Strange to think that by nine o’clock tonight we will know all there is to know about how the 2021 season will pan out for the Vancouver Whitecaps. But, while we wait for this slew of knowledge to be downloaded into our brains, let’s take some time to think about what we need from the team this year.
People often come up to me in the street and say “What we, the general public, want to read about is three fairly abstract things that will make the team better this season. We, the general public, would like that very much”.
So here is the answer to this oft asked query.
Understand how numbers work– The Whitecaps seem to be labouring under the mistaken belief that three points at the start of the season aren’t as important as three points near the end.
Time after time a team like the Philadelphia Union (And, in MLS, about forty percent of the teams are “like the Philadelphia Union”) will arrive at BC Place for the first game of the campaign with a weakened team that features the Assistant Kit Manager’s fifteen year old son playing on the wing and an inflatable kayak in the holding midfield role and Vancouver will fold like a cheap suit.
Four games later they will have two points, already be five points off the playoffs, but spend all their time talking about the need to settle in the new players and adapt to the new system.
Come season end there will be a desperate attempt to win the last three games in a futile attempt to sneak into the last playoff place.
Maybe treat the opening games as seriously as the closing ones?
No excuses- “Player A hasn’t got a visa sorted”, “Players B and C are injured”, “Player D needs time to adapt to MLS”.
You know what? Cry me a river.
The Whitecaps unspoken Mission Statement since they moved to MLS has effectively been “It’s not our fault!”
And that lack of sense of responsibility has seeped down onto the field and become toxic. Give professional athletes an excuse for their failings and, nine times out of ten, they will embrace it.
The team need to play the hand they are dealt and stop leaning on the crutch of what might have been.
Stick to the plan- The most disappointing aspect of Marc Dos Santos’ tenure has been his flip flopping on how he sets up the team to play. Always just two games away from changing to a new system without giving the current one time to bed in.
If he fails this year then it’s hard to see him sticking around for another season, so best to fail on the thing he actually believes in than on a desperate attempt to chase success based on the latest tactical whim or random good performance by Player E.
It would also be great if the Whitecaps signed some players with last names rather than just letters, but we are where we are.
See you on the other side of the Portland game.