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Report Card: Whitecaps vs. Ottawa Fury

In the return match of their ACC semi-final against the Ottawa Fury, the Whitecaps dug deep to overturn a 2-0 deficit, and advance 3-2 on aggregate. The performance was in stark contrast to the first leg, so let's break down the individual efforts.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Overturning a 2-0 deficit is never easy, so there's a small part of me that wants to go full Oprah and rate everyone highly:

You get an A!  YOU get an A!  EVERYONE GETS AN A!

Honestly, it's nowhere near that simple.  I had the privilege of watching the game live at BC Place, and that only magnified how important it was get all three goals, so there is plenty of room for scrutiny.

Paolo Tornaghi – A
With all due respect to the goalscorers, one Ottawa tally at any point in the match would have been horrific.  Tornaghi wasn’t necessarily standing on his head, but he made some clutch saves, particularly in the last fifteen minutes. From watching the game live, I feel like I need to drive home the point: IT. GOT. NERVY.  But not for Tornaghi.

Jordan Harvey – C+
Harvey was serviceable at best; didn’t look great, but didn’t mess things up, either.  Or, I can put it this way: he did a great job of winning balls…    right after giving them up. He was there, but he wasn't game-changing.

Tim Parker/Andrew Jacobson – C+/B-
Both were largely anonymous, which is fine on the defensive side of things, but either one could have maybe found a way to own the last fifteen minutes of the match.  Just show everyone who's boss and calm down the action.

Parker is definitely continuing to mature, which is great, but optimally he wouldn’t be paired with Jacobson on the backline, as the former tends to show unease and the latter clearly looks comfortable further up the pitch.  For Jacobson, his longer passes were a bit aimless, but he gets a higher mark as his clearances were far more resolute and he had eight(!) in the last ten minutes alone.

Jordan Smith – B
A second-straight impressive game for Smith, following the May 28th tie against Houston Dynamo.  May not have changed the game, but looked solid on the back right. Another great confidence builder.

Pedro Morales – B+
Buries his PK because that’s what he does, and sets up Rivero for the clinching goal, but I have to give him the biggest props for his 'second assist" on Mezquida’s goal.  At first, it looked like a terrible dump to the endline.

But, no: he’s busy putting it into a spot so Rivero can head it back into the box for Nico. Should never have doubted his vision on that one.

Matías Laba – C+
It was a typical Laba game: hard tackles, great blocks, bad passing.  In a game like this, where a three-goal victory is needed to advance, the passing has to be better.  Like Harvey, it was, "No Harm, No Foul." But against another team, oh, like Toronto FC, he could end up paying for it.

Alphonso Davies – B+
For the first twenty to thirty minutes, he looked every bit of his fifteen years: eager, but forcing the issue.  There was more than once where he attempted the impossible through-ball rather than a simple layoff.

But once he got settled… oh man.

He got up & down the field exceptionally well: defensively, he had eight recoveries during the match, and you’re ALWAYS going to get props if you can ankle-break a defender in the penalty area, even if you ring it off the post when shooting through a crowd of defenders.  Carl Robinson may be right to downplay his successes: let him build his confidence, and then unleash him upon the MLS.

Incidentally, I thought he was much shorter.  Maybe that’s because he’s only 15, but this kid will be a beast. As long as he gets his homework done.

Nicolás Mezquida – B+
Some props for earning the PK.  Only "some" because he didn’t really have to earn it.  He just got straight bowled over.  Maybe could have done better on a couple of his shots, and probably should have buried on the quick freekick from Morales in the 4th minute, but did well to follow & bury Rivero’s header on the second goal.  There’s a reason he started both games in the Amway.

Cristian Techera – C+
Nearly every one of his set pieces and corner kicks were dangerous.  However, during open play he either couldn’t get the ball out of his feet when around the penalty area, or sometimes disappeared altogether.

Octavio Rivero – A
Hopefully, this is the game that gets his head right, once MLS play resumes.  Although this was the result we were expecting last week in Ottawa, there’s a reason Robinson brought him into the lineup on Wednesday.

His header back to Mezquida is just smart soccer, but the shot to ice the game was phenomenal.  For those in attendance, I again apologize for the spilled drink when that shot went in. And in the 66th minute, we nearly had replay of the volley he buried against Houston.

Dangerous; just keep it up!