The Defenders (and Keeper):
Jordan Harvey: B Tim Parker: B Kendall Waston: B Fraser Aird: C+
Sunday's game was a strange one for the Vancouver Whitecaps' backline. They scored both of the Caps' goals, but they were also culpable for all three of the Montreal Impact's. Despite the lack of Didier Drogba, a lethal combination of defensive mix-ups and Ignacio Piatti made life difficult for the usually stalwart Caps defense. New addition Fraser Aird looked intimidated at right back and failed to close down his mark on numerous occasions, while Kendall Waston seemed less commanding than usual and combined with David Ousted for a howler. Tim Parker made a number of solid through balls, but got caught out for the third Impact goal while Jordan Harvey (despite his great goal) looked average for most of the game.
Matias Laba: B+ Kianz Froese: B+
Christian Bolanos: C+ Pedro Morales: B Cristian Techera:B
The good news is that Morales is playing with a spring in his step, but the bad news is it takes more than that to win games. The midfield as a whole looked strong for the majority of the game. Both wingers caused problems and Froese and Laba made for a confident duo. Bolanos looked lazy in defense, but he still has a composure about him that a lot of Whitecaps players lack. Overall, the difference between a tie and a loss for first 66 minutes of the match was a lack of Piatti-like magic or a bounce going the Caps' way. They created chances, they won possession in important areas, and they put good service into the box. If the formation hadn't changed with the introduction of Blas Perez they could've had a good chance of tying the game. As it happened, when Froese was removed the centre of the park was made sparse and Montreal were allowed to control possession.
Octavio Rivero: B
It was a matter of inches for the Caps' DP striker. A crossbar and a strong hand from Evan Bush were the only things standing in the way of two goals (and an A mark) for Rivero. He did well to create space for himself and others and put up a good showing in his solitary physical battle against Montreal's centre back duo. He could've done a little less whinging at the ref, but he looks a more confident player than the one we saw at the end of 2015.
The Subs / The Coach
Kekuta Manneh: C Blas Perez: B- Masato Kudo: n/a Carl Robinson: C-
It's not often that Carl Robinson makes an obvious mistake, but he certainly did in the season opener. Bringing on Kekuta Manneh - who's suffering from a nagging injury - was a questionable move that didn't pay off, but the real mistake came in the decision to bring on Blas Perez at the expense of a midfielder. The move unbalanced a formation that up until that point had been putting up a strong fight. Neither of Montreal's goals were the result of formational incapability, and Robinson should have identified that. Instead, he made the team top-heavy, encouraging long balls and thinning out the midfield. Montreal ate that up and exploited the match in their favour. Laurent Ciman held strong and the talented Impact midfield stayed composed and closed out the game. The individuals on the park for the Whitecaps were doing their utmost to compete, but with half the man-power in midfield they simply couldn't create a substantial attack. In preseason, Carl Robinson dismissed talk of formations - saying that reporters were "reading too much into it" - but this match is a prime example of a formational change gone wrong.