In their last three games the Vancouver Whitecaps have lost 5-1 to LAFC, tied 0-0 with Cavalry FC and lost 3-0 to Sporting Kansas City.
Each one of those is a bad result in its own individually tortuous way, but perhaps the most painful thing of all is that in every one of those games the opposition have played as a team and the Whitecaps have played like, well, not a team.
The defence has no meaningful connection to the midfield, the midfield exists more as a performance art project than a functioning entity on a soccer field and the forward line is comprised of Yordy Reyna chasing everything down in a vain attempt at relevance.
In retrospect it feels as though that last minute goal they conceded in Seattle way back when broke this team.
Broke its belief in its own system and broke its belief in its own sense of progress (On a side note it also broke my TV remote control as I slammed it against the couch in frustration. A moment I now think of as an homage to the opening scene of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film “2001: A Space Odyssey” rather than the hapless act of somebody who needs to get some perspective on life).
Anyway, against Kansas Marc Dos Santos tried to reboot things by bringing in a PC and a Mac.
The former was a desperate attempt to turn the life sapping enervation of watching Felipe and Russell Teibert (sometimes both!) turn every possible forward pass into its direct opposite and it didn’t work.
PC wasn’t quite as unaware of the notion of ball progression as his forebears, but his contribution was negligible at best and certainly offered nothing in terms of creating chances.
The Mac decision was a tad more controversial.
Max Crepeau has been the Whitecaps best player this season, so to leave him out of a game the team simply had to win to even pretend the playoffs were still a possibility was odd.
In his post game presser Dos Santos claimed that the idea to start MacMath was based on the upcoming tough schedule, but he really did need to put out his best team for the Kansas game and his decision backfired spectacularly.
MacMath made a few decent saves, but was clearly at fault for the second Kansas goal that well and truly doused the flame of any possible Vancouver comeback.
The coach also gave young Theo Bair his first MLS start and while Bair did well initially it was obvious by as early as the sixtieth minute that he wasn’t going to change the game.
Which begs the question as to why Ardaiz wasn’t used until the eighty-ninth minute.
Whatever the reason the Uruguayan can surely now be consigned to another of those Whitecaps signings that make us all scratch our heads and ask “You know, that guy they had on loan for a season, he was a young DP, but never really played? What was his name?”
In defence of Dos Santos he doesn’t have too many players who can change games right now and some of his decisions were probably down to a sense of simply tinkering around the edges in the hope that something might work rather than the wholesale changes he must know are needed.
Yet being outplayed is one thing and being outspent is another, but the Whitecaps are now beginning to be outworked in games and that can’t be allowed to stand.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
MacMath-4, Nerwinski-5, Adnan-5,5, Godoy-5, Rose-4.5, Henry-5, Erice-4.5, PC-4, In-Beom-4.5, Bair-4.5, Reyna-5.5*