It was the first time the Vancouver Whitecaps faced Inter Miami.

But the storylines heading into this game were ugly. You could feel the negative vibes. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets were MIA. Well, they were back home in Miami taking some rest. (Messi and Suarez were watching the Inter Miami academy so I’m not sure if that counts as resting.)

Still, a big crowd was expected, the biggest in the Whitecaps’ MLS era. It would feel like the Roman Coliseum in Gladiator. With no Messi, Suarez and Busquets, the Whitecaps had an opportunity to do something big with the large crowd.

But once again, the Whitecaps were like Charlie Brown with the football. They blew it. Messi and his friends didn’t show up and neither did the Whitecaps’ attack.

What we learned

Once the game kicked off, Inter Miami was met with a chorus of boos. Heck, they were booed even during warm-up. There were also chants of “Where is Messi” in the first five minutes.

The Whitecaps moved the ball well. Having Andres Cubas back also really helped. Once again, the Paraguyan N’golo Kante was all over the pitch.

Ali Ahmed had a big task of taking on Jordi Alba. In the first half, he did well against the FC Barcelona legend. It was like Ahmed was saying: “Nah I’ll win” as he dribbled past Alba.

The Whitecaps were moving the ball well. The passing was like a well-oiled machine. But watching them was like watching a Vancouver Canucks power play: All that passing no shots.  As soon as they entered the box, they were having trouble finding that one extra bit of space or touch. Vancouver ended the half with no shots on Drake Callender.

Sometimes, you just have to shoot. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. Or you can’t go on a date with the beautiful woman or handsome man sitting at the other end of the bar if you don’t attempt to ask her out. Sometimes you have to push the button and let the whole thing blow.

Be the one who chooses, not the one waiting to be chosen. Just take the shot!

It seemed like Inter Miami didn’t need Messi. They had Robert Taylor. The native of Finland took Alba’s pass and finished. (Ha, get it) Mathias Laborda had a tough half. Alba was cooking him throughout it and Taylor just added the extra spice and put him in the oven.

So the Whitecaps had the second half. A chance to get the crowd back into the game. Unfortunately, Taylor was at it again. Well, it started when Brian White made a bad pass and Inter Miami was quick on the transition. If Taylor put Laborda in the oven on the first goal, he took him out cut him to pieces and made him ready to serve. Ok, that imagery was probably too dark but Laborda had a disasterclass, plain and simple. Taylor made him look like Harry Maguire.

The Whitecaps looked as lifeless as zombies. Well, that was until Tomas Aviles got his elbow up on Picault. Gordie Howe would’ve been proud of that. The referee went to VAR and called a penalty. Callender dove the right way but Ryan Gauld beat him cleanly. Gauld was colder than the abominable snowman.

The goal gave Vancouver life. There was more urgency and energy. But it wasn’t fully like Undertaker rising from a coffin because they couldn’t tie the game up. Picault was the most dangerous attacker. He was nutmegging defenders, winning the one one-on-one duels and even got the Whitecaps inches away from tying the match late. But the ball hit the post and it looks like Callender got a piece of it as well. The pain of Vancouver sports!

In the end, it was another frustrating and disappointing defeat for the Whitecaps. It is also very concerning that they have not scored an open-play goal in MLS since White’s first-half goal against the New York Red Bulls. That was on April 27. It’s been almost a month.

I don’t want to say the first few weeks of the season were a mirage but it feels that way. The offence has been dryer than the Sahara Desert. The defending has been a great part of the Whitecaps’ early season success but silly mistakes have cost them.

We’ve talked about how the Whitecaps need a few more pieces in the transfer window. However, that is still over a month away and they are falling in the standings faster than Ryan Howard’s career in The Office.

So until the transfer window opens, things need to change from within.

Stat of the match

Vancouver outshot Miami 16-9 according to FotMob. But only two were on target and Miami had six on Yohei Takaoka.

What was said

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini didn’t think the performance was disappointing but the result was.

“We need to be better in the box,” said Sartini on the match. “First, the quality and the decision-making in the box has to be better…The other thing, we need to have more confidence and bite.”

He was asked about what restoring confidence in the squad would look like.

