The big question following on from the Alphonso Davies transfer to Bayern Munich was how the player himself would react to the move.
Would the excitement of joining one of the biggest clubs in the world weigh heavy on his shoulders?
Would the remainder of his time in Vancouver feel somewhat anti-climactic?
Davies was subdued in the first half, but in the second he took the game by the scruff of the net and former Whitecap Michael Boxall must still be spinning in circles half expecting Davies to appear on his blind side.
Davies won’t face defenders of the calibre of Boxall in Germany but you can only beat what’s in front of you and that he did.
The rest of the game was a fairly neat summary of the issues still facing the Whitecaps.
In the first half they had Russell Teibert and Aly Ghazal as defensive midfielders and looked fairly comfortable when Minnesota pushed forward.
Then a Ghazal injury saw Felipe replace him and the defence suddenly felt much more vulnerable.
It’s hard to see what Felipe brings to the team when he is played so deep. He doesn’t have the defensive instinct of Ghazal or the hustle of Teibert, so a player who is best suited to finding the right pass to a forward becomes an amalgam of nothingness.
But at least Carl Robinson now seems to have settled on a regular back four with de Jong and Nerwinski both playing their best football of the season.
Nerwinski in particular is back to providing the attacking threat he did so often last year (and he may well be the best crosser of a ball in the squad) and that improvement is likely down to the fact those two defensive midfielders provide the cover he needs to make his forays.
Another good game for Yordy Reyna too.
The Peruvian has discovered the little bit of arrogance that’s been missing from his game all year and, for the first time in a long time, it feels as though he both wants the ball and wants to do something with it.
The lone forward position remains an issue however (this could be the new club motto given how perennial a problem it is).
Anthony Blondell stood in for Kei Kamara and was poor.
His hold up play was horrendous, his passing not much better and his connections with the rest of the team pretty much nonexistent.
That wouldn’t be such a huge problem if Kamara was firing on all cylinders but he’s been nowhere near that of late.
Perhaps his goal from open play last night will kick-start his form again?
Or it could be that the chances created by Davies will be all he really needs but the Whitecaps face two tough road games in New York and Portland (parenthesised by Voyageur’s Cup games against Toronto) and if the illusion of still being in the playoff hunt is going to be maintained they need more than they will probably get from their travels.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Marinovic-5.5, Nerwinski-6, de Jong-6, Waston-5.5, Henry-5.5, Ghazal-5.5, Teibert-6, Davies-7.5, Reyna-6.6, Techera-5, Blondell-4 (Felipe-5)
One thought on “Vancouver Whitecaps: Happy Days”
Two goals and two assists and Fonzie gets 7.5!! Possibly the best single match ever played by a Whitecap. What does it take to get a 9?