For the first half of the first half against Sporting Kansas City the Whitecaps were given a footballing lesson.
Out played, out pressed and out thought they somehow hung in there in the vain hope that a moment of quality from a player with the vision to arrive in the right place at the right time pulled them out of the mire.
But, before Russell Teibert added the second with a trademark rapier strike from the edge of the box, Ryan Gauld had pounced on a Brian White knockdown to give Vancouver the lead.
Up to (and following) his goal Teibert had his worst game of the season. Dawdling on the ball and misplacing any pass that wasn’t sent backwards (seemingly with the express intention of putting a teammate in trouble).
Oh well, the footballing gods can be fickle masters.
A two goal lead barely seemed credible and when Johnny Russell brought one back for Kansas before the break it felt like only a matter of time before the Whitecaps succumbed again.
But they didn’t,
To their credit they kept Kansas at arms length for the whole of the second half and only those invested in the result would have felt that the equalizer was coming.
The Whitecaps were certainly helped by having three actual central defenders playing in central defence, but they were also helped by the return of Javain Brown who, even playing on the left, offered the attacking threat that’s been lacking in his absence.
Given the way other results went this weekend a win felt as close to a necessity as it could be and the Whitecaps earned this one with a mix of old fashioned grit and new fashioned nous.
In the circumstances this might have been the most impressive win of the Santini era thus far.
Although “era” seems excessive for such a short amount of time. “Epoch”? Period?” “Span”?
Let’s go with “Span”.
Given the circumstances this might have been the most impressive win of the Santini span thus far.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Crepeau-6, Gaspar-5, Brown-6, Godoy-6*, Veselnovic-5.5, Jungwirth-6, Owusu-4.5, Teibert-4, Dajome-4, Gauld-5, Whire-5 (Bikel-5.5)