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  • Chiumiento fracas shows nothing, except his own ego


    Sometimes it's worth it to obsess over the details a little.

    Earlier today, Vancouver's indefatigable Whitecaps beat man Marc Weber of the Vancouver Province carried an excellent story on Whitecaps playmaker Davide Chiumiento. The mercurial Chiumiento was quite open in his frustrations, telling Weber that he feels he's best employed in the middle of the pitch as opposed to the wide role he's been asked to play most of the season.

    Chiumiento was polite enough, acknowledging that it's not his decision. But at the same time, this is a guy who was telling a major Vancouver soccer reporter that his coach has it wrong. It's not a big deal; nobody in this town needs to be told that the man they call "Dede" has an ego and he's hardly demanding a transfer or cutting Teitur Thordarson's brake line. It's part of what makes him such an effective player. But we fans seize on it anyway, because in what's been a frustrating couple of months it gives us something to blame.

    Me? I don't blame Teitur Thordarson, that's for sure.


    Now, I actually agree with Chiumiento to an extent. I've advocated putting him in the middle before and will do so again. He's not the quickest player and doesn't go for goal as much as a central player should but he has a good natural playmaker's eye. I think he could do some good there.

    But at the same time, Teitur Thordarson has been justified in playing Chiumiento on the wing just because he hasn't had two healthy, superior wingers yet this year. Shea Salinas started out the year hurt, and just as he started to get healthy a Montreal Impact defender stepped on Russell Teibert's foot and set the young left wing back a couple of weeks. Nobody needs to be told how catastrophic Blake Wagner is on the left wing, or how Wes Knight on the right-hand side has usually been little better. Nizar Khalfan is sometimes a genius, but usually isn't and probably hasn't played a good game as a starter in twelve months. It's that bloody depth problem again. If the Whitecaps haven't got both Teibert and Salinas available, then they have to play Chiumiento on the wing or essentially give up on having any offense over a third of the field.

    Besides, it's not like Chiumiento has to stay in his lane. As Thordarson quite rightly pointed out in Weber's article, Chiumiento cuts inside and does what he likes anyway. I've compared him to Dwayne De Rosario except as a playmaker rather than a goalscorer: he'll do what he wants unless he has a very bloody good reason not to. This can lead to some transcendent moments of offensive brilliance, but it also makes it a bit rich when Chiumiento spends ninety minutes playing out of position then complains he doesn't like his position very much.

    Moreover, Chiumiento hasn't given a full ninety-minutes effort all season. There's a reason I keep calling him "mercurial". Too often he'll drift off into his own little world. He won't work to get the ball, and when he has it he'll either dump it off uselessly or just try to juke by defenders until one of them get the ball back. At no point will he do the team any good, except accidentally. Then he'll sense an opportunity or get fired up by the game circumstances or just feel like giving it his all for a while. Those are the moments where I understand what Chiumiento is for. He's definitely a talented enough player to be worth his weaker moments and even his inflated sense of self-worth. When the game's on the line he will bust his ass to set up teammates. This is a better team with Chiumiento than without him.

    But he's not Leo Messi. And he hasn't earned the right to play coach, particularly when his arguments are so weak.

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