Impressive and important though the ten game unbeaten streak had been the Whitecaps spent much of that time dodging bullets like a prisoner of war zig-zagging across an open field while guards strafe the air with gunfire.
Failing to show any urgency in the first half, waiting for the opposition to score before coming to life, relying on substitutes to tilt the momentum.
Each one of those failings will, sooner or later, hit a major artery.
And so it was in the the 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers on Friday evening.
Not that things were helped by Vanni Sartini’s team selection in which Patrick Metcalfe and Russell Teibert were asked to play as (checks notes) wing backs.
It’s unfair to blame either player for the lack of success of that particular plan, but any system in which Teibert is the better of the attacking options isn’t really fit for purpose.
Sartini rang the changes during the second half and Javain Brown provided more threat in his first five minutes than Metcalfe and Teibert had throughout the whole game, Deiber Caicedo offered some much needed energy and pace and almost netted twice and we also got to see the “Cavallini hat-trick” of consistently failing to hold on to possession, exasperated arms thrown into the air at the imaginary failing of a team mate and an unnecessary scuffle with an opponent.
It has to be a matter of time before Cavallini’s salary is offloaded to make way for a player who better fits the plan for how this team is being built.
This loss doesn’t destroy Vancouver’s playoff hopes, but it should shift the emphasis toward using the remaining games to assess which players deserve to be here next season and which don’t.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Crepeau-4.5, Metcalfe-3, Teibert-4, Godoy-4, Veselinovic-4, Jungwirth-4.5, Bikel-4, Baldisimo-5*-Gauld-5, Dajome-3, White-3 (Brown-5, Caicedo-5, Cavallini-1)