“We need to be more positive,” said Sartini. “I think as a coaching staff, we need to tweak things tactically…We need to change something.”

Sartini also summed up the game quite well.

“The wrong choices and wrong execution.”

On a positive note, he was very pleased with the crowd of 51,035, an MLS-era record for the Whitecaps.

“Fantastic… the crowd today was amazing,” said Sartini. “We’re so sorry that we couldn’t at least tie in the end, because they were really helping us. We really thank them. It was special.”

Ahmed shared his disappointment in not getting the win in front of the big crowd.

“In the second half, we came out aggressively…and we were hungry to not lose…we wanted to show the fans we can win in Vancouver, but it’s unfortunate we couldn’t,” said Ahmed.

The Whitecaps have been winless in MLS play since that game against the Red Bulls. They are also 2-3-2 at home, which is very disappointing. The funk continues.

“Good teams go through this spell, great teams get out of it,” said Ahmed on his team’s form. “We want to prove we are a great team.”

Best of Twitter

Best creative jersey

Well, that is one way to wear a Messi jersey. Despite him not playing, Messi jerseys were everywhere. That was his Inter Miami jersey, Barcelona jersey and Argentina jersey. But some people put “Missing” on the back of theirs. It is also quite ironic that Inter Miami’s abbreviation is MIA.

Best Tottenham Hotspur impression

Once again, the lights were too bright for the Whitecaps. It was like they had stage fright.

Best He’s Just Standing There…Menacingly

Well, Messi didn’t make the trip but his Yassine Chueko did. Why? Who knows? Maybe in case a streaker came on? He would’ve done better than BC Place security.

Best Canucks flashback

Fotmob says the Whitecaps have taken 71 corners this season and that puts them 18th in MLS. However, it feels like they have taken more. I don’t even want to know the corner conversion rate if that was a possible stat.

It really is kind of frustrating that the Whitecaps offence dried up just like the Canucks. At least the ‘Caps have time to figure things out.

Best big event

We rarely see a packed BC Place when we do, it is a great place to watch a game. The crowd was very good on Saturday night. Sure, they were quiet after Inter Miami’s goals but before those and after Gauld’s goal, the building was electric.

I wish I could see BC Place packed like that all the time. Not just for Whitecaps games but for BC Lions games as well. The ‘Caps had many opportunities to become like the Seattle Sounders but they blew it.

Best sum it up

This sums up Whitecaps fandom and I guess sports very well. Are you really a diehard fan if you don’t get frustrated and yell at your screen? Definitely not. Whitecaps fans are a loyal bunch but this team can be very infuriating.

Best Disrespect

Is Ryan Gayle the Whitecaps’ new Designated Player? If he is, he looks just like Gauld! But in all seriousness, it is not that hard to spell his name. Yeah, this is a typo but what’s the harm in deleting and reposting?

Best display

This was a very cool tifo celebrating 50 years of the Whitecaps. It celebrates the past and looks ahead to the future. It’s been years since we’ve seen a tifo display like this at BC Place. Well done to the Southsiders, Vancouver Albion, Rain City Brigade and everyone else who worked on this. The effort paid off. Well done!


The Whitecaps get back at it on Wednesday as they face Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park. Kickoff is at 5:30 pm.

As for this match against Inter Miami, the Whitecaps blew a big oppurtunity to get the people of Vancouver on their side. The ‘Caps have loyal fans but in a city where hockey reigns supreme and bandwagoners are common, they are usually an afterthought.

You’ve heard the narratives. They are poorly run, (they actually were for many years, let’s not pretend) they constantly lose and are cheap and don’t spend money. This game was a chance to change those narratives and frankly, this season as a whole is as well.

There is still lots of time until the playoffs but time is a valuable thing, watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. If this season turns out to be a disaster, then it will be tough to change the narratives. After all, on paper, this is the best Whitecaps squad of the MLS era and making the playoffs and going on a run is a must. There is still time to improve.

It’s been a tough 13 years or so for the Whitecaps in the MLS era. There have been times in recent years when the light has been shone at the end of the tunnel, but at the same time, it feels like we are waiting for a light that never comes.

But that light feels so close, yet so far.

To quote the late, great,  Jason Botchford: I can’t wait for it to go the other way.