With nine points out of a possible twelve, the Vancouver Whitecaps continue to impress with their road form and they once again earned a scrappy win, this time breaking the New England Revolution 17 unbeaten home streak at Gillete Stadium.
More impressively, the Blue and White achieved the feat with a lineup that can be characterized as "depleted" as some of the starting eleven cornerstones like Kendall Waston, Pedro Morales, Gershon Koffie and Russell Teibert missing by a combination of suspensions or injuries.
It required a village to beat a fierce ten-man Revolution squad who pushed to the very end searching to rescue a draw but falling short in their attempt. Who were, however, the standouts from Saturday's match in Foxborough? Let's take a closer look.
David Ousted - A+: The Great Dane once again saved the Whitecaps early (see what I did there?) and gave them the opportunity to stay in the game and get the lead that would prove to be enough to beat the Revs. With at least three outstanding saves of goal-bound balls, Ousted continues kicked the door of the "elite MLS goalkeepers" designations that, inexplicably, continues to remain shut. If you have read my work at Eighty Six Forever or listened to me on the From The Backline you would know by now that there are no players that I regard more highly than Matias Laba in this team, however, the Nordic goalkeeper is making it continuously harder for me not give him by vote for Most Oustanding Player of the Year.
Cristian Techera - A: Have you noticed how the tiny Uruguayan has quietly become a key piece of the Whitecaps' attack? Techera proved absolutely fundamental in the Whitecaps' win by opening the score thanks to yet another great heads up play in the box by taking advantage of a horrific...mmm... "clearance" by the Revs defence. He also earned the penalty kick that proved to be the winner and that allowed Octavio Rivero to score for the first time since what seems to be last century.
Mauro Rosales - A -: Perhaps you will need to sit for this one. Mauro Rosales is a better number ten than Pedro Morales. GASP! Yes, I went there. You see, Rosales bring some qualities that Morales doesn't. While Morales is a great long range passer, Rosales is better at creating plays out of a congested midfield. Morales needs more space to create while Rosales can force his way out of trouble. Not to mentions the Argentinian's better defensive skills. On Saturday, Rosales shone in the middle of the park as he has in past occasions.
Tim Parker - B+: Let's be honest, we all cringed when Kendall Waston got that yellow card in New York last weekend because we knew that it would mean that he needed to sit out this week. Tim Parker stood in for the Hulking Tico and had to fill what have to be his gigantic shoes and he did so with aplomb. Never putting a foot wrong, playing the easy, safe ball at all times, showing great positioning, the Hicksville, NY native had a more than fair first start in the centre of the Blue and White defence. Future looks bright for Parker and the Whitecaps.
Deybi Flores - B: I wanted to cover Flores because with Laba, Koffie and Teibert in front of him in the depth chart for the defensive midfielder role and his absences due to national team duty, we have not have the chance to see a lot of the Honduran. Flores had a quiet game on Saturday but by no means a bad one. While he didn't grace us with some of those exciting vertical surging runs, the youngster proved that he can be disciplined tactically, a defensive nuance for the opposition and to distribute the ball with fluidity. All in all, a good outing.
Did I miss someone? Let us know in the comment section.