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Post-Season Dissection IV: Management

We continue our year-end roundup by asking our writers their thoughts on Carl Robinson, Marc Dos Santos, and Bob Lenarduzzi.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

With the Vancouver Whitecaps 2018 MLS season gone and dusted, we have been taking a look back at the season. In Part I of our year in review, we examined our preseason predictions. In Part II, we didn’t hide from criticism, looking back at our Over/Under predictions. In Part III, we began our season reflection, getting the overall impressions on the season, as well as handing out some awards. Here in Part IV, we look at management, asking questions about the current and former managers, along with a key question: Should Bobby be fired. Here is our take. Let us know yours in the comments.

4. What one (or two) things most led to Robbo’s downfall/firing?

IanJones: On the pitch: the dearth of tactics. Playing the same style against every club without the means to occasionally control a match will not work. But a lack of results certainly would not help

CWilkins: Probably the fact that all of his signings in 2018 misfired. Despite a much maligned style the Whitecaps only narrowly missed the playoffs. If even one of Blondell, Juarez, Mutch had been a hit then that probably would have been enough to get them over the line. In the past that had always been plenty for the Front Office.

Samuel_Rowan: His style of play was not sustainable, but more than that, Robbo had built a reputation as a good “man manager” - the moment he lost control of his locker room and staff, the end was inevitable.

AtlantisB: A lack of identity and direction. Far too often Robbo was signing players that were the EXACT same rather than complimentary. When those players got on the field, they were unable to play together as a team. I keep referring to the Japanese team’s comment in the preseason. In their first match, the Caps dominated them. In the second, Japan stiffened Vancouver and came away with the victory. The manager said that the Caps have good players, but they don’t play as a unit. Individually they are difficult to play. Together, they are easy to break down. At the end of the day, that was the problem. Once you knew how to play against the Whitecaps it wasn’t that hard. And Robbo had no idea how to play any other way or to counter other team’s game plan against him.

5. What must Marc Dos Santos do to improve this club next year?

CWilkins: Pretty much everything. If I had to pick one though, I think his first big signing has to be not only successful but must do something to excite an increasingly cynical fanbase.

Samuel_Rowan: Culture, culture, culture. That and a new recruitment strategy.

IanJones: For a young coach, he’s helmed teams for over a third of his life, so being a leader seems to come natural, and it’s always a given that creating a roster during a rebuild will always be difficult, but when referring to the evident divide within the club, swiftly unifying the players and staff to curtail any similar rows will be very important, particularly when discontent from the fanbase is at an all-time high.

AtlantisB: Develop an identity and have a direction. Robbo lacked both and seemed to switch halfway through his time as manager. This doesn’t work. It seems MDS understands that and has focused on that identity and direction in all of his interviews.

6. Should Bob Lenarduzzi be Fired?

Samuel_Rowan: I’ve had this discussion with someone who used to work at the club, so let’s get one thing clear: firing Lenarduzzi (by itself) would have no impact on the overall issues with the front office’s philosophy.

IanJones: I’d say yes, but I’m pretty sure he has tenure. As in, he’s essentially synonymous with the club, but with no real roster pull. He’s the face and as long as nothing truly controversial is said, he’s staying.

CWilkins: Is there seriously anybody outside of the organization who is in favour of keeping him? This is kind of like having a public referendum asking Canadians if they’d prefer to be given a piece of cake or kicked in the testicles.

AtlantisB: YES! But, the problem is not just Lendarduzzi. Can’t cut off one head and expect the body to be any better. More needs to be done. Potentially, more needs to be done at the ownership level too. Despite these issues, the main reason why I feel Lenarduzzi should be fired is that he appears selfish and willing to throw others under the bus to protect himself. He took no accountability in the post-season media ‘fire’. Instead, he directed it elsewhere. Either he is being honest and therefore what is the point of him if he has no say in the club, or he is lying and therefore cannot be trusted by any player or manager to not try to save himself when things go bad.

Now it is your turn. Let us know your answers to the following three questions.

4. What one (or two) things most led to Robbo’s downfall/firing?

5. What must Marc Dos Santos do to improve this club next year?

6. Should Bob Lenarduzzi be Fired?