What a strange situation.
The Whitecaps 2-2 tie with LAFC was a game in which the team played to their strengths, worried one of the better teams in the league and offered a blueprint for how they can achieve success going forward (in every sense of the word).
So what went right?
Gutierrez and Caicedo on the left and Brown with Dajome on the right offer both attacking and defensive options.
The two full backs are always keen to get forward and the two wide players are always happy to help out in defence (often from the front).
There was also more directness in attack. The willingness to hit an early cross and try to make something happen actually made things happen. So much more effective than the instinct to stop, pause and play the safe pass that allows the opposition to regroup.
Godoy and Veselinovic have been allowed time to form some kind of partnership. And the latter’s ability on the ball, and confidence to make use of that ability, offers more control than the patented long ball to who knows who.
The whole team had confidence on the ball. Willing to play out of the press rather than avoid it and so open up LAFC to the always dangerous counterattack.
But perhaps it was the midfield that made the real difference?
Alexandre always wants to play the forward pass, Baldisimo is becoming a nice hybrid of a holding player who can create and Bikel was exceptional at breaking up play and getting forward when the opportunity arose.
So that meant a three man midfield where all three offer some kind of attacking threat. Yes, you read that correctly.
A word to for Brian White, who will never be the long term solution, but offered decent hold up abilities and played with an unselfishness that allowed others to get into dangerous positions.
Impressive too was the way the team as a whole responded to the LA equalizer. Not dropping deep and fearful of conceding a third but pushing for (and probably deserving) a winning goal of their own.
A whole slew of sentences outlining how good the Whitecaps were. What a world!
None of this means that all problems are solved of course. This is still the same team that were so turgid against Houston just one week ago.
But it does mean that the problems can be solved.
That there’s already enough in this squad to be competitive in MLS if allowed to play in the right way.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Hasal-5.5, Brown-6.5, Gutierrez-7*, Godoy, 6.5, Veselinovic, -6.5, Baldsismo-6, Bikel-7, Alexandre-5.5, Dajome-6.5, Caicedo-6.5, White-5.5