Vancouver Whitecaps Defend Deep and Prosper

From yesterday but now with some stuff about the actual game.

Back in the nineteenth century the French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier discovered the planet Vulcan.

Or rather, he posited the idea of the planet Vulcan as the only way to explain the slight variations in Mercury’s orbit. Sir Isaac Newton had conclusively explained how the Universe worked and so, theorized Le Verrier, that meant there had to be another object close to Mercury to tug at its trajectory.

And some people saw it and recorded their sightings.

It wasn’t easy to see because it was so close to another, much larger, planet and the observer frequently had to deal with the light of the sun overshadowing everything.

It also wasn’t easy to see because it didn’t exist.

It made sense that it did, but it didn’t.

Eventually Einstein came along and explained the Theory of Relativity in what we can only assume was a rather smug and tedious PowerPoint presentation and the planet Vulcan was cast aside, never to be seen in either science or popular culture ever again.

I don’t want to get into the whole Zvolenszky, Koťátko, Goodman debate about abstract artifacts at this point (mainly because I don’t understand a word of it) but, in a strange way, Le Verrier did more than “discover” Vulcan. He “created” it (even though that creation was both mistaken and inadvertent).

So what is the moral of the story?

Making shit up can still lead to a viable career? Perhaps. But really it’s that the way the world seems doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how it really is.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.

Wait? What? You want something about the Whitecaps 1-0 victory over Portland at BC Place on Friday evening and you want it to somehow segue in to a planet that doesn’t exist?

Well let’s see.

For about twenty five minutes in the first half Marc Dos Santos somehow managed to convince his players that there was a new way of seeing the world. That the curvature of Time and Space were more than just theoretical notions and that they could have real world applications.

And during that period the Whitecaps battered Portland with one touch football, outside of the boot passes and frequent forays in to the opposition penalty area.

Vancouver scored one goal during that time but it could have been more.

Crucial to that good spell was the performance of Hwang In-Beom, who dictated play from the middle of the park in a way we haven’t seen from him before. Equally crucial to the drop in quality in the second half was the play of Hwang In-Beom, who produced twenty minutes of terrible football before being unceremoniously withdrawn.

Inconsistency is the price you pay for taking a punt on youth over experience I suppose.

But the very fact that it wasn’t more seemed to sow the seeds of doubt and players raised in the more pragmatic world of Newtonion  football began to revert to type.

To sit too deep, to clear the ball rather than work it out of defence and confuse defending in numbers with good defending.

Somehow they got away with it (largely down to a stellar performance from Max Crepeau) and they were probably owed that result given the way some games have gone this season, but the second half performance was not a recipe for long term success.

The performance of Fredy Montero also should’t go unremarked upon.

It’s hard to know whether his game has improved over the last two weeks because he got some much needed rest or because he’s finally getting at least glimpses of the service he requires.

But whatever the reason, to see both his work rate and ability to stay calm (maybe even become calmer?) as the ball dropped to his feet in the penalty area was a refreshing change from the mainly “I’ll hit this as hard as I can and hope it works” school of finishing we have seen from other Whitecaps forwards in similar situations.

But those opening salvos did at least hint at the possibility of what this Dos Santos team could become with a little more coaching and a little more quality.

And suddenly, somehow, the playoffs are no longer simply a hypothetical planet we believe in because that’s how we want the universe to be.

And suddenly, somehow, the pull we feel toward them might actually be real.

The three home games in May will be crucial in determining their final fate. Pick up points in those and remain in the hunt before bringing in more quality and it’s game on.

Fade to seven, eight or nine points adrift before any further additions can be made and we are very much into “rebuilding for next season” territory.

And I’m not sure the Whitecaps have that much leeway with some sections of the fan base.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.

Crepeau-7*, Nerwinski-6, Adnan-6.5, Henry-6, Godoy-6, Erice-6, Teibert-6, In-Beom-5, Bangoura-5,5, Venuto-5, Montero-7 (Rose-5.5).

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