If Jake Nerwinski doesn’t have a recurring nightmare in which an adorable yellow penguin floats delightfully over his head only for him to slowly turn and see it being voraciously devoured by an angry minotaur dressed as an MLS left sided attacker then his subconscious isn’t doing half the work it should be doing.
But, even if his sleep is peaceful, opposing teams have certainly found a cheat code to score against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Whip in a cross from the right to a player on the left, who will inevitably be standing unguarded because every Whitecaps defender will have been drawn into the centre.
It happened again against San Jose on Saturday evening but, this time, it didn’t matter quite so much because Vancouver went from a timid and tepid first half to a lively and another word beginning with “L” second half.
One of the main reasons for that turnaround was the performance of Cristian Dajome, who is slowly becoming one of the most important players on the team.
There are still times when it feels as though he has never seen a football before in his life, but there are also times (becoming more frequent of late) when he is both the main outlet and the main creator and he is developing a burgeoning partnership with Fredy Montero and, to a lesser extent, Lucas Cavallini.
And, speaking of burgeoning partnerships, Bikel and Owusu in the middle and Godoy and Veselinovic at the back are slowly, sometimes very slowly, settling into what could, at times, be called cohesion.
There’s still a long way to go and the chances of the Whitecaps making the playoffs are probably fifty-fifty at the very best (and the chances of progressing in any meaningful way after that are much, much worse) but these tantalizing glimpses of a team playing with a plan are more than we had a few weeks ago.
And that’s not nothing.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Bush-6, Nerwinski-5.5, Adnan-5, Godoy-6, Veselinovic-6, Bikel-6, Owusu-6, Dajome-6*, Ricketts-5.5, Cavallini-5, Montero-5.5