There’s an alternate timeline out there when, upon arriving in Vancouver, Marc Dos Santos decided to keep Kei Kamara for the 2019 season.
The veteran forward scored a dozen goals and, while that wasn’t enough to get the team into the playoffs, it was enough to keep the season alive until near the end and create the perception of progress.
In 2020 Lucas Cavallini arrives in a team that is already fashioned to play with a target man and, although a pandemic reeks havoc across the globe, Cavallini’s goals are enough to push Vancouver into the post-season.
Everyone is agreed that Dos Santos has the Whitecaps moving in the right direction.
But that isn’t the timeline we are living in and another failure of a campaign means that the reasons to keep Dos Santos are explanations for his failures rather than explications of his successes.
Too high a player turnover in to the first season, the disruptive effects of the pandemic in the second.
Perhaps the latter stages of this year have shown that he can put together a decent team given the right players? But there’s been nothing yet to indicate he can make the eleven better than the sum of their parts.
Chances are that he will be allowed to take a run at 2021, but nobody wants to see another season where Vancouver is coached by someone who thinks achieving the bare minimum is a worthy goal to be aimed for. Where excuses are as abundant as baseless transfer rumours.
But, future speculation aside, the Whitecaps played their final game of the season against an LA Galaxy team who are even more dysfunctional than they are and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
It takes character to be so committed to winning such a meaningless game, but it takes more character to be committed to winning meaningful games and that particular trait has eluded this team for the longest time.
But none of us can begrudge this squad and staff the relief of returning home after what has been the strangest of seasons.
And there will surely be time enough for a full post mortem and more idle speculation in the coming weeks.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Bush-6, Nerwinski-5.5, Gutierrez, 6, Godoy-6, Veselinovic, 5.5, Teibert-6.5, Bikel-6, Dajome-5.5, Adnan-6 Montero-6.5*, Cavallini-5.5