One step at a time.
The Whitecaps 2-2 tie with the Seattle Sounders on Saturday evening wasn’t a season defining turnaround in fortune, but it was a sign that Vancouver are capable of better than they have been in the season thus far.
Just the simple act of wanting to progress the ball forward at more than half speed makes them a more effective unit and makes use of the pace out wide of Dajome and Caicedo.
And Dajome seems to be the catalyst for the team right now. If he’s playing well then the Whitecaps are playing well. And even though Caicedo frustratingly lacks the final product (both in finishing and in passing) his presence can be enough to disconcert the opposition.
It wouldn’t be the Whitecaps though if there weren’t some things to baffle us.
Why they refuse to defend the edge of their own area from set-pieces remains a mystery for the ages.
Time after time they will successfully clear a corner only to find that an opponent has an unchallenged attempt on goal from twenty yards out.
Maybe there’s some statistical evidence to back up defending in this way? But, if so, the Whitecaps are defying the odds in all the wrong ways.
It’s also perplexing why Marc Dos Santos doesn’t make more use of his whole squad, both before and during games.
Is Leonard Owusu so bad in training that he is a worse option to start in midfield than the dead zone that is Russell Teibert? Are the defence in so much need of organization that playing Andy Rose is a better option than allowing Ranko Veselinovic and Erik Godoy to try to form a a partnership that could last for a few years?
And what’s with the reluctance to make changes during the game?
It was hotter than the sun in Seattle last night, but it took a Sounders equalizer to prompt the introduction of fresh legs (accompanied by the other relevant body parts too of course).
Next week Vancouver play FC Dallas, the only team in the West who have been worse than them this year.
Maybe there will be news by then that the fabled and mystical unicorn of a number ten has appeared in human form in the shape of Ryan Gauld, just as the prophecies have foretold?
But, whatever the case, the Whitecaps need to play with their heads up, both metaphorically and in actuality.
To be at least the sum of their parts, to always look to the horizon and not the ground, to believe in what can be and not be bound by what is, to avoid trite words of inspiration and reach inside themselves to be the team they want to be.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Crepeau-5, Bikel-5.5, Gutierrez-5.5, Rose-5, Godoy-5.5, Baldissimo-5, Teibert-4, Alexandre-5.5, Caicedo-5.5, Dajome-6*, Cavallini-5