So how do we judge a 1-0 defeat against the in form and reigning MLS Cup Champions?
Especially when that defeat was decided by yet another unnecessarily conceded penalty kick?
The answer to that is easy.
We judge it as harshly as humanly possible!
So what went wrong?
Well, that almost starts and ends with the midfield.
I could indulge my hypothesis that Jon Erice is the best Captain the MLS era Whitecaps have had in terms of on field tactical influence and that aspect of his game was certainly missed last night.
But the most baffling aspect of the Dos Santos era thus far is his persistence in playing Hwang In-Beom as a deep central midfielder.
The end result is becoming increasingly familiar, with the South Korean offering little in the way of attacking threat and eventually losing the physical battle with whichever opponent he is up against.
There also seemed to be a conscious decision to play Russell Teibert as a kind of auxiliary left winger which simply resulted in the vast majority of balls played wide to him being passed back toward the middle (and thus allowing Atlanta time to reorganize at their leisure).
And Erice’s replacement was Felipe.
And Felipe is one man stats machine designed to have people purr over the numbers while simultaneously slowing the team down (and thus allowing Atlanta time to reorganize at their leisure).
In short, the midfield offered little or no elements of concern to the Atlanta defence.
And while seeing Max Crepeau stand on his head while using his feet to juggle a seal which is simultaneously juggling a ball during every home game is great entertainment, it’s not a sustainable model to have the goalkeeper be Man of the Match for every home game.
Perhaps the only thing as entertaining as Crepeau is watching Ali Adnan become increasingly angry and frustrated every time a teammate doesn’t pass to him.
No word yet on if the Iraqi left back will remain in Vancouver, but he would be missed for his personality on the field as much his play.
In conclusion, this game is one we would all do well to simply forget.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Crepeau-7.5, Nerwinski-6, Adnan-6, Godoy-6, henry-6, Felipe-4.5, Teibert-4.5, In-Beom-4.5, Bangoura-4.5, Venuto-4.5, Montero-5