What a frustrating afternoon of football that was.
The 1-1 tie with FC Dallas featured the visitors disrupting the rhythm of the game at every opportunity, a referee who often seemed to be buffering, so delayed and random were his decisions and because the Whitecaps failed to build on the momentum of the midweek 5-0 win.
One would have hoped they would come out from the first whistle pushing Dallas back toward their own goal but, instead, they allowed Dallas to make the early running, conceded in the first five minutes and spent the rest of the game never quite overcoming the hurdles needed to take all three points.
They came close at times, but it was mostly half chances rather than carving open their opponent in a way that the improved passing in the middle of the park should be leading to.
Partly that’s down to the final delivery.
Brown and Raposo word hard in getting up and down the field but the former lacks the quality of cross too often and the latter’s need to cut inside to get the delivery in allows the opposition defence time to settle.
That wouldn’t be as big an issue if there were better runners from midfield but, unlike in mid-week, that never really happened.
There’s also something incongruous about Sartini simultaneously claiming that his team played well while explaining why he changed the tactical set up twice in the second-half.
Starting the half with Cordova and White was a mistake (White is not a number ten) and then switching to three at the back to match up with Dallas was indicative of the kind of tactical tinkering that makes it harder for the players to settle into the game and feels more about the coach wanted to “do something” rather than being called for by the state of the game.
There are still promising signs however.
As mentioned earlier, the passing definitely is better. The depth of the squad should help given the numerous competitions the team are in and the spine of the team looks solid.
It’s now just about a finding a little more decisiveness and quality with the final ball, playing for the full ninety minutes and the coach trusting in his own process.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Takaoka-6, Brown-6, Raposo-5.5, Veselinovic-5.5, Blackmon-5, Cubas-6.5*, Gressel-5, Schopff-4.5, Dajome-4.5, Gauld-5.5, White-5.5 (Cordova-4.5)