Octavio Rivero may not have scored in the Whitecaps season opening loss to the Montreal Impact on Sunday, but there's no denying the striker had a good day at the office. Rivero had a team high four shots on net and six shots total, and would have had at least one goal if not for the oustanding play of Impact Keeper Evan Bush.
Check out this play from Rivero in the 20th minute of the contest. Jordan Harvey bombs a deep pass to Rivero, who collects the ball and is able to quickly cut to his right. He then rips a curling shot that just misses the net, and instead bounces off the cross-bar. It only goes down as a shot on the scoresheet, but it was a crafty play that would have easily made the highlight reels if it had been a few inches lower.
Rattling the crossbar #VWFC https://t.co/nTW97ueb6I— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) March 7, 2016
Rivero came inches away from scoring a few times on the night; There was the header from in the box in the 55th minute that Bush was able to swallow up. Then there was the absolute robbery by Bush in the 68th minute, when he batted away a Rivero header that looked sure to go in. You can crap on Rivero for not finishing the job, but at a certain point, you also have to tip your hat to the keeper. I think it's tough for a lot of fans to defend Rivero when they see a guy like Ignacio Piatti come into BC Place and essentially turn the Whitecaps backline into swiss cheese, but I don't think you can pin the blame on Rivero for this loss. He was involved, he was creating chances, and he was simply bested by the goalkeeper on more than one occasion.
That's not to say Rivero is getting a free pass here. If he's going to play up top as the Whitecaps striker, he has to produce. However, if he continues to generate high quality scoring chances like he did on Sunday, the flood gates will open eventually. Right now, it's one game. Rivero deserves more time to prove he can put up some numbers.