On the positive side the Whitecaps 4-0 defeat to the Columbus Crew was only the first game of the season.
On the negative side all games are equal come the final reckoning so it’s still a terrible result.
Spoiler alert! It will be all negatives sides from this point forward.
Vanni Sartini decided that the best way to start the new season was to play Michael Baldisimo in the number six role with only Teibert and Gauld in the centre of midfield as any kind of barrier to protect him.
This didn’t work.
Teibert was anonymous and moving Gauld, the Whitecaps best attacking player by far, further away from the opposition goal also turned out to be not a good idea and Baldismo was faced with wave after wave of attacks swarming toward him with barely a moment to have the ball at his feet.
Also in the “not a good idea” file was playing a back three that hadn’t played together in a meaningful game before while leaving the experience of Jungwirth and Godoy on the bench.
Maybe the idea was to cure Thomas Hasal of any big game nerves with the use of some kind of innovative shock therapy? Survive this and you can survive anything kind of thing?
But even this cacophony of tactical calamities weren’t the worst aspect of the whole sorry affair.
Because the worst aspect of this performance was that it was an unnerving throwback to the Whitecaps biggest weakness last season.
The inability to perform consistently for ninety minutes.
Time and time again last year they got away with a sluggish first half by redeeming themselves in the second. But that’s a recipe for long term disaster and the hope was that the off season would be spent remedying that deficiency.
The hope was also that the off season would be spent working on how to play better football but seemingly neither of those options yet apply.
It may be only one game but there was enough awfulness to tip the pendulum of optimism firmly toward the pessimism side of the clock.
(Memo to self: That’s a terrible metaphor. Change it before you hit publish).
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Hasal-3, Brown-1, Dajome-4*, Nerwinski-3, Blackmon-2, Veselinovic-3, Baldsimo-2 Teibert-2, Gauld-4, Caicedo-2, Cavallini-4 (Berhalter-4)