Now with updated “considerations” using the power of hindsight.
At least the Vancouver Whitecaps are entertaining now.
True they’re entertaining in a The Fall of Rome, Krakatoa erupting, Hindenburg conflagration, Nuclear explosion in a fireworks factory kind of way, but at least they’re entertaining.
They’re still not good enough though.
Yet another home tie (this time a 3-3 against the New England Revolution) was another nail in the coffin of their playoff hopes and leaves Carl Robinson hoping his team can somehow string together a run of three or four consecutive wins to keep them in any kind of meaningful contention.
Robinson stuck with 4-4-2 once again for this game and while Yordy Reyna at least had moments where he looked capable of creating danger Kei Kamara seemed to have decided his main role was to keep the ball out of the New England net.
His first miss at the very beginning of the game was poor given the amount of time he had but his second, where he somehow contrived to send the ball away from goal when all he had to do was kick it forward, was even worse.
That should have been enough to get him replaced but the coach thought not and the arrival of Anthony Blondell simply shifted Reyna to an area of the field where he was far less likely to do any damage.
The main experiment of the night (sadly not a thought experiment but an actual real life one) was allowing Aly Ghazal to audition for the role of central defender to fill in for the World Cup absence of Kendall Waston and it’s safe to say Ghazal flubbed the audition and really shouldn’t be getting the part.
His own goal was poor if perhaps forgivable, but his giveaway for the third and his constant ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time does not bode well should Robinson decide that valour is the better part of discretion when it comes to team selection.
The more one thinks about the decision to play Ghazal in central defence the more perplexing it becomes. Carl Robinson said the Egyptian “needed a game” but the Whitecaps needed a win much more, so switching Waston to the left side of the centre of defence to give another player playing time only created even more instability in a back line desperate for cohesion.
It’s even odder given the Whitecaps have a natural central defender in Aaron Maund who hasn’t done much wrong but seemingly can’t get near the starting eleven.
It will be fascinating to see who Robinson selects at the back next week (and by “fascinating” I mean morbidly not intellectually).
Elsewhere everybody else did fine without really impressing.
Except for Cristian Techera of course who seems to be on one of those goal scoring tears he goes on from time to time and he certainly provided a lesson in finishing for the rest of the team to ponder over the next few days.
No doubt we’ll hear a lot about how this team has once again shown “character” in coming back from a deficit and no doubt everybody will ignore the cold hard truth that real character is displayed by not going behind in the first place.
That reacting to events is so much easier than initiating them and that this series of Pyrrhic ties have blasted away the foundations of the season.
Robinson did indeed mention “character” with almost his first words of his post-game question and answer session.
But more interesting was how he revealed how aware he is of the quite specific criticisms aimed at his team and coaching style and the manner in which he discussed the possibility of ever getting a 1-0 win ever again.
For Robinson speaks of 1-0 wins the way other people speak with time-stained wistfulness of the charms of the long-lost love who will forever remain untainted by the scars of familiarity or the passage of time.
It’s clear every fibre of his being is yearning to return to the carefree days of two genuine defensive midfielders, the sunlit afternoons where a lone striker battled insurmountable odds and those half-remembered, half-imagined evenings where two central defenders headed away cross after cross after cross.
If he does leave the club at some time this season perhaps his biggest regret will be that he abandoned (or was forced to abandon) the one footballing tactic he genuinely believes in?
That would be quite poignant in a way,
And nothing gets crowds flocking to football games more than the possibility of poignancy (or “PoP” as it’s known to all those who follow advanced stats).
Time for the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings.
Rowe-5.5, Franklin-4.5, de Jong-5.5, Waston-5, Ghazal-3.5, Teibert-5.5, Felipe-6, Davies-5, Reyna-6, Techera-7*, Kamara-4