From yesterday but with a fun fact about the Romans and extra thoughts on the team.
The ancient Romans had a word (maybe the modern Romans do too I don’t know) anyway, the word was “Discrimen”, and it referred to the world’s first pizza delivery service which ultimately failed because the app kept crashing. Or was it the chariots that kept crashing? Contemporary reports are unclear.
Wait. That doesn’t seem right. Let’s try again.
While the Romans may not have had a food delivery service, they did have the equivalent of fast food takeout.
Busy Romans would stop at one of the many reasonably priced “Thermopolia” to grab lunch during their busy workday.
Baked cheese slathered in honey? Take that BC Place!
Reasonably priced? Take that BC Place!
The ancient Romans had a word (maybe the modern Romans do too I don’t know) anyway, the word was “Discrimen”, and it referred to a singular moment when the achievement of an entire lifetime might hang in the balance.
A crisis point where the prospect of glorious success or heartbreaking failure seems to carry equal weight.
The Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 tie with Toronto FC on Friday evening at BC Place might not have reached such epic levels of import but it might be the game that breaks rather than makes their season.
The Whitecaps were awful for the first eighty-five minutes. Devoid of energy or imagination or any realistic attacking intent.
It does sometimes feel as though it would be easier to get a rabid cat into a travel box full of citrus fruit than it would be to get a Vancouver player into the opposition penalty box.
This has to be a specific instruction from the coach rather than the more appealing notion that some ancient curse will forever follow the Whitecaps and their midfield until the end of time.
Fair enough that Marc Dos Santos wants his team to lure teams forward and then hit them on the break, but if teams refuse to be lured there has to be a Plan B, and right now that looks to be hitting long balls forward in the hope that Fredy Montero can feed off the scraps or that Lucas Venuto’s speed will somehow pay off.
Plan C is Ali Adnan.
But the late entry of Yordy Reyna injected some life into the game and, with just five minutes to go, he won the penalty which Fredy Montero converted.
But if you thought the Whitecaps were awful before they scored, wait until you hear about what they were like after they scored.
Because they weren’t just not interested in pushing for the second killer goal, oh no, they weren’t even interested in keeping the ball for longer than it takes to hoof it aimlessly up the field.
And they dropped so deep that at times Max Crepeau was the furthest forward for any potential counter attacking option.
The problem with getting a result from that kind of “backs to the wall, hope our luck holds” scenario (Which the Whitecaps have done this season) is that it starts to feel like a plan, when it really isn’t.
Like knowing the dice are loaded against you, but thinking that the one time you beat the house was a portent and not an aberration.
It’s just about reasonable to give the players a pass on this given their recent schedule ,but it also comes down to mentality.
The Whitecap shave shown a ton of resilience over recent weeks, battling to get points they often had no right to get.
But what they haven’t shown is the toughness of mentality when taking the lead.
The last two home games have seen the Whitecaps gain the advantage and then resort to clinging on to said advantage instead of building on it. Or even trying to build on it.
Right now they are conflating conservatism and courage and they are wrong.
But if we have to take anything away from that game it’s that the midfield is in drastic need of an upgrade. Mainly because there isn’t one to speak of, just an auxiliary defence that occasionally glances at the halfway line with the kind of rueful smile usually reserved for a man who knows that his love will forever remain unrequited.
There will be upgrades to come. Please let there be upgrades to come! And even Julius Caesar must have picked the wrong Centurions at some time or another.
The good news is that more than one team has galloped into the playoffs, and even an MLS Cup, after a crucial mid-season acquisition or two.
The bad news is that the Whitecaps are unlikely to splash enough cash to get that kind of player. So what we have to hope for is two (hopefully three) upgrades that turn this team into one that’s good enough to be better than having to scrap for points in every single game.
And also keeping Ali Adnan of course.
“We’re down to our last one hundred and ten men so what can I do?”
Or sent them out in the wrong formation.
“We probably shouldn’t have gone with the Testudo on home soil, but I’m not sure we have the soldiers to utilize the Wedge effectively.”
But Marc Dos Santos must know his team are at a tipping point right now. Their very own “Discrimen” that will determine their fate for this season and maybe even beyond.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Crepeau-6*, Sutter-5, Adnan-5.5, Godoy-5.5, Rose-5.5, Cornelius-5, Erice-4.5, Teibert-3, In-Beom-3, Venuto-5, Montero-5, (Reyna-5.5)