I may be alone in this, but Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids was a weird one for me. It's not the fact that the Vancouver Whitecaps lost on the road (shocker: road teams have it rough in the MLS). But there were times throughout where the Whitecaps looked out of their depth yet still had a chance to win. You know, until everyone forgot they were playing soccer in the 60th minute.
There's been a weird duality like that for the entire season, hasn't there? A team that's ready to play, but isn't prepared to do so. As it keeps being pointed out, particularly on this blog, that starts in the dressing room long before the first whistle.
For now, we're left to reflect on the "Who Did What?" of it all.
David Ousted - B
OK, he gave up two goals, but he never really had a chance on either. For any shot where a save could be made, Ousted either squared himself perfectly or reacted quickly, whether it was off a breakaway or off a number of dead balls.
David Edgar/Kendall Waston - D+/C+
Edgar's first match with the first team was one to forget: has to take a yellow after fluffing a pass, gets beat to the ball on the first goal, and I'm still trying to figure out both his and Waston's positioning on the second goal.
(For what it's worth, the entire team is at fault on the second goal. There should never be that big of a clusterf*** right after a substitution. The fact that EVERYONE is ballwatching on the throw immediately following the sub is a travesty.)
Waston was better than he has been for most of this season, but there were times where his backline looked like the print out of a failed lie detector test, compared to the flat formation of the Rapids (maybe THAT'S why they have the lowest GA in the league? Being organized must be fantastic).
When Waston joined the Whitecaps, he benefited from the stability of Andy O'Brien; now, he needs to be that anchor, regardless of whom he's alongside. He's a great defender, but needs to be a better leader.
Marcel de Jong/Tim Parker - C+/C-
De Jong gets points for that hard knock he took in the 29th minute, where he got absolutely floored by Bobby Burling. He looked much better than he had in his first Whitecaps game, but he's still no Jordan Harvey.
And aside from being a boon on cornerkicks (though not on the night, unfortunately), Parker just isn't the guy for right back. The passing was brutal in the final third, and whiffed on the slide leading to the first goal.It's hard to imagine a time where we should be longing for Fraser Aird, after his first few games with the club, but that's where we're at this point.
Andrew Jacobson/Matías Laba - C-/C+
Between these two, Jacobson posed somewhat of a threat offensively, getting deep up the pitch early in the second half (though how did a defensive mid get so deep onto Colorado's end line?), while Laba handled was solid defensively.
But their passing? Oof. Was outright ugly. There were far too many times where a short ball up the pitch ended up at the feet of the Rapids.
Christian Bolanos/Cristian Techera - C+/C
Both were largely anonymous for me. Though he linked up well with De Jong just before being subbed out for Alphonso Davies, Techera spent too much time dribbling straight into traffic. It's as though he's always looking for the Arjen Robben shot: cut inside and rifle it on net. This only works if you're lining up a shot with your good foot, and with Techera on the left that never happens. Instead, he kept running into the brick wall of Colorado's backline.
For Bolanos, regarding his free kicks, I had one word in my notes: Meh.
Pedro Morales - C-
I just don't get it. Maybe he doesn't travel well (a Wayne Gretzky-esque fear of flying?), but his road matches have looked lethargic at best and lazy at worst. I was relieved to see him drop besides Laba when Nicolás Mezquida came on to replace Jacobson, as I've been saying all season that Laba and Morales are great together in the 4-2-3-1, but these two need to START together.
Giles Barnes - C
I felt like he wasn't getting the best of service throughout the game, but it's arguable that he's still feeling out the club, formation, game plan (or lack thereof), etc., considering that this was his first match as a Whitecap. Not meaning to slight Barnes whatsoever, but I would have preferred the fire of Blas Perez to start this match.
Speaking of fire, I've got to give props to Alphonso Davies. His entrance in the 60th didn't lead to anything game-changing, but he absolutely brought out spark that the team was surely lacking.
I'd love to see him on the pitch at the same time as Kekuta Manneh (once Manner is back from injury), and if anyone can find a clip of all the work he put in just to earn Mezquida a shot in the 80th minute, I'd truly appreciate it. Perfect example of having all the energy in the world and not knowing what to do with it.