If you spend the build up to a cup game against a “lesser” opponent emphasizing how important that game is and if you also select what (you think) is close to your best starting eleven for that game then you had better leave that game with a good result.
Marc Dos Santos completed the first two tasks of the above triumvirate, but failed at the final hurdle as his team lost 4-3 to Pacific FC in the Canadian Championship.
And that score line flattered a Whitecaps team who, in retrospect, lost the tie in the first fifteen minutes as they allowed their opponents to constantly harry them out of possession and set up the narrative for the evening.
There’s something quite endearing about this Vancouver team somehow believing they don’t have to work to beat a CPL side, but that’s how it looked for the majority of the game
It didn’t help that Vancouver were horrendous at the back, overrun in midfield and devoid of any attacking guile short of Ryan Gauld.
The whole performance carried a stench of hubris.
The seeming belief that the current MLS unbeaten run (mostly ties, but there we go) had somehow established them as an elite force in North American soccer that simply needed to turn up to sweep aside their poor island neighbours.
It was embarrassing to watch on the field but, from a coaching point of view, it was a complete disaster.
Dos Santos could have given the likes of Hasal, Jungwirth, Gaspar and Ricketts the chance to play for their places without sacrificing any real quality (and maybe added some hunger).
Instead there were just a couple of changes aimed at throwing a nod to the Canadian contingent while struggling on with the belief that Rose and Nerwinski are fit for purpose on a regular basis.
But it’s unfair to single out individuals.
This was a collective failure of tactics, basic footballing skills and any sense of what can happen when a team thinks it is so much better than it actually is.
A damning indictment of every failing we’ve all witnessed for so long and which Dos Santos seems incapable of either seeing or solving.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Crepeau-3, Nerwinski-1, Brown-2 Rose-1, Veselinovic-1, Bikel-3, Metcalfe-2.5, Gauld-6*, Dajome-2, White-1, Raposo-2 (Caicedo-3, Owusu-2)