It wasn't that the Whitecaps were horrible in their ACC defeat to Toronto FC, just that they weren't good enough on Wednesday night. Despite being the defending champions, the Whitecaps have always had a horrible relationship with the ACC, losing in ways that would make George RR Martin complain of brutality. The 2016 edition was perhaps the worst yet, and I have the dubious task of handing out some grades.
Nicolas Mezquida: B
Nicolas Mezquida has been one of the most consistent players on the Whitecaps roster, and he was the one to open the scoring on Wednesday night. His second half header was a thing of beauty, a perfectly placed looping ball that went over the out-stretched fingers of TFC Goalkeeper Alex Bono and into the back of the net.
It was his first touch of the contest, as Mezquida came on as a sub to start the second half, in favor of Russell Teibert. For all of the Whitecaps woes at the striker position, they certainly have a number of useful midfielders kicking around.
David Ousted/Kendall Waston: C
I mean, neither of them really played that poorly, but both contributed to the biggest mistake of the contest. I don't think I really need to explain it, but let's twist the knife here. Ousted and Waston needed to communicate better as they both went up to head a ball in the box in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time.
Instead, they collided, leaving Will Johnson to pick up the scraps and spoil the night for fans at BC Place. Ousted has since owned up to the mistake, saying he 'Cost his team the championship'. In my opinion, Ousted was only partly responsible for the gaffe, but he gets an A for his post-match responses regardless. He faced the music, made no excuses and deflected potential criticism away from his teammates by taking 100% of the blame himself. Clearly the great Dane took this match hard, but he'll need to put this out of his mind and get ready for Monday.
Erik Hurtado: C+
Hurtado had a so-so match. He played 83 minutes, didn't figure into the scoring, and while he was credited with three shots, none of them were on the net. That being said, he also did some nice work on the Mezquida goal, running hard to the box and creating some space so Nico could get the header off.
I think that has been stated a few times before, but Hurtado brings a similar skill set as Octavio Rivero, although at a fraction of the price. I think he's a good depth option, but definitely not something the Whitecaps can consider long term. For the record, I think Carl Robinson should look at giving Blas Perez some more minutes, as he's looked very competent when he's been allowed on the pitch. Robinson likes to rest his veterans but the dude isn't 60 years old! Let him out there.
Tim Parker: B
Parker is obviously going to get some marks for his brilliant goal, that at the time looked like was going to propel Vancouver to victory. Parker surprised TFC by taking a deep Matias Laba volley off the chest, then placing his shot past Bono to make it 2-0.
Who was Parker flanked by on that goal? Kendall Waston, as the Whitecaps clearly took Robinson's mantra of goal scoring by committee to heart.