Gone Laba Gone?

Any good therapist will tell you that when faced with an unpleasant situation the best thing to do is to ignore it completely until it goes away.

And that’s how we must all deal with the Whitecaps 1-0 defeat to New England at the weekend.

We must never speak of it again.

But what will we speak of?

Well, let’s just shoot the breeze on a few different topics should we?


Here we go then.


Yes, now.

Laba leaving?- Rumours are a-swirling that offers are a-brewing for midfielder Matias Laba.

There was a time when losing Laba would feel like a hole being blown right through the heart of the team but now his salary hit and the acquisitions of Tchani and Ghazal would make his loss feel a lot less painful.

And, like quite a few others, Laba hasn’t really grown as a player during his time in Vancouver so it’s yet another move that might be best for all parties.

And not just Laba? The signing of Stefan Marinovic is clearly a move made to deal with the expected departure of David Ousted and with Jordan Harvey in the last year of his contract and Christian Bolaños failing to turn back the hands of time (and with a World Cup year coming up) it’s tempting to think that their recent omissions are as much to do with positioning for their leaving as it is to rest them.

All speculation of course but there does seem to be the odd sense that the Whitecaps are a team in transition just as the business end of the season kicks into gear.

It will be interesting to see how Carl Robinson manages such a situation.

VAR has a bad weekend-  This is a great summary of just what went wrong with the Video Assistant Referee program over the recent games.

I was innately sceptical of the move when it was announced but the first weekend reassured me somewhat given how effectively it was used.

There was always the fear of unintended consequences however and they have reared their ugly head(s) with a vengeance.

One of the skills of a referee is that he has to manage a game and that means that certain calls are made differently during different games (and even during the same game should the situation require it).

VAR offers no such subtlety and places the already pressurised ref under even more pressure by forcing him to make a decision he doesn’t really want to make.

Maybe a solution would be to always pair the same ref and  VAR together to allow them to build up some kind of working relationship?

But whatever the solution it needs to be addressed to prevent the somewhat ironic outcome of the man in the middle losing even more of his authority in the eyes of the players and the fans.

Doing the business at home- We’ve all spent countless hours wondering just why the Whitecaps are so bad at breaking down teams at BC Place but one obvious reason is that they are incapable of forcing the opponent to lose their defensive shape.

In theory the arrival of Jordy Reyna should help that.

His willingness to drop deep to pick up the ball offers far more of a challenge than the tried and tested low percentage long ball over the top of the defence.

And if he and Tchani and Jacobson can somehow find a way to link up the defence with the midfield and the midfield with the forward line then we may not be faced with the frustrating sight of Vancouver desperately hoping for a last minute set-piece to solve their inability to score goals in their own stadium.

Is that  it?

Yes, that’s it.

You sure?

Yes, I’m positive. You can go now.

You’re not going to carry on when I leave?


Okay. Bye.



Not another Manic Maunday for the Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps trades during the recent signing window may not have set the pulses of fans throbbing like a badly maintained air conditioning unit in an oven factory* but they do at least address one obvious issue as well as one other issue that may have been less obvious but could turn out to be even more of a game changer.

We all knew that the over reliance on having both Kendall Waston and Tim Parker on the field at all times was a weak link for the side and the arrival of Aaron Maund from Real Salt Lake addresses that to a significant degree.

Maund is a natural central defender (which Andrew Jacobson isn’t) and has genuine MLS experience (which Christian Dean didn’t) and while it’s highly unlikely that Maund will be a regular starter his presence does at least give Carl Robinson some leeway if something should go awry with either of his two main men.

It also means that the coach has the option of switching to three at the back if he so chooses. That would be an out of character move for Robinson, but no so out of character that it’s impossible.

There can’t be many of us though who thought that what the Whitecaps really needed was another defensive midfielder and while there also can’t be many of us who can give genuine insight into how good Aly Ghazal actually is his CV suggests that he should be an upgrade on those who are already here.

On paper, and based on extensive viewing of You Tube clips, Ghazal poses the biggest threat to Matias Laba given that he seems to be able to both tackle and pass the ball rather than just tackle.

Laba has been a huge player for Vancouver during his time here and there’s a decent argument to say that when he is on form the Whitecaps are on form, but MLS is moving on and one trick ponies will soon be getting less and less saddle time and more and more pasture time.

That doesn’t mean we’ve approached the end of the Laba era in Vancouver, but we may well be at the beginning of the end of that particular time period.

And if the arrival of Ghazal means anything else to anybody it surely means the time has come for Russell Teibert to make a move.

Like Dean he has reached a plateau at the club that can only really be raised by a new challenge elsewhere because his meagre playing time here just took yet another hit.

Overall the Whitecaps now appear stacked in every position apart from the lone striker role meaning that Fredy Montero’s fitness and form becomes the most critical bellweather of success and failure going forward.

But a decent transfer window in the end for the club I think (but don’t plan the parade route just yet).

*Yes I know that oven factories are not actually any warmer than any other kind of factory. It’s call artistic licence!