Vancouver Whitecaps in dreamland

From yesterday but now with additional meanderings.

There are few things more dispiriting in life than settling down to watch a perfectly competent TV series only to suddenly discover that, horror of horrors, this is the “Dream Sequence” episode!

Any narrative arc and character development will be cast aside as we are forced to watch the main character wander through a door that isn’t really there to discover the rest of the cast (dressed as various summer vegetables) dancing a slow waltz around a swimming pool filled with water the colour of blood. Meanwhile, the main character’s mother scream insults from atop a turquoise coloured elephant while the camera zooms in and out with all the grace of said elephant navigating an Olympic level slalom course.

Whether all these shenanigans are due to the writers believing they have something interesting to say about the subconscious world of the hero or are just a way of padding out the season to the full ten episodes is irrelevant.

For the hapless viewer the whole thing is disorienting and disjointed.

And every Vancouver Whitecaps game is essentially a dream sequence episode writ large.

It may be a case of of confirmation bias but the Whitecaps always seem to be worse immediately after an extended break. Almost as though time spent on the training ground thinking about how they should be playing disrupts their synapses and they need the cold reality of actual games to get themselves back up to speed.

A team that was clueless in one game can be tightly disciplined in the next, players unable to control the ball in one game are killing passes with the outside of their foot in another and a defence that once resembled a secondhand sieve suddenly resembles a sturdy shield.

A big part of that shield were the performances of Godinho and Brown. In recent games the former has looked to be the epitome of an attacking wing-back and the latter the embodiment of a solid right sided central defender. One can only assume that some kind of mind/body transference experiment has taken place between the two of them.

And so it came to pass in the 2-0 victory in Dallas on Saturday evening.

The team that was criminally poor in Seattle became legally good in Frisco as they limited the home side to hopeful crosses and less hopeful shots.

New arrival Andres Cubas certainly helped in shoring up the midfield, but so did Russell Teibert. And a back three of Brown, Veselinovic and Blackmon benefited from the cover provided and kept their shape with aplomb for most of the game.

So who will Sartini ultimately partner Cubas with? A defensive minded Teibert or Berhalter or a more attack minded Alexandre or Vite (or Gauld)? Or does he see Cubas as offering enough going forward to retain the security of the two man midfield cover? Recent history suggests the coach is reluctant to free up his central pairing to do anything more than offer the odd foray going forward.

Up front Cavallini, Dajome and Caicedo worked hard without ever really creating anything from open play after the early goal. But that is of no import.

The road trip was salvaged.

Only a fool would definitively say that this team were now on the up, but they are at least not on the down and the sight of Gauld and White coming off the bench indicated that this is a squad that can probably achieve more in the second half of the season than it has in the first.

Neither Gauld nor White have settled into the season yet, but the thought of both Cubas and Gauld (two players who can genuinely read the game) both playing near the top of their form is not an unpleasant one.

But we would do well to remember that they still remain as unpredictable as a third rate writer’s room and that they will always be just one game away from doing something that makes no sense at all.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Cropper-5.5, Godinho-6, Raposo-6, Brown-6, Veselinovic-5.5, Blackmon-5.5, Cubas-5.5, Teibert-6*, Dajome-5, Caicedo-5.5, Cavallini-5.5

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