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Report Card: Houston Dynamo vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC

On Saturday night, a second-string lineup was trotted out by Carl Robinson against a playoff-hungry orange wave. The result was a disappointing but rather self-inflicted defeat. Of those second stringers, we examine the best, the worst, and the average in this weeks's report card.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Mattocks: B

The speedy Jamaican looked desperate to prove himself, but ultimately fell short. He used his pace in tandem with Kekuta Manneh to create a few quality chances, and the duo looked very promising. The problem (as it tends to be for Whitecaps strikers) was a lack of end product. Perhaps with a little more time on the pitch, Mattocks could have found himself another chance. One would think that with fewer players on the pitch, Mattocks' and Manneh's speed could have opened up even more pockets of space than before. Unfortunately, Carl Robinson elected to sub in a tired looking Octavio Rivero.

Deybi Flores: C-

This lad should not be playing first team football, and especially not as a holding midfielder. In terms of playing style, Flores is most similar in playing style to Ethen Sampson. He's athletic and a tough tackler, but lacks requisite the requisite skill and composure to add anything more than nerves to the starting XI. Sampson has drifted to the outskirts of the first team and into the Thundercaps setup, but Flores has managed to cling onto an occasional starting spot. Not only is this a baffling coaching decision, it's a dangerous one. Deybi Flores occupies a much more influential area of the pitch, causing his play (or lack thereof) to become magnified. For instance, Matias Laba's first yellow card was the direct result of a bad Flores touch and the ensuing giveaway. I'm all for giving young players chances, but not at the cost of important road points.

Jordan Smith: B-

He may not win many man of the match awards or rival the production of "Jordan Harvey goal machine", but Smith looks like a reliable fullback option. He has strength, can cross the ball, and rarely got caught out of position. At the very least, he outperformed his left-back counterpart Cristian Dean, who played as though he was a centerback being played out of position (wait a second...). With only a couple of months to prove himself and turn a loan into a permanent transfer, Smith is off to a solid start. He's certainly shoved Ethen Sampson out of contention as Steven Beitashour's backup.

As always, feel free to add your own grades and critique mine in the comments below.