Considering my esteemed colleague, Rituro, needed to re-watch the match in depth before writing his match report, I realized that I needed to do the same to adequately prepare the report card for (a selection of) the Vancouver Whitecaps:
Nigel Reo-Coker (B-) - there have been plenty of rumours circulating in Lotusland the past several weeks that yesterday's match would be his last as a Whitecap. If this is the case, then at least the Englishman showed a return to form that made him such an important player for the Caps in 2013. While Reo-Coker was caught napping on Seattle's opening goal he was pretty solid for the rest of the match and made many of his trademark runs deep into the Seattle third of the pitch.
Pedro Morales (B-) - while watching the match at the stadium I had the impression that Morales had a fairly quiet game, but after watching the match a second time, I was impressed with Pedro's crisp and accurate passing and his uncanny ability to deliver the ball to his teammates wherever they may be on the pitch. Morales may not have had his best game yesterday, but it proves that the Chilean midfielder does not have to put in a lights-out performance to be a very effective and important player for the Whitecaps.
Erik Hurtado (A) - ok, so I go on holiday for a couple of weeks and I come home to find out that in my absence that the young forward has suddenly matured and has started to regularly find the back of the net. While he is still a "raw" talent, the composure and skill he showed to score the game's opening goal may be a hint of what this young fella could be capable of with the right coaching.
Gershon Koffie (A+) - at the beginning of the season I was concerned that Koffie may not see very much of the pitch this season and he definitely was on the outside looking in. His hard work in training and Robinson's faith in him is paying off, and he has formed a very, very effective partnership with Matías Laba in the Whitecaps' midfield.
Yesterday Koffie was a beast all afternoon and almost single-handedly won the match for the Caps in second half injury time through his own sheer will to do so. His goal was a very heads up and intelligent play on his behalf and should be a front runner for MLS Goal of the Week (as should Hurtado's).
Jay DeMerit (B) - despite the [expletive] penalty called on DeMerit, I thought that he had a very solid outing and was a presence on the backline all afternoon (honourable mention to his partner Andy O'Brien). All game DeMerit stepped up and did what he does best, and the stats don't lie: he was 6/9 in headed duels, 4 interceptions, 8/8 on clearances and completed 91% of his passes. Unfortunately, Jay's afternoon will be remembered for the "penalty" instead.
Ismail Elfath (PRO Referee) (D) - Major League Soccer has repeatedly said that they want to become one of the world's top leagues by 2024. While this is a bold statement, we have seen the quality of play on the pitch steadily improve every season. The officiating, however, remains dubious, and Elfath's bogus call on DeMerit yesterday is an embarrassment for MLS. Don't believe me? Take a look at the video and decide for yourself:
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