So where we are now is that we have a defensively minded coach who hasn’t been able to effectively organize his defence this season and is now forced to play an attack minded team (he almost certainly doesn’t believe in) in a desperate attempt to salvage something from the wreckage of what has gone before.
Oh and he hasn’t fielded the same starting eleven once this season.
Is it any wonder the Vancouver Whitecaps still haven’t got a definitive identity even though the World Cup is just around the corner?
Fittingly they followed up the 2-2 tie with Houston (a very poor road team) with another 2-2 tie against San Jose (another very poor road team) and no doubt we’ll get to hear the same blah, blah, blah about chances missed and lessons learned over the next few days while the season continues to ebb away with all the certainty of Carl Robinson making the wrong substitution at the wrong time.
At least the starting line up this time around was promising and the team did play some decent one touch football, created two goals from open play and mostly looked like they wanted to win the game rather than not lose it.
But a defensive lapse just before half-time allowed San Jose to equalize and then the home coach got to give his team talk.
It’s hard to imagine just what it is Robinson does say to his players in the interval but time after time after time the Whitecaps begin the second period flatter than a pancake that is the victim of a hit and run steamroller .
As per usual it took the opposition doing something (this time scoring a goal) to wake them back to life and Yordy Reyna leveled it up with a nice header to set up the by now customary hustle to try and get something more from a game that should have been a fairly routine outing for a team of substance.
We interrupt this blog to bring you some ponderings from the next day.
It’s becoming increasingly clear the Whitecaps really messed up in how they used the salary cap this season.
It’s hard to imagine an effective lineup in which Ghazal ($700,000) and Juarez ($620,000) both get to start in the centre of midfield or what Bernie Ibini ($300,000) gives the team more than Erik Hurtado ($150,000).
And of course there’s Brek Shea on $745,000.
What more could have been done if just two of those deals had been turned into a player of genuine quality?
Perhaps not much given Carl Robinson’s rather odd selection policy this year.
The coach has always emphasised that he’ll judge a player on performances yet Russell Teibert had his best start to an MLS season and has been rewarded by being frozen out of the side completely.
Even when he does come back (probably in Dallas) it will be tough to pick up where he left off in terms of form.
And the same can be said of Jake Nerwinski and Brett Levis to an extent. Two young full backs who have done nothing worse than any other member of the back line but have been relegated to the sidelines in favour of experienced players who still can’t help the team to keep a clean sheet.
And can we please stop defining “character” as having the ability to come back from a deficit?
A team full of character would have built on that early lead against San Jose and cruised to a three or four goal victory.
But, like everything else about this team, their moral fibre is reactive not proactive.
We now return you to your regular blog.
Reyna finally found some spark to his game so it was baffling to see him substituted with less than ten minutes to go.
Sean Franklin offered virtually nothing going forward and Jake Nerwinski would have been a far better option in this game at least.
Both Davies and Kamara were really poor when it came to the final pass/shot.
Felipe looked good again as the one player who can find a decent pass from anywhere on the field.
Waston and Aja were terrible in their distribution.
And it’s hard to know what Brek Shea did in the previous game to convince Robinson he could turn this game around.
So it’s on to Dallas in an attempt to keep the fatally injured season alive for just a little bit longer.
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings.
Rowe-5.5, Franklin-5, de Jong-6, Waston-5, Aja-5, Juarez-5, Felipe-6, Davies-5, Techera-5.5, Reyna-6*, Kamara-5