In what was arguably their most entertaining match of the early 2016 season, the Vancouver Whitecaps came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat the MLS Cup holders, and their Cascadia rival, Portland Timbers.
In total, the 'Caps assailed the Timbers goal with 26 shots, 12 of which were on net. In addition, the Whitecaps also maintained over 57% of possession, by far the highest total they've achieved this season.
So, in other words, when they weren't rifling off shots at an immense rate, they were busy winning the ball back, maintaining its possession, and patiently waiting for another opportunity to attack.
It's safe to say that the Whitecaps played a solid team game on Saturday, but how would we break it down for each individual player?
David Ousted - B
Looked good in the air picking off crosses and making a total of 4 saves on 5 shots on goal. As for that goal, Ousted cut down the angle well on Darlington Nagbe's shot/cross that led to Nat Borchers' goal, but for me he did everything he could on the play. If anything, Ousted just has to make sure he doesn't get flipped by Tim Parker again.
Jordan Harvey/Fraser Aird - B+/B
I don’t think we need to worry about Jordan Harvey. He has the left side of the field on lockdown and, on occasion, we’re treated to the bonus of a goal.
As for Aird, aside from being a step too slow off a throw early in the match and getting caught way out of position in the 81st minute (if I had a clip, I’d show it as he and Matías Laba were caught comically waaaaay out of position by Jack McInerney), he was dangerous going up the pitch, had a decent attempt on net, and was solid getting back on defense.
Tim Parker/Kendall Waston - B/C+
This tandem is starting to shake off the odd uneasiness we saw at the start of the season. Individually, Parker again displayed how he’s becoming a serious threat off corner kicks, while Waston had 15(!) clearances this match. On the other hand, Parker nearly destroyed Ousted when the keeper went up to pluck a cross, and Waston probably still has no idea where Borchers went on the goal.
Matías Laba/Pedro Morales - B/A-
These two are starting to get in to a great rhythm: Laba blocks & tackles, feeds Morales the ball, and the captain then pumps it 40 yards in every direction, right to the foot of a waiting Whitecap. Pretty solid give and take (or, in this case a "take & give") if you ask me.
Christian Bolanos/Cristian Techera/Nicolás Mezquida - B+/B-/B+
With Morales feeding them the ball, these are the three that had the accelerator down all match, truly pushing the tempo on the Timbers. They had 11 shots between the three of them, and would have ballooned the tally to 4 goals had it not been for Jake Gleeson and his crazy shot stopping. Of course, we all know of the one he couldn’t stop…
Techera only gets a minus because he really should have buried his header. Other than that, quality from all three players.
Masato Kudo - B+
Happy Birthday, Masato! He gave himself (and all of us) the best of birthday presents when he beat Gleeson shortside for the equalizing goal. In the replay, you can see Gleeson hesitate as he was expecting a ball across the goal mouth. Instead, Kudo took the near-post opening he was given and buried it with precision.
Special props go to 63rd minute substitution Blas Perez for providing the smokescreen on Gleeson for Bolanos' goal, in addition to getting a shot on goal and a yellow card. He had a busy 27 minutes.