Given that the Vancouver whitecaps were without three of their more impressive players of the season thus far in Waston, Bolaños and Williams the 1-1 tie with FC Dallas on Saturday evening was a satisfactory result.
It was even more satisfactory given how the game played out on the night as the Whitecaps created virtually nothing from open play and were once again forced to rely on a set-piece to get them out of trouble.
Given all the absences Carl Robinson opted to move Andrew Jacobson into central defence and make Russell Teibert Jacobson’s replacement in the middle.
That was the most logical move in theory but in practice it didn’t really work out.
Jacobson was at least partly responsible for the Dallas goal and the team’s attacking options were effectively neutered as Teibert barely approached the opposition penalty area and when Tony Tchani did get an opportunity to play a dangerous pass he failed miserably.
It’s hard to know if that failure was down to technique or a mental block but either way Tchani’s progress in that role took a step back this week.
Things only really changed with the introduction of Alphonso Davies for Teibert as the youngster at least displayed a willingness to run at Dallas through the centre of the field.
It was only a cameo appearance for Davies but it could be that the central midfield suits him best in a team with a surplus of wide players. The Whitecaps certainly need somebody in there whose first thought is to get forward rather than to turn back.
Elsewhere Brek Shea filled in well for Bolaños without getting near his creativity and Jake Nerwinski did a steady job at right back without offering the attacking threat his pace can provide.
Vancouver now move on to two road games in struggling Minnesota and not struggling Chicago and it could be that the coach liked what he saw from that lineup when it came to defensive solidity.
Let’s hope not though.
The Whitecaps have prospered this season when they have shown initiative and a willingness to take the game to the opposition, but in times of trouble we all tend to revert to whatever our personal default position happens to be and there’s little doubt that Robinson’s is “safety first”.
Although “safety first” when it comes to players getting injured might not be a bad mantra for the rest of the season.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Ousted-6, Newinski-6, Parker-6.5, Jacobson-6, Harvey-6, Laba-7*, Teibert-5.5, Tchani-5.5, techera-6, Shea-6.5, Montero-6 (Davies 6.5)