Vancouver Whitecaps still alive and kicking

From last night but now with a couple of additional notes.

And so the Vancouver Whitecaps remain alive for the season.

More alive than they were before the 2-0 victory over a surprisingly dislikable Austin FC but less alive than they would really want to be.

But, then again, who among is actually as alive as we really want to be?

This was another in what can now be called a series of strong and dependable Vancouver performances and whether that run is down to the slightly tweaked version of the three at the back system that Sartini has started to play or whether it’s down to the radical tactic of playing players in their right positions is a question for another day.

But it’s clear that Luis Martins in the left sided role has improved the attacking quality of the team and Pedro Vite has grown with each game and, in this game, was both a creative force going forward and reliable out ball for a defence that often struggles to find the right pass.

In retrospect the decisions to play anyone but a wing-back in the wing back role feels like an experiment that was more for Sartini’s intellectual curiosity than it was about making the team better. Raposo and Dajome now seem like the square pegs in round holes they undoubtedly were. As Gramsci said “History teaches, but has no pupils”. If Sartini is still in charge next year he needs to learn from his mistakes and value simplicity when it comes to selection.

It seems that playing out of defence to a player who wants to look to create chances is better for the team than playing the ball out to a player who wants to give it straight back to the defence.

But maybe none of this would matter at all if Ryan Gauld is on this kind of form?

The Scot scored the first, created the second and was both a constant threat going forward and a constant menace to any Austin player in charge of the ball.

Gauld might not be a natural leader in the sense of his vocal presence on the field but the highest paid player on the team setting a good example to his teammates certainly does no harm.

Was Gauld making a point in the way he praised Brian White after the game? It certainly felt that he was making a very clear point about who he preferred to play with. Even going so far as to credit White with tiring the opposition defenders out to allow Cavallini to get his goal.

On an unrelated note, Lucas Cavallini returned to the action, played well, scored a goal and was involved in a series of unnecessary scuffles.

One more game left (in the regular season) which is a trip to a slumping Minnesota and, no doubt, an afternoon of scoreboard watching and mental arithmetic.

Time fore the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Hasal-6, Nerwinski-5.5, Veselinovic, 6, Blackmon-6, Gressel-4, Martins-6, Teibert-5, Cubas-6, Vite-6.5, Gauld-7.5*, White-5 (Cavallini-5)

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