Well, who saw that coming? After a dismal start to the season the Whitecaps came out and took the game to the LA Galaxy for most of 90 minutes. Gone was the long ball to nowhere and in were quick passes through the midfield, charging runs up the flanks and piercing breaks behind the Galaxy defense. It was an entertaining game that had it all: the home team scored the first goal, lost the lead by falling 2-1, and then stormed back to not only win but score four goals in a game. It was a different team than the one we have seen up to now and the game surely was an eye opener for a discouraged fan base.
Here are the grades for the individual work done, and for once, we can spend some time celebrating the forwards.
Matias Laba, A+
Not only did his two goals on Saturday double his MLS total, but Laba played another strong defensive game. He played his usual fine line of hard-nosed defense with just enough restraint to stay on the field, and he was a beast closing down the talented Galaxy forwards. Laba has only scored four goals as a ‘Cap (I believe he has one in the ACC tournament), but each of his goals have been excellent strikes, and his header was a case of choosing the right time to get deep in the box.
He might think about shooting more.
Fredy Montero, A
If the only thing Montero does for this team is score goals, I will give him an A every time. But Montero provided more to the offense than just goals. He was lively taking down balls and going forward. He had some chemistry with Techera on the night and assisted on Laba’s second goal. If this is what Montero can bring to the team when he is not isolated and bereft of service, then bring it on! He should settle in more and more. It’s going to be fun to watch.
Cristian Techera, A+
I am offering another A+ because I am in a generous mood. But, I think he definitely deserves it. Techera was up and down the pitch running hard to the end of the game. He was often a key part of the team’s quick passing game up the midfield, and his goal was well deserved. He was somewhat fortunate to get the ball where he did on his goal, but the way he continually pressed the defense, a chance like that wasn’t going to skip by him. This is the best game I can remember Techera playing in a long time, maybe since 2015. Maybe, best ever.
Christian Bolaños, A
He didn’t score a goal and only gets an A, perhaps, a little unfairly. Maybe, he could have done better with a chance here or there, or maybe I just don’t want to be the fanboy that gives everyone A+’s after the first good game of the season. But, Bolaños stirred the offensive drink for the ‘Caps. He often played in the centre of the park, and when he had the ball he was able to create opportunities for his forwards. Other times he would receive the ball on the wing and start the attack from there. This is what the team has been missing, and having Bolaños fit again has paid immediate dividends. He is so good with the ball that it’s rarely taken away from him in tight quarters allowing him the time to find the open man and make the pass, which was better on the night than the last few games. I think, if the new TAM/GAM is spent on a striker like Lenarduzzi suggests, Christian Bolaños may just be the answer at number 10.
Tony Tchani, ?
Tchani subbed into the game at the 64’ and quickly had a couple touches. He seems to be able to find and execute the pass and managed to keep play moving forward the few times he had the ball. The play didn’t run through him as much as we expect it will in the future, but is it a coincidence that the ‘Caps score two goals to take the lead just minutes after he entered the game? At the moment his plus/minus (please, forgive the hockey stat) as a Whitecap is stellar. I look forward to see what he will bring to the team.
I recognize that those are some pretty high marks. But, it was a fun game and the Whitecaps played impressively well. I’ll be honest. I didn’t they had a game like this in them, and against a quality side to boot.
Are you prepared to be so generous? What are your thoughts on the defensive side of the ball?