For seventy minutes the Vancouver Whitecaps produced an excellent home performance against the Colorado Rapids.
They seized the initiative from the start, scored a goal through concerted pressing and Ryan Gauld gave and old school Designated Player display; all energetic hustle, deft touches and quality finishing to go with it.
Julian Gressel too gave an example of his worth to the team, always willing to get forward and always willing to hit the ball where it should be at the earliest opportunity.
In the centre of the pitch Cubas and Berhalter looked to have the makings of a promising partnership. The defensive stalwart that is Cubas aligned with the very welcome progressive passing of Berhalter.
To be fair it’s hard to make an objective judgment on Berhalter. As Bob Dylan sang “I can’t help it if you might think I am odd, when I say I’m loving you not for what you are, but what you’re not”.
It feels that who Berhalter isn’t is almost as important as who he is.
The second half began equally brightly with the Whitecaps looking the far more likely to score the next goal and then, with about seventy minutes gone, Vanni Sartini switched to three in the middle, presumably to shore up the game, and that left Gauld and Cavallini isolated.
All this move did was allow his players to switch to their most comfortable setting of dropping as deep as possible, reacting to events rather than taking responsibility for them and relying on good fortune to act as their twelfth man.
It worked in the sense that the Whitecaps won, but it failed miserably in that the Rapids could easily have scored at least two goals (probably more) in the denouement.
Will lessons be learned?
Of course not, but the three points keeps the season alive for at least two more weeks and that’s good enough for now.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Hasal-5.5, Gressel-6, Godhino-5, Brown-5, Veselinovic-6, Blackmon-5, Cubas-6, Berhalter-6, Schopf-4, Gauld-7.5*, Cavallini-3 (Raposo-4.5, Nerwinski-2, Teibert-3)