On the face of it, a 3-1 defeat on home soil to one of the weaker teams in Major League Soccer looks disastrous. But if you discount the 3rd Chivas marker, scored in the 94th minute against a 10-man side with their keeper up in the opposition box for a dying gasp corner, the scoreline starts to look a little more even.
Breaking it down a little more, and looking at the first half stats, we see the Caps leading 1-0, thanks to the first Vancouver Whitecaps converted corner kick since clay tablets went out of style. The good news after 45' didn't stop there: 8 shots attempted (2 on target), 0 shots allowed on target, 5 corner kicks - definitely indicative of the industriousness of the Blue-and-White, and 59% possession.
For all that effort, all the good work - and plenty more in the second half, it wasn't enough to overcome the three fleeting defensive lapses that cost Vancouver the match. In truth, the team played very well for 75% of the match - including much of the time when they were reduced to 10 men, but they were punished severely for 2% in which they stumbled.
So let's take a look at a selected group from the Whitecaps:
Johnny Leveron: C+ - Would have scored higher, but failing to challenge for the ball on Pelletieri's goal was inexcusable for a CB. Leveron gives the Caps the ability to move the ball from the central back line without having to rely solely on 10-yard outlet balls, but at 5' 11", 165 lbs he's not going to beat the majority of strikers to the ball. His sin wasn't in failing to win the ball, it lay in simply watching the play unfold without attempting to do anything about it.
Kekutah Manneh: C+ - This really can't continue. Manneh's greatest attribute, binding speed, is most effective when he's up against tired legs. Carl Robinson needs to let Manneh mature as a player in an environment that will benefit Manneh - and the Caps - most: when he's used as a second-half sub. For too much of his time on the ball this past weekend, Manneh was trying to go east-west, when north-south is his bread and butter. Be brash young man!
Pedro Morales: B+ - Was clearly the best man on the pitch for the Caps on Saturday, even if some others disagree. Don't find yourself getting used to his passing and technical skills - they're too good not to appreciate each and every outing. There's no question that he ran the show again for Vancouver, even if his completion rate might have dipped a percentage point versus his season average. Creativity - right now he's the only Cap showing it. This team would be in dire, dire trouble without him.
Jordan Harvey: P - After that incredibly rash beer-league tackle, I really wanted to give Harvey a fail. But I can't. Prior to the studs up clean out job on Minda, Harvey was having an excellent outing. His sliding effort to deny Chavez in the 52nd minute was potentially a goal-saver. So, what was probably an A rating gets knocked down to a bare pass.
Nigel Reo-Coker: C- - If you can't put the ball at least on frame from 16 yards out, and off a perfect feed that you didn't have to break stride to run on to, well... you should be sitting. On his salary though, a move would be preferable. I must say that I was a little surprised that Robinson even called on NRC as a sub given the match situation on Saturday. Though I'm not among the fully converted, I do think Russell Teibert might have brought more of what the Caps were looking for at that point in the match.