Vancouver Whitecaps: Turning Point or Turning in Circles?

Well that was better.

It was still not great and there are probably more questions than answers to come but the 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake at BC Place on Friday evening takes at least some of the pressure off the Vancouver Whitecaps.

You could see how much it meant to the players at the end of the game and it probably meant even more to the coaching staff.

The first half was a poor quality but open and even moderately entertaining game where both teams looked capable of breaching the opposition defence.

But in the second half the Whitecaps recovered from a tentative opening ten minutes to gradually grow into being the most dangerous team.

It still took a penalty from Cristian Techera (who, somewhat hilariously, then got sent off for a second yellow card after removing his shirt to celebrate) but a burst of pace from Alphonso Davies gave Anthony Blondell a tap in for his first goal as a Whitecap and from then on Salt Lake never really looked like getting back in to the game.

So what questions remain?

Well, Blondell missed chances and got caught offside way too often but his style of play meant Vancouver weren’t reliant on the long ball to the big man up front.

True it was strange that Salt Lake persisted with a high line given how often they were breached but the return of Kamara could well lure the Whitecaps back to the security of the punt forward.

Felipe was left out of the team and the Whitecaps didn’t miss him.

Jordon Mutch was good in the number ten role in the first half, always looking for the right pass even if it didn’t always come off and Nicolas Mezquida provided energy as his replacement and won the crucial penalty.

It looked like the Mutch injury was fairly serious so does Robinson just slot Felipe into that attacking midfield role rather than the defensive position he seems to have preferred him in?

Felipe hasn’t been that effective an attacking threat when played further forward.

And what does he do with the returning Juarez and Reyna? They don’t deserve to start given their form and their red cards but how long can they be left on the sidelines before they become restless?

But the big question is what does Carl Robinson take from this.

Is this his road to Damascus moment when he suddenly realizes that getting the BC Place crowd behind the team is better than playing a style of football that kills the atmosphere stone dead?

All the indications from his tenure so far is that he’ll simply see this win as vindication of his coaching style and that nothing of any substance will change in the long run.

That would be a shame for so many reasons and not least because enjoying a game of football is a much better way to spend the evening than not enjoying one.

It really is that simple.

Time for Soccer Shorts Player Ratings.

Marinovic-6, Franklin-6, Waston-5.5, Aja-5.5, Levis-5.5, Ghazal-6*, Teibert-5.5, Mutch-6, Shea-5, Techera-4, Blondell-5.5 (Mezquida-6, Davies-6)







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