Vancouver Whitecaps welcome Schadenfreude to BC Place

“Siri, show me a game that perfectly encapsulates the advantages and the disadvantages of the Vancouver Whitecaps playing the 4-4-2 system”

“Here is a list of cinemas in your area”

“Siri no, Whitecaps, 4-4-2, advantages and disadvantages”

“Plutonium is a radioactive chemical element with symbol Pu and atomic number 94”

“This isn’t really working is it?”

“You have to say ‘Siri’ first. I can’t hear you unless you say ‘Siri’ first”

“But I didn’t…..”

“Can’t hear you unless you say ‘Siri’ first”

Anyway the game that did encapsulate those advantages and disadvantages was the Whitecaps 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire at BC Place on Saturday evening.

The main advantage is they always look capable of creating some kind of scoring opportunity for themselves.

The main disadvantage is they always look capable of creating some kind of scoring opportunity for their opponents.

Back in the days when Carl Robinson was focussed on the defensive aspects of the game his philosophy was to turn every contest into a virtual coin toss by making the first goal more or less the game winner.

If the Whitecaps conceded first they found it hard to move out of their sit back and counter mode butif the Whitecaps scored first they were perfectly set up in their sit back and counter mode.

And strangely enough the games are still a virtual coin toss given how open this team is asnd how willing they are to trade chances with the oppoition.

Against Chicago we saw the experienced trio of Juarez, Felipe and Mutch start together for the first time and while none of them contributed consistently to the attacking play it was Juarez and Mutch who combined for the goal at the start of the second half which recalibrated the Whitecaps after they had squandered the advantage of being the better team in the first.

Mutch is clearly not a natural wide player and his presence out there reduces the opportunities for crosses in to Kamara (especially when the full backs gets forward as little as they did on Saturday) but his tendency to drift inside was one reason he got the opportunity to score his goal.

And it may be that having those three experienced players playing mostly conservative soccer and allowing Reyna and Davies to create chaos ahead of them is the best way to go from here on in.

That won’t solve the defensive issues however and it’s doubtful that even the return of Kendall Waston and Stefan Marinovic (remember him?) will fully paper over the cracks of a back line that has never really functioned correctly all season.

That may be partly due to the lack of a midfield shield in this current system or it may be due to the constant chopping and changing of personnel, but whatever the reason it will be the undoing of the team far more than all the chances they’ve missed going forward.

The schedule gets really tough from here on in and we will almosy certaily be looking back at the halcyon days of sitting in sixth place with affection come late August.

But the win over the Chicago Fire was an entertaining game of football and that was good enough for a pleasant summer evening.

“Summer is the period from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox”


“You asked me about summer”

“No I didn’t. And I definitley didn’t say ‘Siri’ first”

“I thought you did”

“I didn’t”

“Can’t hear you unless you say ‘Siri’ first”

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.

Rowe-4.5, Nerwinski-5.5, Henry-5.5, Aja-5.5, de Jong-5.5, Felipe-5, Juarez-6, Mutch-5.5, Davies-6, Reyna-6*, Kamara-5.5


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