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Report Card: WFC vs. RSL

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It was the latest installment of the "biggest game of the season", but despite having a penalty saved and then falling behind to their opponents, the Vancouver Whitecaps overcame the adversity to claim the three points on offer. Let's take a look at how a selection of Carl Robinson's men did on Saturday.

Pedro Morales (L) and Jordan Harvey celebrate Morales' penalty kick that brought the Vancouver Whitecaps back on to level terms with Real Salt Lake.
Pedro Morales (L) and Jordan Harvey celebrate Morales' penalty kick that brought the Vancouver Whitecaps back on to level terms with Real Salt Lake.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the Vancouver Whitecaps taking to the pitch against Real Salt Lake this past Saturday afternoon hopes had been buoyed with the news that the Portland Timbers had lost to Toronto FC by a score of 3-2 earlier in the day.  That meant that if the Caps could pull off a win against Real Salt Lake they would be able to overtake their Cascadian foes (again) for the fifth, and final, playoff berth.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I've been predicting doom and gloom for the Whitecaps in recent weeks, and sadly that's more or less the way things have turned out.  But in my defense I've actually really, really, really wanted the Whitecaps to prove me wrong and this past Saturday afternoon the Caps finally, and thankfully, did just that.

So let's take a look at a selection of Carl Robinson's men and see how they fared against RSL:

David Ousted (A) - I waffled a quite a bit before deciding to give our Danish 'keeper top marks.  Sure, he did concede a goal, but in fairness it was Andy O'Brien who was guilty of letting Nat Borchers and his epic beard slip away and open the scoring.  It was a pity because just moments earlier Ousted made an outstanding save to deny the "Evil Morales" (a.k.a. RSL's Javier) from putting his name on the score sheet.  Ousted was solid when he needed to be and earned Man of the Match honours in doing so.

Pedro Morales (a.k.a. the "Good Morales") (A-) - Since when do you score a brace and captain your side to victory and still not earn top marks for your effort?  Well, let's just say that when you do all of those good things and you have a crucial penalty kick saved then you're gonna get docked points for that.  There has been talk that Pedro is fatigued after playing almost 18 months straight, but he led by example and did exactly the things that were expected from him.  Even the most critical fan could not get mad for Pedro's shirtless goal celebration because, and let's be honest here, we were all relieved that the Caps had actually scored two goals in one game and were leading RSL with less than a quarter of an hour to play.

Erik Hurtado (C+) - Yes, I know that Hurtado didn't score (again), and yes I know the one really good chance that Erik did have he put straight into the hands of Jeff Attinella, but he had a solid, hard-working shift.  He had a couple of chances, he held up the ball well, and he drew the penalty that led to the goal that ultimately won the game for the Caps.  Despite all the hard work he just couldn't find his way on to the score sheet in this one.

Matías Laba (A) - Thankfully after having a bit of a 'mare last week down in Portland Laba was back on form, and it couldn't come at a more crucial time.  An in-form Laba is such a crucial piece to the Whitecaps puzzle, and they will need him to keep delivering similar performances down the stretch run.

The Substitutes: Nicolás Mezquida, Kekuta Manneh & Darren Mattocks (B) - Last weekend I thought that Robbo's substitutes had little (positive) impact in the 3-0 loss to the Timbers, but on Saturday afternoon it was a completely different story.   Manneh, in fact, had barely been on the pitch for a minute when he received the pass from Morales that started the series of play that would eventually culminate in Morales' second goal of the match.  Mezquida played like a man possessed, which caused problems for RSL on their left flank, and even the frustrating Mattocks put in a good effort for the twenty minutes he was on the pitch.  Together the three of them had an impact on the match that we haven't always seen from our subs at times this season.

And now it's your turn.  You can add your voice to the discussion by leaving a comment in the section below.

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