With the scores tied at half-time in the Saturday evening game between the Whitecaps and Minnesota United Adrian Heath, the Minnesota coach, decided that his team weren’t good enough and made a change.
It worked and Minnesota dominated the second half.
Meanwhile Marc Dos Santos watched all this happen, made one switch that made his team more defensive, and then waited until his team conceded the inevitable goal before changing to a more attacking lineup and discovering that (Spoiler alert!) playing a more attacking lineup means more attacks.
More attacks means more chances for “things” to happen and Cristian Dajome “won” a last gasp penalty to give the Whitecaps a point they didn’t deserve.
And that point might not be enough anyway. They now face three road games in eight days before they (finally) return to BC Place. And, no doubt, we will hear much about how tough that schedule is in the coming days (while perhaps ignoring that Minnesota were on their third game in eight days without that seeming to be a reason for Vancouver to take advantage of their plight).
The jury has been out on whether Dos Santos is an innately conservative coach or simply one who isn’t capable of sending out a team that can take control of the game.
It’s probably a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B, but the arrival of Ryan Gauld should settle the matter once and for all.
And while there are those who think that the appearance of a “Number 10” heralds a new era of free flowing football, samba style soccer and the dawning of the new Age of Enlightenment, all signs point to Gauld being mainly a “get out of jail free” card for Dos Santos. Set up the team in a way that shows ultimate respect to the opponent and hope that Gauld can create something from the scraps.
In a way Minnesota offer some hope that this might work.
Nobody would describe Adrian Heath as a tactical mastermind (Maybe Heath himself I suppose?) but the arrival in recent seasons of better players has allowed him to allow the team to be the sum of their parts and that’s been good enough to make them a playoff team.
And that’s what we have to hope for once Gauld begins to play.
That Dos Santos can find a system that allows Gauld to be on the ball and that he selects the right players to make that system work.
To at least make the team he sends out add up to the sum of their parts.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Hasal-, 4, Nerwinski-5, Gutierrez-4.5, Godoy-4.5, Veselinovic-5, Teibert-4.5, Bikel-3.5, Baldisimo-3, Caicedo-4.5, Dajome-5*, White-4 (Metcalfe-4)