There are some political strategists who swear by the “dead cat” strategy.
If things are going badly, they argue, just throw a metaphorical dead cat onto the table and everybody gets distracted from your failure by the fallen feline.
And what we got with the Whitecaps 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Impact in a smoky BC Place on Sunday evening was a series of dead cats thrown onto the turf, each of which will probably distract us from the fact that Vancouver were, after the first twenty minutes, terrible.
Bu they did start well.
Pressing effectively and creating chances with incisive passing, but then it faded. They reverted to type and began to lose possession with crushing regularity.
The midfield was non-existent, the defending was shambolic and the goalkeeping was erratic.
They were lucky to go into the break only one goal behind, but Marc Dos Santos didn’t feel the need to make any changes until his team inevitably went into a two goal deficit early into the second half.
Cue the first dead cat of four substitutes at once. Then cue the second dead cat of Lucas Cavallini foolishly picking up a second yellow card and then even more foolishly getting involved in further shenanigans before leaving the field.
It went to 4-1 before before Montreal introduced their own deceased mouser by somehow managing to get a red card that was even more foolish than Cavallini’s.
A scrappy own goal pulled Vancouver back to within two, but after that they never really looked like adding another apart from a great chance for Russell Teibert which was cleared off the line.
A Teibert goal would probably have been the equivalent of an exploding tiger in terms of distraction, but it wasn’t to be and the game petered out with a purr as the Impact wrestled back some decorum and took the win.
Once the chaos has died down the Whitecaps are going to have to accept that they continually fail to approach even basic competence in every part of the pitch for long stretches of every game.
There’s no discernible long term strategy, just tactical changes made with hindsight and not foresight. Just the hope that individuals can rise above the mediocrity of the collective from moment to moment.
Nobody can be watching this and think it’s acceptable no matter what the distractions happen to be.
How many cats have to die for this team?
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Hasal-3, Godoay-3, Rose-3, Cornelius-3, Adnan-2, Teibert-3, Baldisimo-4, Owusu-2, Milinkovic-5*, Bair-4, Cavallini-1 (Montero-4, Guttierez-4, Dajome-4, Nerwinski-4)