It’s hard to even be angry any more.
After a week of the club pumping out social media posts about “Road Warriors” and how they always bounce back from adversity the Vancouver Whitecaps went to Sporting Kansas City and promptly went three goals down after thirty minutes before having two men sent off and eventually losing by six goals.
Maybe the two red cards wouldn’t have happened in the pre VAR era but Carl Robinson has created such a culture of victim hood at the hands of officials it’s hard to be surprised when his players react in the same petulant manner.
He’s also created such a tactically stale environment that when he plays the way he wants to play the opposition coach has already figured it out and when he tries to change things up (as he did in Kansas by deploying three at the back) he doesn’t know how to get his team to execute it effectively.
What else is there to say that hasn’t already been said?
The Whitecaps are regressing with Robinson as coach and all anybody at the club seems prepared to do about it is schedule meetings to workshop another hashtag.
Saturday Morning Update!
Now that we’ve all had a night of restless sleep thinking about just how bad that game was let’s move on from the pointless howl of existential angst to actually thinking about just what went wrong.
It’s hard to know if Carl Robinson made the decision to switch to three at the back based on the specific needs of this one game and opponent or based on the need to just do something (anything) to turn the sense that the team was treading water around.
Whatever the reason it didn’t work.
Kansas exploited the wide areas supposedly covered by Davies and Juarez time and time again and the central midfield two of Ghazal and Felipe offered little or no cover to the central three defenders.
The disappointing thing is that this squad could play a three at the back with wing backs system if they were set up to do it properly but we’ve seen in the past that the coach either doesn’t know how to get it to work in an effective way or doesn’t really commit to the idea and so leaves the players hanging on the line of half-formed plans and half-hearted decisions.
It seems inevitable that Friday night will not do anything other than convince Carl Robinson that his tried and tested “safety first” football is the only way to go.
And maybe it is if he can’t get the team to play in any other way?
As for the dismissals of Juarez and Reyna they summed up the season of each player thus far.
Reyna has looked like a man out of sorts all year. Put that down to personal circumstance, injury, loss of form or just plain old frustration with the role he’s being asked to play but it seems more likely than not his time in Vancouver is getting shorter by the day.
And once again the Whitecaps will have lost the kind of player who could make a difference if there was a way to get the best out of him.
Juarez has been a strange one since his arrival.
There are times when he seems to be the genuine leader on the field the team need and then there are times when he seems adrift both tactically and mentally.
He certainly reacts badly to losing games and while that’s a good thing in the abstract if it impacts his own performance and that of the team as a whole then the reality is not so alluring.
But, again, that issue stems from lack of in game discipline from the coaching staff down.
Maybe you could make the argument that if the Reyna chance had been taken early in the game the whole thing would have been different but if you end up talking about “fine lines” in a game you’ve lost by six goals you’re just clutching at the shadows of straws.
Which leaves the Whitecaps where?
Back to the drawing board I guess, but they’ve taken that trip so many times already that anything they do add to it will just further blur out whatever made any kind of sense in the first place.
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings!
Marinovic-4, Juarez-1, Waston-3, Aja-4*, de Jong-3 Davies-3, Ghazal-3, Felipe-3, Reyna-2, Shea-3, Blondell-3