Now with a couple of added observations.
There was a time when a 1-0 defeat at the LA Galaxy wouldn’t have been too dispiriting a result for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Since time is now a fluid concept it’s hard to be definitive about when that was. Last month? Last year? A week on Tuesday?
But it definitely wasn’t on this particular Sunday, because a somewhat buoyed Whitecaps were facing a somewhat deflated Galaxy and, for about sixty minutes of the game, the Whitecaps coped.
To be fair, the Whitecaps were decent in the first half. Not stellar, not great, but decent. the midfield looked like an actual thing (a bigger achievement than it sounds) and there were flickering embers of hope that Godoy and Veselinovic could develop into a decent partnership given enough games.
The biggest problem is that this mini renaissance of late is predicated on the return to the team, and the return to form, of Fredy Montero. And the problem with that is it forces Dos Santos to play a system he really doesn’t want to play.
So, for next season, what are the options? Rely on Montero maintaining this standard for another year? Find a direct replacement for him? Play the system Dos Santos prefers? Find a new coach?
Not one of those options offers concrete grounds for hope and the Whitecaps will be back facing another off season of hoping to make the right move rather than knowing what move they want to make.
Almost looking as likely as the home team to score and safe in the knowledge that, if they avoided doing something stupid, then LA would probably fail to score anyway.
But they did do something stupid.
Or rather Marc Dos Santos did something stupid by not doing anything; certainly not enough.
With at least thirty minutes to go it was clear that neither Cavallini nor Montero were going to be difference makers in this game and it was equally clear that they were failing to hold on to the ball.
So take them off. Give the Galaxy defence the pace and energy of Ricketts or Bair to worry about. At least that would prevent the Whitecaps defence having to deal with the ball returning to them more often than was really necessary.
But the change never happened. Cavallini continued to lumber and Montero continued to chug along to no avail and the Galaxy got closer and closer to the winning goal until, with a bitter tang of justice, it finally came.
Maybe Dos Santos didn’t feel comfortable taking either of his two star forwards off? Maybe he wanted to let the bench players know that he rates them so poorly that they aren’t worth using even when the first choice players are dead on their feet?
Maybe he just thought he’d ride his luck out to the end?
After the game Dos Santos said that he knew his players were tired but he left both Montero and Cavallini on because of their quality in front of goal.
That would make more sense if either of them had looked remotely like scoring in the second half and, while throwing speed on for the final twenty minutes is the most simplistic of all football tactics, there are times when it makes sense.
This was clearly one of those times and everybody but the Whitecaps coaching staff could see it.
Whatever the reasoning, both he and his team now have a week to ponder forlornly on what might have been.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Bush-5, Nerwinski-6*, Adnan-5, Godoy-6, Veselinovic-5, Owusu-5, Baldsisimo-5, Teibert-5, Dajome-5, Montero-5, Cavavllini-3