cells as possible to be ingested.

We can say two thing about this.

Firstly, since it is sucking our blood while urinating on us the mosquito is a perfect metaphor for modern capitalism.

Secondly, we can only wish the Vancouver Whitecaps had such an efficient system for cutting through any kind of defence.

At least things haven’t been quite as bad this season and so we can conclude our ratings of the players so far with a cursory glance at the forwards.

Fredy Montero- 6.5 There must have been time earlier in the season when Montero felt as though the three attacking players consisted solely of Him, Himself and He.

Things have improved as the year has developed with both the wings and even the central midfield offering support on an almost regular basis.

The most positive thing about Montero has been the amount of work he puts in to every game. After all, the highest paid player could well have fallen into an extended sulk at not having the whole game plan revolve around him but Montero has never let his frustration show for more than a fleeting moment.

There have even been times when he’s effectively been playing both the number ten and the number nine role and that probably explains his slightly disappointing return in terms of goals scored but it’s inconceivable to imagine Vancouver being anywhere near as effective if Montero was absent for any length of time.

Brek Shea-6.5 Shea is a bit of an odd duck. There are times when he displays the qualities of the Premier League player he was for a few years and then there are times when he reacts to being given the ball with the same sense of alarm and despair I display when handed the bill at the end of a hearty meal with friends.

Shea hasn’t been helped by being played out of position in the central attacking role and nor has he been helped by injuries, suspensions and the good form of those currently ahead of him in the pecking order.

The optimistic view (And probably the right one) is that there is still much more to come from a player who should display fewer red card inducing fits of pique as he gets nearer to peak fitness.

Nicolas Mezquida-6.5 We have enough of a sample size to know that Carl Robinson doesn’t regard Mezquida as a regular starter and the coach may just be right about that.

Mezquida certainly doesn’t fit comfortably into the current formation for example.

There are times though when it feels as though he’s the last option to be considered from the bench when a game is crying out for his input.

Mezquida excels in both defending from the front and creating chances out of nothing through the sheer persistence of his pressing of defenders.

What he offers is the opportunity to move to two central forwards without losing too much of the defensive solidity through the middle and although he doesn’t have the most exquisite of touches he at least appreciates where the ball should be played and which runs should be made (Naming no names here).

He’s out of action for a few weeks so this is moot at the moment but if there was a trophy for “Most underappreciated by the coach and most overappreciated by the fans” (Let’s call it the MUBTCAMOBTF Trophy for the sake of simplicity)  then Mezquida would win it hands down.

Kyle Greig- 6  The only other forward to get any kind of meaningful minutes of first team action is Greig who looks a little too slow and a little heavy of touch to make it at the MLS level but does at least offer the possibility of being the “big man up front” for a desperate final five minute push for an equalizer.

It’s certainly better to have him playing that role than trying to force the ill-equipped Shea to do so anyway.

So there we have it.

Like the midfield the forward line has improved in 2017 (Though maybe not quite as much).

And like the defence the midfield has improved in 2017 (Though maybe not quite as much).

Next time out I predict there will be an actual game of football to talk about.

 

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