Vanni Sartini has gone all in on the Canadian Championship this season and he did so again on Wednesday evening against York United, starting all three of his Designated Players.
And it sort of worked.
In the first half the Whitecaps rarely looked troubled defensively, but were diffident going forward allowing the visitors ample time to regroup while Vancouver knocked the ball around with little real urgency.
That changed in the second half and with Raposo and Gauld both making runs in behind the York defence to create two much needed goals for Brian White and the game looked to be a done deal until substitutions were made and, as in the game against Dallas at the weekend the Whitecaps went from being on control to resorting to hacked clearances and hopeful punts forward.
The difference can’t all be down to the withdrawal of Andres Cubas but it feel as though the midfield suddenly went from anticipating where the ball would be to running to where the ball had just been.
Elsewhere Cristian Dajome continues to struggle displaying a bizarre mix of thinking too much and not thinking at all whenever he has the ball, but Ryan Raposo continues to grow in the wide role and is now much more of an attacking threat than he ever was before.
These games are always tough (as the Whitecaps have demonstrated in the past) but a final against Toronto is a fitting reward for Sartini’s willingness to invest so much into a tournament that has been mostly a source of angst for this team.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Cropper-5, Dajome-3, Raposo-5, Godoy-4.5, Jungwirth-5, Nerwinski-5.5, Teibert-4.5, Cubas-6*, Gauld, 5.5, White, 5, Cavallini-4.5