Vancouver Whitecaps: Cue Fanfare

I wonder if anybody has ever walked away from a chess match and said ‘Wow! That was a real game of soccer”?

Almost certainly not because, you know, the comparison would be ridiculous.

But not when the situation is reversed apparently because whenever a really tedious game of football has been played somebody somewhere will opine that “it was a real chess match”.

Maybe sometimes they’ll even stretch to “that was one for the purists” but the chess match metaphor seems to be the main phrase to go to.

That’s not to say that some games can’t be genuinely interesting tactical battles with coaches switching formations and counter punching each other with every substitution, but let’s not try to pretend that Sunday’s 0-0 tie between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders fits into that category.

Straight from the first whistle both coaches set their team up not to concede rather than to score  and that didn’t change at all for the full ninety minutes plus change.

That’s hardly the famous Fischer vs Spassky “Alekhine’s Defence” game now is it?

One positive for the Whitecaps was that they were able to keep possession pretty well, notching up the most passes and highest completion rate of the season.

That probably undermines Robinson’s previous assertions that he just doesn’t have the players to play that kind of football but I don’t think anybody really took those claims at face value or were under any illusions about what kind of football the coach thinks is effective at this stage of his tenure.

It’s certainly possible that his caution will pay dividends in the return leg on Thursday evening and there must be fans of the Sounders who are equally frustrated about their own team’s unwillingness to push for what would have been a vital away goal.

So there’ll be a whole bunch of “what ifs” and “why didn’t yous?” once the dust has settled on this tie as a whole.

And that’s the thing with such a negative approach to any game.

If it works the fans are consoled by the result, but if it doesn’t work they are left with the sense that the team they root for and love has failed to step up to the plate when it really mattered.

And that’s a bitter taste to linger in the throat during the whole of the off-season.


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