Fall has made its triumphant return to Vancouver. Rain, grey skies, and cold weather are the norm these days in the Lower Mainland. Worryingly, the Vancouver Whitecaps seem to be mirroring the autumn weather patterns as their performances as of late have been grey and their effectiveness offensively and defensively have cooled off raising many questions about their form heading into the playoffs.
Let's take a closer look to some of the individual performances during the 0-0 draw against FC Dallas at BC Place.
David Ousted - A: The Great Dane certainly did more than enough to make up for his gaffe in San Jose last weekend. It can be argued that Ousted was the only reason the Whitecaps were able to get a point on the day by denying the Texan side of several cleat cut chances. The Danish goalkeeper showed reasons for why he is a top contender for the Player of the Year honours of 2015.
Matias Laba - B+: Mati the Destroyer was his usual self. Breaking up the opposition attacks, getting stuck in on tough challenges, covering his teammates and providing the balance needed for this team to go forward while remaining defensively responsible. If I must point something negative in Laba's game, it is that I saw a handful of inaccurate passes being distributed, something that it is not characteristic coming from the Argentinian.
Tim Parker - B+: The rookie central back once again showed poise and composure beyond his years. Parker was well positioned, played secure balls from the back and was assertive in his tackles and clearances. What else can you ask for from your rookie central defender?
Kekuta Manneh - C: Did the young Gambian even played? I had to go back and check the match report to make sure. Manneh was once again ineffective and lacked imagination all while being betrayed by his first and sometimes second or third touch.
Jordan Smith - C-: It is not until you watch Smith covering the right flank that you truly gain an appreciation for the work that Steven Beitashour provides for this team week in and week out. The towering Costa Rican (yes, another one) is a concern defensively. His positioning is poor and he it is often caught either too far up the pitch or tucked in playing almost as if he were a central back. Time and time again FC Dallas were able to cross the ball from the left flank. More importantly, aside from a couple of services to the box, Smith's offensive output wasn't impressive either.
Pa Modou Kah - D: Yes, the defensive line kept a clean sheet but that was despite the defensive woes that plagued David Ousted's net. It seems that Pa Modou Kah suffered of a regression to the early season version of himself. Horrific clearances, dangerous back passes and poor communication with his goalkeeper kept the supporters on the edge of their seats for all the wrong reasons.
While perhaps a little ray of sunshine can be found in the fact that the Whitecaps have secured their place in the 2015 MLS playoffs, it seems that stormy patterns are approaching Vancouver. And I am not only talking about the weather.
As always, please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.