Okay, I’m just going to throw this out there. Run it up the flag to see who salutes. Launch the ship to see if it floats.
But might the Vancouver Whitecaps turn out to be fun to watch this season?
Not fun in the sense of purely joyous football of course. But at least fun in the sense of a group of decent players trying win games by treating the ball as their friend rather than a thing to be treated with disdain.
The last two (MLS) home games have seen the Whitecaps score six goals without conceding a shot on target and, while it’s probably true they aren’t taking their chances with enough efficiency, they are still the fourth highest scorers in the Western Conference.
On Saturday evening they comfortably outplayed a poor Timbers team with Ali Ahmed once again showing that his ability to run with the ball offers a new dimension to the team, Julian Gressel was a constant threat with his deliveries and Ryan Gauld got his groove back (especially in the second half).
Elsewhere Sebastian Berhalter was a more than ample replacement for the injured Cubas and Mathias Laborda showed what a good defender he will turn out to be (although probably not a good crosser of the ball).
Simon Becher found out that that he’s not ready to lead the line on his own just yet but Brian White got the reward for constantly being in the right place thanks to Gressel firing the ball at him in sheer frustration that his team hadn’t yet scored.
Onwards and upwards then.
There’s now a meaningless second leg in Los Angeles followed by a trip to Austin, before a week of rest gives the team time to take a breath and then we’ll see if they can maintain momentum for the rest of the season.
What are these strange feelings I’m feeling?
Could it be optimism?
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Takaoka-5, Laborda-6, Blackmon-6, Veselinovic-6, Martins-5.5, Cubas-5, Ahmed-6.5, Gressel-6.5*, Gauld-6, Vite-5.5, Becher-4 (Berhalter-6, White-5)