Wasn't that a fun week, Whitecaps fans? After a week that saw three Vancouver Whitecaps matches, a World Cup final and two episodes of the From the Backline Podcast I was hoping for a fairly straight forward report card, but since Carl Robinson made six changes to his Starting XI I suppose it's time to brew up a pot of Kicking Horse Coffee's Kick Ass dark roast and put on my thinking cap.
So after a tough home loss to Chivas USA and a hard earned point in the Centre of the Universe the Caps traveled down to the Beehive State for their second visit to the RioT in 2014. So how did Carl Robinson's lads do? It was a tough one, so let's take a look at a selection of the players that donned the Blue and White on Saturday night.
David Ousted - B+: Once again the Big Dane made a huge save in the third minute when he got a hand to a tricky Javier Morales free kick. Also, with Jay DeMerit still out injured and Pedro Morales starting this one on the bench Robbo turned to his keeper to wear the Captain's armband (as discussed in EP. 37 of From the Backline).
Johnny Leveron - B: At first glance Johnny's stats on the night don't look too impressive with a 69% passing percentage and winning only half of his aerial duels, but dig a little deeper and you'll see that that the Honduran defender also intercepted a pass, had eight clearances and blocked three shots. The partnership that Leveron has formed with Carlyle Mitchell seems to grow stronger each week and with Andy O'Brien on the bench once again and DeMerit still injured we really need this pair to step up.
Mehdi Ballouchy - C+: Made his first start for the Whitecaps since joining the club in the off season and at times he looked like a player who was coming off long-term injury and playing his first match in over a year. To be fair though we saw some flashes that obviously explain why Robbo brought his former RBNY teammate to Lotusland and if he could develop a bit of a better understanding with those he is playing with then he could be quite a useful player for Vancouver.
Omar Salgado - C: Another player coming off long-term injury making his first MLS start of the year. To be honest I wasn't overly impressed with Omar on the night, but I'm more than willing to give him a pass. This is a guy who we thought might be completely done as a professional footballer this time last season, so in fairness Salgado needs more meaningful minutes in the team to find his niche.
Nicolas Mezquida - C: Many people have been calling for Mezquida to be included in the Starting XI more often and with Morales getting the rest he finally was given his opportunity to slide into that No. 10 role in place of our Chilean Maestro. As pointed out by Rob Scott in the match report with Pedro on the bench the Caps managed to complete only 69% of their passes for a total of 197 and maintained only 34.7% of the possession. Mezquida created no chances, but did manage to put two crosses into the RSL box. Obviously it's a big job to fill Morales' shoes, so let's collectively cross our fingers that Pedro stays healthy the rest of the year.
Darren Mattocks - B: By now even the most obstinate Whitecaps fans will admit that Nat Borchers' tackle on Mattocks was perfectly timed and not a foul at all, however referee Frank Lampard, err Edvin Jurisevic thought otherwise and awarded the penalty. Mattocks took the penalty himself and comfortably hammered the ball into the back of Nick Rimando's net to open the scoring in the 73rd minute. In addition to the goal Mattocks also picked up Man of the Match honours.
Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)- F: All flying elbows and bad attitude this writer is still somewhat amazed that the Argentinian midfielder did not end up in the referee's notebook for his dirty play, but at the very least Morales earned the disdain and derision of Whitecaps fans everywhere. As I tweeted during the game "Our Morales > Their Morales". Enough said.
Now it`s your turn. Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? If you have something to add to the discussion then please leave your comment in the section below.
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