Well, that wasn't really the best way to start a month long road trip now was it? After giving up an early goal to the Montreal Impact it took the Vancouver Whitecaps over an hour to find an equalizer thanks to Jordan Harvey, who drew a late penalty which gave Vancouver hope of escaping La Belle Province with a hard-earned single point.
So, how did the team do? Once again there were some interesting choices made by Carl Robinson in selecting his starting XI, and his decision was made, one would assume, with keeping key players fresh and rested for the long grind that lies ahead in the months of June and July.
With that in mind let's hand out some grades for a selection of the players that saw action against the Impact on Wednesday night.
David Ousted (GK) B-: did Ousted ever find the ball after Laurent Ciman's volley smashed off the crossbar? I don't think he ever did, and sadly neither did the Whitecaps' backline before Jack McInerney buried the rebound. Ousted again was exposed by the defenders at times throughout the match, and once again had to make a couple of big saves to keep Vancouver in the match. Sure, he conceded two goals, but we can only expect David to make so many world-class saves every match, right?
Tim Parker (RB) C+: those of us who have been following Parker's performances for WFC2 this season have been impressed by his poise and leadership on the backline. With the large volume of matches that will be played this year, and the inevitable injuries and suspensions that come with it, Parker will get his opportunities to play in the first team. This evening we saw many of he qualities that we have seen week-in and week-out for the ThunderCaps, and it was a reasonably good performance for the rookie filling in for the incumbent Steven Beitashour at right back, but Parker was beaten and exposed several times throughout the match. The Caps' backline line was a fifty-fifty split of veterans (we can call Kendall Waston a veteran now, right?) and rookie talent, and it showed.
Matías Laba B: once again Matí was he reliable self crushing opposing players, and making them regret the decision to come anywhere close to #15. Sadly, those playing behind Laba couldn't quite match his intensity or quality of play on Wednesday night. The Caps now have a tough match this coming Saturday against a recently improving LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center, and they will need Laba to be at his very, very best if they are to bring home points from a stadium that has been a very tough place for them to play over the years.
Kekuta Manneh C+: Well, what do we do with Mr. Manneh? Those of you who have been listening to From the Backline recently know that we believe that Manneh is best suited as a substitute coming in for a half or maybe half an hour. There is no doubt that he is a very talented footballer, but we've seen time and time again he is most effective when he is introduced later in the match. Once again we saw flashes of brilliance, but as we've seen before when it comes to deciding whether to pass, run, shoot, etc. is it still an evolving progress. Kekuta did have one first half chance that skimmed over the bar, but for a moment imagine what this team could do if it weren't so reliant on Octavio Rivero to score goals. Yeah, it could be pretty awesome.
Darren Mattocks C+: When it comes to Mattocks goal scoring form it certainly seems to be a case of easy come and easy go, and 2015 seems to be no different than years past. In fairness to Mattocks we've seen Rivero mired in a goal scoring drought of his own during the past several weeks, and this puts the pressure on other Vancouver players to pick up the slack and start scoring. Mattocks worked hard during this match, and had one very good opportunity to pull the Whitecaps level in the first half, but smashed his shot off the crossbar instead. Mattocks will be off on international duty shortly, so who will take his spot in the team during that time? Just what the heck happened to Erik Hurtado anyways?
Carl Robinson (coach) C+: the MLS season is a long, tough, and filled with plenty of travel for the Whitecaps. Robbo has repeatedly stated that he will rotate his squad throughout the year when he is required to do so. Tonight, however, did he rotate too many key players, or did he get it right? Out of the trio of Rivero, Pedro Morales and Cristian Techera, does it not stand to reason that at least one of these three should have started the match? Hopefully Robbo and company have something up their sleeves on Saturday because the StubHub Centre has not been kind to the Caps over the years, and they can ill afford to drop points, and league standing, to a western rival.
And now it's your turn. You can add your voice to the conversation by leaving a comment in the section below.