Vancouver Whitecaps: A feeling in their knees?

Is Debbie Harry a great singer?

Well, it depends how you define the terms. In live performances she often struggles to find the right note or phrasing but in the studio she is close to perfect.

And not perfect in the “I’m going to sing this ballad over a twenty-five minute period hitting every note imaginable while simultaneously destroying any meaning the song may ever have had” kind of way, but perfect in that her voice moves through the music like a sugar cube melting into a hot morning coffee.

Much of this was also down to producer Mike Chapman (one half of the vastly underrated Chinn/Chapman duo who created so many Glam Rock hits in the early seventies) but it needed Debbie herself to appreciate that her vocal limitations could also be her strength when harnessed in the right way.

And that theme of learning how to accept limitations and use them effectively looks like it could be a recurring theme for the Vancouver Whitecaps this season.

On Saturday evening they beat the Las Vegas Lights (a new USL team) 3-2 in what felt like the first “proper” game of the preseason and although Carl Robinson didn’t field a full strength team it was close enough for us to at least make a few informed decisions.

The limitations are still fairly obvious.

After one brief foray forward Ephraim Juarez reverted to the traditional Whitecap role of sitting alongside his partner in defensive sterility (Russell Teibert filling the role on this occasion) and after cruising to a two goal lead in the first half Vancouver allowed an elbow to Alphonso Davies to completely throw them off track for a five-minute period which saw Las Vegas level the score thanks to a free kick and a penalty.

It’s been a theme of this side that they react to injustice by losing their collective heads and, once again, the bench were at least as guilty as the players with assistant coach Martyn Pert being sent to the stands.

It’s completely understandable that a coaching staff gets angry at a very bad challenge on their young star (especially in a preseason game) but their role isn’t to be the Id of the team, it’s to be the rationale side of the equation that can maintain a clear mind amid the madness.

Thankfully there were strengths on show too.

The Whitecaps were always a danger from set-pieces (no surprise there) and Davies showed that he may well have progressed from a promising kid who could never quite find the right final decision to a player who will be a threat both on the counter and when attempting to break down a packed defence at BC Place.

Chances are he will start the season and if he hits the ground running  he could well be the living embodiment of the “like a new signing” cliché.

Throw an in form Yordy Reyna and Ali Ghazal into that starting eleven on Saturday and the Whitecaps don’t look to be in too bad a position.

They aren’t going to glide through 2018 with the ease and assurance of a peak era Blondie forty-five but the trick will be making sure they make the most of their strengths and don’t play to their limitations (which became the depressing trend come the end of the 2017 season).


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