The Bizzaro Whitecaps

I must have walked past this doorway thirty times
Just trying to catch your eye
You made it all worthwhile when you returned my smile

Back in the day it was often said of The Wedding Present that they were every Smiths’ fans second favourite indie guitar band.

But, now that time and trouble have turned Morrissey’s heartfelt paeans to the sweetness of loneliness into something more akin to the bitter rantings of white privilege, it’s safe to say that The Wedding Present have moved up a place in the odes to unrequited love standings.

And watching the first game of of football played at BC Place since all this began carried the heady scent of lost love amid the sound of the ball hitting a boot and the steady hum of fake crowd noise.

Did I just get a glimpse of where I usually sit? Maybe if the camera pans around a little more I can see it? Was that somebody from the TV crew sitting where I should be? A strangers behind in my favourite seat?

Of all the games since sport resumed this one felt the most disconcerting.

It probably also felt disconcerting because the Whitecaps won a game and, while the performance didn’t merit the three points it behooves us to concentrate on the good given how long it’s been since anything good happened just about anywhere.

Firstly, Lucas Cavallini scored a goal. The kind of close range finish that was supposed to be his trademark by now. Perhaps that will kick start a scoring run? But he is still mostly isolated up front with nobody to link up with. No Bogart to his Bacall. And Ali Adnan’s crossing can’t do all the heavy lifting when it comes to creating chances.

The real standout player though was Michael Baldisimo. He sat deep. He wanted the ball. He wanted to play the ball forward when he got it. He scored a pile driver from the edge of the box.

If the Whitecaps can figure out how to give him options to pass to when he is in possession then Baldisimo may grow as a player in the next few months. But he needs the ball at his feet and not to be constantly chasing back as the opposition mount yet another attacking foray (Memo to Self: Remember to keep it positive!)

It was also good to see Erik Godoy back, even if it was out of position and for just one half and Derek Cornelius looks more and more like the kind of solid central defender the team need him to be.

And while Thomas Hasal’s ability to save shots was never in doubt, last night he looked more comfortable coming for crosses and set-pieces than he has done thus far.

So, in the end, it was a much needed three points and, while even the staunchest supporter surely wouldn’t have the brass neck to claim that all was now right in the Whitecaps world, even a dalliance with victory is a reminder that anyone can make a mistake and we just need to continue to be honest in how we assess this team.

Thanks.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.

Hasal-6, Godoy-4, Adnan-6, Cornelius-5.5, Rose-4.5, Teibert-4.5, Owusu-5, Baldisimo-6*, Milinkovic-4.5, Cavallini-5.5, Bair-4 (Nerwinski-5)

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