The Vancouver Whitecaps ended the 2015 Regular Season on a high note, booking themselves a home playoff date and a first round bye. In doing so, they also snapped a three game scoreless drought with three goals against the Houston Dynamo, giving them some confidence and momentum heading into the break. Hey, a good result means some good grades to go around for key Whitecaps players.
Kektua Manneh: B+
Manneh showed some finish against the Houston Dynamo, scoring his seventh goal of the season early in the second half, setting a new career high. The Whitecaps had created quality chances throughout the first 45 minutes, but were stymied and frustrated at every turn. Manneh's goal was a great kick in the pants for Vancouver and the momentum definitely helped propel them to that 3-0 victory. The Whitecaps will hope Manneh can keep that goal scoring swagger in the post-season.
Octavio Rivero: B
It's easy to harp on Rivero even when the Whitecaps win, simply because he isn't scoring at a consistent enough rate. He finished with 10 goals on the year, good enough to lead the entire team, but he scored just three times in the final 23 matches of the Regular Season. The thing about Rivero is, he works hard on the pitch and generates chances, so he is a positive to the club when he's included in the lineup. However, to justify his salary and his lineup spot, Rivero will simply have to score more. With all that being said, a strong post-season would certainly help 'Caps fans forget about his scoring woes.
David Ousted : A
The Great Dane just had to be the 'servicable' Dane for this match, parrying away two shots from a stunted Dynamo attack. That being said, Ousted has been the rock of the entire Whitecaps squad for the entire season, and it's very fitting that he ended the Regular Season with another clean sheet, his 13th of the season. That puts him in a tie with Adam Kwarasey of Portland for most in MLS.
Robert Earnshaw: A
Earnshaw scored a header in the Whitecaps regular season finale, his second of the year. It's surprising he didn't play more, as he finished the year with a ridiculous 4.19 goals per 90 minutes! Seriously, why did Ernie get absolutely no love this season? The Whitecaps were having supreme trouble scoring goals, and yet the veteran Earnshaw was kept out of the lineup for pretty much the entire season, used as either a bench option, or a WFC 2 starter. He's still clearly got some goals in his leg, so why was he so underutilized this season?
What do you think? Any grades you'd like to hand out?