Vancouver Whitecaps: The thrill of the chase

The Vancouver Whitecaps midfield try to prevent another San Jose counter attack.

“The game against TFC was one that the Whitecaps could have lost 3-0, won 3-0, tied 3-3 or any of the variants in between.”

So it was written following the Whitecaps last home MLS game and so it also came to pass on Saturday afternoon as Vancouver and San Jose Keystone Kopped their way to a 3-3 tie.

The first half was less Mack Sennett though and more Senate filibuster as the Whitecaps tried in vain to prevent the passage of the ball through their midfield.

It’s hard to know if the Vancouver defence is just flat out bad or whether they are made to look worse than they are by having no cover from the players in front of them.

It’s probably a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B, but it must get tiresome to constantly see the opposition charging toward you while your midfield chases them in vain like, well, like the Keystone Kops.

At half-time Vanni Sartini decided that having two defensive midfielders who can’t defend the midfield is a worse option than having one defensive midfielder and one creative midfielder who can’t defend the midfield and the game exploded into a myriad of examples of why neither of these teams will achieve anything more this season than hoping to squeak into the playoffs with a late burst of good form.

At least it was entertaining.

And it also raised the distinct possibility that Lucas Cavallini may not be a terrible signing after all. While Brian White struggles without a sense of order and competence in the build up play, Cavallini thrives on chaos and he was the catalyst for almost all the good things the Whitecaps did on the day.

The opposite can be said for Cristian Dajome as the Colombian continues to struggle to find any kind of form this year. Maybe that’s the result of being played in so many different positions but, whatever the cause, his decision making and final ball have been consistently poor for too long now.

The impact of Ryan Gauld’s absence can’t be overstated as the Scot makes the rest of the team more “intelligent” by making the runs and passes that force the right on field decision to be made. And neither can the poor off-field off-season be discounted.

Too few deals made too late have left the team at the mercy of the Fates and the Fates rarely have any mercy and so injuries, visa delays and Covid protocols are conspiring to make the Whitecaps merely the sum of some badly assembled parts.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Cropper-5.5, Brown-4, Nerwinski-4, Jungwirth-4.5, Godoy-5, Teibert-3, Berhalter-3, Dajome-2, Raposo-5, White-4, Cavallini-6.5* (Baldisimo-5.5)

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