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Matchday 5 Report Card: VWFC vs. LAG

The Los Angeles Galaxy, defending MLS Cup champions, have been defeated. The king is dead - long live the king, the Cascadian usurper, our mighty Whitecaps! Commence the rejoicing and the nit-picking!

All the cool players walk slowly away from cheering crowds. It's like explosions for athletes.
All the cool players walk slowly away from cheering crowds. It's like explosions for athletes.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who missed my report cards from last year, I use the official Rituro Scale of Grading:

  • A - Fantastic performance. Few, if any faults. An example of the player's best work and a masterclass in how to play the position. Since this means an A+ would be near-perfection, don't expect me to hand one out any time soon.
  • B - Above average. A good day at the office for the player, with no major mistakes to speak of. Was a help more than a hindrance to the team on and/or off the ball.
  • C - Average. Made some mistakes, had some good moments. Nothing to put the player in the doghouse, but nothing to write home about, either.
  • D - Below average. A worrying performance that will leave coaches, teammates and/or supporters concerned about future efforts. Turnovers, poor clearances, missed big chances and soft goals will earn you this grade.
  • F - Atrocious. Get off the field, hand in your kit and never darken the halls with your presence ever again.
  • I - Incomplete. Player suffered an injury, was substituted at halftime with a view to later matches or some other occurrence that would leave us with insufficient evidence to assign a grade.

And now, the rankings for a match that can only be described as Bruce Arena's worst nightmare:

Pedro Morales: B+
So, this match was the official death of the "Pedro Morales isn't doing enough" narrative, right? Go watch that pass that sprung Kekuta Manneh again and tell me the Whitecaps' captain isn't doing his part. Morales played less of that deep distributor role we've seen in matches past - likely because of Russell Teibert's return to midfield beside Matias Laba - and spent most of the match hovering around the midway line. Interestingly, when Morales came deep, it was on the left; when he went forward, it was more on the right. Even more interestingly, according to Opta, Morales' passing accuracy was abysmal on the right side the pitch. Have other teams figured out where the Chilean's office is? Better question - does it matter?

Russell Teibert: A
On the other side of the ledger, Teibert only sent five unsuccessful passes from his deep-lying role and still found time to be the thorn in Robbie Keane's side that left the Irish international unable to influence the match. I have been one of the loudest and most consistent advocates for Teibert to return to his role on the wing and be a distributor from a stronger attacking role. After that kind of performance against LA, though, it's tough to keep that opinion in full voice.

Octavio Rivero: A
All he does is win, win, win no matter what / got scoring on his mind, he can never score enough / and when he runs up to the south side / everybody's hands go up! (Really, I've got nothing else to say; DJ Khaled covers it well enough for all, methinks.)

Pa Modou Kah: B
Continuing the theme of solid distribution we find... Kah?! Yes, believe it or not, Morales isn't the only person capable of slinging long bombs downfield. Sure, about half - the half sent up the left side - were unsuccessful but the rest, to the wide-open right side? On the money. Pair that with the Kah-Matias Laba-Kendall Waston triumverate making the centre of the backline a living hell for LA's attackers and, yet again, I find it tough to bring out my usual complaints against Kah. Oh, well, except for that yellow, which I have to wonder is one of the reaons why Kah is being played so often: to shield Waston from taking so many. Kah sits, there are replacements; Waston sits... oh dear.

Kekuta Manneh: B
Finally - finally - Manneh uses his pace and makes the right decision and it pays off big-time. Let's watch it again:


What say you, commenters? Did anyone fall below the B+ average of this side? Were there any obvious C- or D-level performances I missed?