In many ways the Whitecaps 2-1 loss to FC Dallas was far more concerning than their previous 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers.
The Portland game was just shambolic, but the performance against Dallas was far too reminiscent of all their failings from last year.
A lacklustre performance with hardly a player having their head in the game until they inevitably went behind and then rousing themselves to give Vanni Sartini just enough to clutch on to justify an argument that his team really deserved something from the game.
The first sixty minutes was a throw back to the flat out unprofessional performances of 2022. With very few players really that bothered about doing the basics and certainly nobody willing to get their foot on the ball or link up with a colleague to make a passing move of more than two hasty touches.
The release of the salary figures is never a good time to have a bad game, but Cordova and Schopf in particular continue to look so far away from justifying their pay packets that one of the reasons they may be playing so badly is that they constantly have their heads hung in shame and can’t see where they are passing the ball to.
Although the real highlight (highlight reel) of the first half was Ryan Raposo somehow managing to run the ball out of play even though he had acres of space and ne’er an opponent in sight.
And, for the third game in a row, the substitutions effectively ended any attacking threat the Whitecaps had. This time by taking Julian Gressel away from the danger area and opting to hit aimless long balls from the centre of the pitch into an increasingly crowed Dallas penalty box.
It’s hard to know what Ali Ahmed needs to do to get more playing time. Be less creative? Get rid of the ball faster no matter who he kicks it to?
Recently Sartini claimed that this team was special. It could turn out that they are “special” in the same way that my second cousin Greg was special.
And nobody wants that.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Takaoka-5, Laborda-5, Raposo-3, Brown-4, Veselinovic-3, Cubas-4, Schopf-2, Gressel-5*, Cordova-1, Vite-4, White-4