Whether you think the Whitecaps 0-0 tie with San Jose on Friday evening was a good result or not depends on your perspective.
If you think the rest of the season is an attempt to get into the playoffs then it’s almost certainly not enough.
If you think the rest of the season is an attempt at keeping Marc Dos Santos in his role for next season then it might just about be fine.
Let’s deal with the playoffs first.
There seems to be an assumption in some quarters that, once the Whitecaps return to BC Place, there will be a change in both their form and their fortunes.
Any maybe there will be some kind of uptick in the results at first, but they will still be who they are no matter where they are located (and isn’t that true of all of us to some extent?) And the game against San Jose was a classic example of who they are.
A limited team led by a coach who plays to the limitations.
The tactic was clear.
Keep the game tight for sixty minutes and then introduce Gauld and Dajome to try to steal it at the end.
And it worked.
Apart from the “stealing it at the end” aspect of the plan, which kind of was the whole plan really.
Not that the players can be blamed. A midfield of Bikel, Owusu and Teibert is never going to unlock a defence. And watching Teibert and Nerwinski attempting to make attacking progress down the left was like watching two Englishman trying to order Sheperd’s Pie in an Oaxacan Cantina.
Commendable effort but no discernable results.
It’s frustrating to think that just a tad more tactical bravery could have turned all these interminable ties into a combination of wins and losses that could have put more points on the board (unbeaten run be damned).
So if the team isn’t set up to make the playoffs for this season, is it set up to keep Dos Santos in the role for next?
He’s a coach who is happier to just fail and justify that failure with excuses (some reasonable, some not) and examples of “what ifs” and “could have beens” than he is to aim for success and and risk his team being fully exposed.
So, if the Whitecaps improve somewhat toward the end of the campaign and fall short of the post-season by a maybe win or two, then no doubt Dos Santos will point to the time spent away in Utah and injuries and the late arrival of Gauld to justify another run at making this team a success.
There’s every reason to think he might be given that chance, but there’s very little reason to think he would succeed.
He is what he is and neither a different time nor a different place will change that.
His essence precedes his existence.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Crepeau-5.5, Nerwinski-5, Brown-5.5, Veselinovic-5.5, Rose-4.5, Teibert-5, Bikel-6*, Owusu-5, Raposo-5, Caicedo-5, White-4.5 (Gauld-5, Dajome-4.5)