There was a lot to like in watching the Vancouver Whitecaps secure their first road win of the season against the Columbus Crew. They piled up their offensive chances, and were able to mostly smother any chance of a Crew attack or comeback. You can definitely bemoan the lack of finish by the 'Caps in the first half, but there's no denying they were obviously the better team in the 1-0 victory. Now, with all that positivity out of the way, let's take a look at three individuals that stood out in the match.
MATIAS LABA: A+
If I could give this kid higher marks, I would. What a defensive performance from the 21 year old, who may just be the Whitecaps best addition of the off-season, and that's including some guy named Pedro Morales. Perhaps the Whitecaps FC stat of the match sums up Laba's contributions better than I can:
Budweiser Man of the Match Matias Laba had a career-high 11 tackles on Saturday. Since the 2011 MLS season, only one player has recorded more tackles in a single match (Marcelo Sarvas with 13)
While the Crew looked pretty disjointed and uncomfortable by themselves, Laba was a major thorn in their sides all night.
ERIK HURTADO: B
Hurtado barely escapes getting a C+, and that's because his goal was an absolute thing of beauty, and proved to be the difference in getting the 'Caps their first road win of the season.
Besides his howitzer in the 37th minute, Hurtado looked like, well, the same Hurtado we've seen since he was drafted by the club. While he's a tenacious worker with a never-ending motor, he really needs to work on softening up his first touch, although that point has already been documented well.
Best case scenario, Hurtado comes into training this week with sky-high confidence, and carries that over into matches. He needs to play well if he wants to keep getting those prime opportunities at the top of the formation, because a healthy Omar Salgado is waiting over on the sidelines for his shot.
DAVID OUSTED: A
We've been pretty hard on David Ousted since he joined the Whitecaps, but there's no denying the great match he played against the Crew. Not only did Ousted grab a clean sheet, but also his first MLS assist on the Hurtado marker.
With that being said, let's be honest here; Ousted was the beneficiary of a great defensive effort by the Whitecaps, but also a very poor performance from the Columbus Crew. Still, when Columbus did get their chances, Ousted was there to stop them. Plus, give him credit on the Hurtado goal; his distribution was spot on, and lead to Hurtado finally potting his first of the season.