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An End to the Alphorns

I know that I ought to be more detached, and occasionally I actually do manage to reign in the emotions a bit when it comes to commenting on the Vancouver Whitecaps. Heck, one of our regulars actually accused me of being "reasoned", or "rational", or something like that a few days ago. But in the end, I think the only way I could ever remain a complete stoic would be if I didn't give a crap - and that, my friends, is a price far too steep for my liking.

So I'm left with the daunting prospect of living out the rest of my sorry existence somewhere in the netherworld between the raving lunacy that comes from bleeding blue and white (I'll leave brown out of this, since the metaphor might not be too pleasing), and muted, if not wholly dispassionate interest in the Caps.

God, I want to embrace this MLS franchise wholeheartedly, and swath myself in team regalia. But unlike the proverbial donkey pursuing the carrot on the stick, I don't think I'll ever get there. I can see the carrot hanging there, but I've kinda noticed the stick, the driver, and worked out the impossibility of it all.

With the past few nicks to my heart, the Whitecaps organization has made it difficult for me to find that equilibrium between foaming at the mouth, and fawning over "my" team. I'm bleeding out slowly, folks.

First, it was the Caps selling off the dynamic and creative Davide Chiumiento, who returned to Switzerland citing, at least publicly, family reasons.

Then there was the not wholly unexpected Eric Hassli trade to Toronto FC.

And now this week the move that sends Alain Rochat to DC United for next to nothing.

In the space of a year, the Whitecaps have divested themselves of three "face of the franchise"-type players, and lost another one pretty much for the current season due to injury.

Take all the real currency and allocation money you can get. Stock up on "conditional" picks all you want. There's still no substitute for a fan favourite and the kind of engagement that it fosters.

Yes, Hassli went through a horrible, horrible drought. But those markers against the Sounders and TFC, those were absolute gold - and etched as indelibly in the collective Whitecaps fan consciousness as the maple leaf tattoos that still adorn his arms. Those goals and his infectious passion were part of the organizational fabric - until it was ripped apart.

And Chiumiento was just as enigmatic as he was mercurial. He was seemingly just as apt to pout as he was to wrong-foot some sorry defender and begin to work some magic.

I'd also have to admit that Alain Rochat wasn't having a truly stellar year this season, but certainly hadn't played so poorly that anyone saw that coming.

If you've noticed the common thread, you're right. All three hailed from what was then the Axpo Super League in Switzerland. By way of full disclosure, I have a strong Swiss connection, having lived in Zurich for 15 years. So maybe I'm a little biased, but I've also seen more of all three play than most here.

And so, with each little pierce to the heart, I've watched on as the Vancouver Whitecaps retool in a bid to improve.

I know the Swiss are supposed to be neutral. But Gopferdeckel this team makes it hard at times!