A Trap Game for the Whitecaps

Let’s get one thing straight.

I frequently disagree with Vanni Sartini’s starting eleven and turn out to be wrong.

So I won’t hold myself up as an expert witness when it comes to such matters.

But his decision to start Teibert and Dajome against LAFC felt like a recipe for mediocrity and so it turned out to be.

It was probably justifiable to rest Ahmed and Becher after the heroics at the weekend, but Berhalter and Vite were much better options than a forward who continually struggles to pass or control the ball and a midfielder who can offer nothing going forward.

Although seeing Teibert maintain his passing stats while constantly putting a teammate in trouble did stir a strangely sweet sense of nostalgia.

Not that the Whitecaps were terrible.

Until LAFC scored it felt as though both team were mostly content to keep the game scoreless and take their chances in the second leg. But, once they did score, the game (and the tie) felt over.

A Cubas error and nice piece of skill probably flattered the visitors with a 3-0 final score, but it was another object (abject?) lesson in how far Vancouver need to go to even think of including themselves in the top echelon of the standings.

They also need Ryan Gauld to recover from whatever ails him right now, because they’re missing all round game to drag them up when they are down.

“Not angry, but disappointed” probably sums up this game as a whole but from now on Sartini needs to get his selections right.

And that means fielding players based on how well they are playing and not based on what he wants to be the best eleven.

The trapdoor is still there for him and this game edged him back a step closer to the edge.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Takaoka-5, Brown-6*, Raposo-2, Veselinovic-5, Blackmon-5, Cubas-5.5, Teibert-4, Gressel-4.5, Gauld-4.5, Dajome-2, White-4.5.