For all the angst of watching Seattle and Portland breeze though MLS in recent years perhaps no team has really brought home how bad the Whitecaps have been at this whole thing quite like Sporting Kansas City.
An “unfashionable” team who don’t spend a fortune but have an established style of play and who bring in players who suit that style of play rather than chasing either the big name signing or whichever player happens to be available at the time.
They are a template for how to run a team in MLS.
And, unsurprisingly, they beat the Whitecaps 3-0 on Sunday brunch time, not least because they have built a better squad and have a better coach.
It’s possible that Marc Dos Santos looked at the previous games this season and thought that Jake Nerwinski had done just fine and didn’t really need much cover from the wide player in front of him.
It’s also possible that he thought he did need cover and that Ryan Raposo was the best option to do so.
But neither of those possibilities place the coach in a favourable light and Kansas eyed up the right side of the Whitecaps with the same relish a hungry lion eyes up a wounded antelope.
The game was over before Dos Santos replaced Raposo with Baldisimo and the Whitecaps somewhat improved for ten minutes before half-time, but the second half was a return to Kansas failing to score from the numerous chances they created and Vancouver snatching at the very occasional chance that fell their way.
The only real positive from this performance is that it will have surely dented the belief that the Whitecaps were establishing a consistent style of play and that little needed to change other than the occasional tweak here and there.
The whole “no goals from open play” thing is starting to look less like an amusing quirk and more like a harbinger of doom as, with Dajome out of sorts, they produced no real incisiveness with Cavallini once again being the bulwark to more attacks than the defenders around him and Alexandre, once again, operating in areas of the pitch where his capacity to inflict damage was mostly related to his reputation for falling to the ground at the slightest provocation.
This was the first time the Whitecaps have been embarrassing to watch this season, but there were so many things wrong with the performance that it seems hard to think of it as “just one of those games”.
“We have to be better”, “Lessons will be learned” and “It’s a process”.
Time for the post-game hits to get an airing.
Time also for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Crepeau-5, Nerwinski-1, Veselinovic-4, Cornelius-4, Gutierrez-3, Bikel-5, Alexandre-4, Raposo-1, Dajome-3, Caicedo-2, Cavallini-2 (Baldisimo-5*)