Vancouver Whitecaps reined in by Seattle

Now with additional meanderings.

It’s unclear if Vanni Sartini really likes Patrick Metcalfe or if he hates him so much he just wants to see him suffer.

Either way there doesn’t seem to be a positional problem the coach doesn’t think Metcalfe can’t solve.

And this week the Canadian was asked to channel his inner Chiellini and play in the centre of defence.

It didn’t work.

There’s nothing specifically wrong with asking a young player to ply his trade in different areas of the field. It may, ultimately, be beneficial to their development. But Metcalfe has yet to prove that he can thrive in MLS in his preferred position, let alone alternatives.

Not just because of Metcalfe however. The midfield offered little cover in the first twenty minutes and Thomas Hasal must have felt like a Candian watching the Ottoman horde approaching (Trojan watching the Greeks pour out of a horse?) as Seattle cut through the Whitecaps time and time and time again.

It seems there are some who think Hasal’s performance last night was the sole cause of the defeat. That he definitively proved he was not capable of being an MLS goalkeeper. Is this some ingrained hockey way of thinking I wonder when it comes to goalies? Either way he only culpable for the final of the four goals and was, lest we forget, operating behind the worst defence the Whitecaps have fielded this season.

With the score at 2-0 Vancouver regained (gained?) some composure and went in at the break only 2-1 down thanks to the obligatory Brian White goal.

But the second half was a carbon copy (mirror image?) of the first with the Sounders dominating until they took a two goal lead and the Whitecaps finding good opportunities arising as their hosts sat back.

They are at least capable of creating these opportunities. And while Gauld and White are picking up the plaudits, Deiber Caicedo is gradually proving himself to be a very useful MLS player.

He still needs to work on his final pass/shot but there’s a lot of upside for a twenty-year old who has adapted so well to the league.

A fourth Seattle goal at the death capped a bad night for both the Whitecaps and Hasal in particular, but this game was always going to be one in which anything the Whitecaps took from it was a bonus.

The question is whether Sartini’s insistence on playing the same system regardless of who is available is the wisest.

He could have gone with four at the back and put a holding midfielder in front of the backline without completely destroying the cohesion but, to be fair, he has chosen to live or die by this method and so be it.

The final tally of points will determine if he was right.

Yet there is something refreshing about a Vancouver coach not basing their every selection on nullifying the strengths of the opposition and thus admitting their belief in their own weaknesses. “This is who we are and we live or die by that” is a brave, but admirable philosophy. And certainly one that has produced a team that is far more enjoyable to watch than any over the last few seasons.

On the positive side Vancouver still manage to look dangerous whenever they do get forward, but often lack that microsecond of composure that can make all the difference when a chance presents itself.

The next game against Kansas is a huge one.

Lose that and there will be the sense that the season has slipped away just when they seemed to have it in their grasp.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Hasal-3, Gaspar-3, Dajome-5, Nerwinski-4, Jungwirth-4, Metcalfe-3, Teibert-4.5, Owuwsu-4.5, Caicedo-5.5, Gauld-5.5*, White-4.5

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