Vancouver Whitecaps: Once Upon a Time in Houston

Watching the Whitecaps 0-0 tie with Houston on Wednesday evening was a bit like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie.

The premise sounded exciting.

Baldisimo and Nerwinski together in central defence at last!

Metcalfe returns for more thrills and spills at left wing-back!

Dajome and Cavallini reunited in attack!

But, in the end, all we got was an homage to an homage. The semiotics of significance but no substance. Moving pictures that don’t move us.

But a point is still a point and more than one Whitecaps coach has kept himself in the role with road wins and ties that should have been defeats were it not for good luck and better goalkeeping.

There’s always the default excuses of travel and squad rotation to take into account too, but the concerns from this game revolved around players who are supposed to be key to the team.

Owusu and Bikel were both anonymous at best. The former was very good in the previous game and the latter has been very good in more than one game this season.

But midfield inconsistency is kryptonite to team success and it’s easy to see why a coach would take a regular 5.5/10 from Russell Teibert in every game than risk a 2 or 3 from the alternative.

Lucas Cavallini lumbered around the field without contributing anything of note before being withdrawn at half time for an injury.

Dajome’s work rate can’t be questioned, but sooner or later the constant switching of his role is going to impact his performance (see Baldisimo and Metcalfe for further reading).

And how dumb does the decision to send Derek Cornelius out on loan look now?

On the positive side Gauld and Caicedo offered life and movement when they appeared for the second half and Jungwirth demonstrated that it’s possible to pass a ball out from the back while simultaneously knowing where a teammate is.

And the playoffs remain a possibility.

No doubt that Sartini was juggling his resources and got away with it.

But that’s all it was. It wasn’t a tactical triumph. It was a series of bad decisions that somehow ended up as not being a disaster.

But “getting away with it” isn’t the foundation for long term success. No matter what some people in the Whitecaps organization have had a tendency to think.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Crepeau-6.5*, Brown-5, Metcalfe-5, Rose-4.5, Nerwinski-5, Baldisimo-4.5, Bikel-3, Owusu-3, Raposo–4.5, Dajome-4.4, Cavallini-3 (Gauld-4.5, Caicedo-4.5, Jungwirth-5.5)

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