The Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 win over Minnesota United at BC Place on Wednesday evening wasn’t the kind of game to convince any neutral about the magic of soccer.
A very poor road team that wasn’t really interested in attacking was comfortably beaten by a largely ‘B’ squad home team who weren’t that interested in attacking either but had easily enough quality on the break to cruise to victory.
But if it wasn’t a game for the uncommitted at least the committed will know that this is exactly the sort of contest a serious contender for any title needs to win.
And it was exactly the kind of game the Whitecaps have messed up time after time in recent memory.
Fortunately Carl Robinson learned from recent missteps in team selection and avoided the trap of sending out an unchanged eleven after a good win only to seem them fall flat on their faces in their much anticipated sequel.
This time there were abundant changes and although the bit part players played their role well enough it was a previous star, Jordy Reyna, who lit up the stage.
In the first half Reyna was the only Whitecap who looked capable of injecting either pace or imagination into the game and, after calmly finishing a Marcel de Jong through ball in the early minutes, he tormented Minnesota just enough to push more than a few of them to the brink of seeing red.
Elsewhere both Brek Shea and Alphonso Davies were poor in the wide positions (although Shea somewhat redeemed himself with an assist and a goal) and Erik Hurtado was Erik Hurtado, which was enough against the worst team to have played at BC Place this season.
Tchani and Teibert were workmanlike and uninspiring in the centre of midfield but both de Jong and Nerwinski offered something going forward without ever being troubled in their defensive duties.
All in all it was all a bit “meh”, but Vancouver have enough quality in depth now that “meh” is easily enough against an MLS team who seem to have based their expansion year on the theory that the league hasn’t progressed since 2014.
Six points from the first two home games of a four game stretch is perfect and if the Whitecaps can pick up at least four (maybe three would be enough?) from the remaining two then a top four spot at the end of the season seems a more than likely prospect.
For now though we should all just simply enjoy being top of the Western Conference.
Seriously, top of the Western Conference. Who would have thought it?
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings.Ousted-6, de Jong-6.5, Parker-6, Waston-6, Nerwinski-6.5, Teibert-6, Tchani-5.5, Reyna-7*, Shea-5.5, davies-5.5, Hurtado-5.5