The Columbus Crew came to BC Place and delivered a couple of sucker punch type goals to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Two goals of the same kind that the Whitecaps themselves are getting used to strike in this early 2015 MLS season and have, so far, earn them at least 9 points. Yet, Robbo's boys were able to dust themselves off twice and get equalizers in a game that perhaps deserved to be won but wasn't. Karma.
Nevertheless, the game itself had yet again some impressive performances so let me take my red pen out to do some marking:
Matias Laba - A: Let's be honest, the Argentinean was not the Whitecaps' best defensive midfielder against the LA Galaxy and one game in a row is long enough for the DP. Matias was again superb, the man chased yellow (black) shirts all night long, recovered balls, cut threatening offensive transitions, delivered crunching tackles and ventured in the attack with some aggressive runs at the beginning of the second half. Matias being Matias. All is right in the world.
Russell Teibert - A: While a tip of the hat went to Laba, his partner in crime, Russell Teibert, deserves the amount of praise for his labour in the midfield. The energy that Rusty brings to the Whitecaps middle of the park is infectious. Always well positioned (or quickness to return to a correct of spot), his incessant willingness to get the ball and the overall dynamism to buzz around and smother opposing midfielders is proving key in Vancouver's ability to quickly recover the ball. Watching Russell out there reminds me of those annoying mosquitos that ruin an otherwise perfect summer sunset at the shores of the lake.
Pedro Morales - A-: The Chilean maestro was under heavy scrutiny through the first month of the campaign but his performance over the last two games indicate that he is coming to the form that enamored us in 2014. Morales seems to be playing with gusto again and that is translated in the amount of chances that are created at his feet, the clever and cheeky (and yes, sometimes ineffective) little plays but when Morales is on, as he has been over the past two matches, hard to argue there is a better playmaker in the league.
Octavio Rivero - A: What can be said about the Uruguayan golden boy but "GOD DAMNIT, he's fantastic!" Rivero notched his fifth goal of the season by creating a chance out of nothing. His ability to turn and protect the ball in one motion was on display in Vancouver's (first) equalizer. It is, however, his innate ability to put the ball in the back of the net is quickly skyrocketing him not to Vancouver but to MLS stardom status.
Darren Mattocks - B+: The Jamaican international was awarded Man of the Match last night. Reading this article can give you an indication as to who I think should have received the tap in the shoulder. In my humble opinion, Mattocks had an ok game. Yes, his attitude is much better, his defensive prowess has improved, his body language is no longer depressing and he scored the second goal of the night and assisted Rivero with a well-timed throw in. But I still feel that a lot of opportunities die too easily at Mattock's feet, I can't get past the "he should have scored at least 2 or 3". Either way, it is good some progression in his game and that he is now part of the list of 2015 goal scorers.
Pa Modou Kah - C: The veteran had to be called in early after Diego Rodriguez left the pitch with some groin issues (do I see a pattern here?). Kah seemed to need some time to get settled into the game and his positional awareness was once again put into question in the Crew's second goal. With Rodriguez presumably out for Saturday and the unknown status of Kendall Waston who took a really bad tumble, it seems that the former Norway international will have to be the leader of the Blue and White defense this weekend when they visit the San Jose Eartquakes at newly opened Avaya Stadium.
Always happy to read your comments, so please bring them on.