The thing is, if you’re not a very good team, then you’d better make sure you spend some time working on the basics.
Defending set-pieces, passing the ball in front of a runner and not to or behind him, how you will try to break down a defence that is sitting deep.
Things like that.
I’m not sure what the more depressing thought is. That the Whitecaps do work on these basics or that they don’t work on them. But either way they never employ them, so I suppose it doesn’t make any difference in the end.
The 1-0 defeat to Portland on Sunday was better than the 6-0 loss to LAFC in many ways, but in others it was worse. A 6-0 loss can be dismissed as an aberration. One of those nights. The capricious nature of the sporting gods.
But the loss in Portland was painful because it exposed the Whitecaps for what they truly are. A leaden footed and slow witted team who rely on “moments” to create goals rather than anything as substantial as a coherent system of consistent interplay.
The game was a deep dark truthful mirror that told us that it’s not just Russell Teibert who loves to regress play rather than progress it. It told us that caution and cowardice are not bugs but features of how the team play.
It told us that Lucas Cavallini is a forward rather than a goal scorer and will need more than half chances created if he is going to prosper. And that he will probably need more than a few full chances too. It told us that Bikel and Owusu are functional at best in the centre of the pitch and that the full backs cause as many problems for their own defence as they do the opposition.
And it told us that Marc Dos Santos was content with all that. Was content to limit the damage against a Cascadian rival, because that was better than taking a risk.
Better to lose by one and not try to win than try to win and lose by more.
The players already seem to have lost belief in the coach and, in this game, it felt like the coach had lost belief in himself too.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Meredith-4, Nerwinski-4.5, Gutierrez-3.5, Rose-5.5, Godoy-5.5*, Adnan-4, Owusu-4.5, Bikel-4.5, Dajome-4, Montero-5, Cavallini-3.5