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Report Card: Whitecaps v. Impact

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A strong road game, a second look at a new formation gives results, and the return to form of the ‘bug’.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps looked dangerous in their first road win of the season. It was an impressive display against a decent Impact team, and a statement for the fans that, just maybe, there might be more to this team than we thought. Are they coming around? Have the pieces been there all this time and are finally starting to gel? The proof will be in the pudding, but for this game anyway the answer was yes.

Here is the report card. As usual a C grade means the player did his job and nothing more than expected.

Techera, A

Techera is back. He tantalized us in the few games he played in 2015 with his knack for making goals out of nothing, and his crafty work up the wing. Well, after a poor 2016, by his standards, I think it’s safe to say this is the player we had hoped for. I’d say he has picked up his game a level with a higher rate of quality crosses than we’ve seen from him. Most of the attack ran up his right flank, and Techera was critical in creating chance after chance. His goal was a lovely piece of guile, as well.

Jacobson, A

Jacobson’s volley to tie the game from the top of the box was excellently struck. We have seen glimpses of his shot in the past and playing him forward in the midfield provides the opportunity to bring it out more often. Jacobson was also a key playmaker throughout the match and it was his assist that set up Techera’s game winner.

Laba, A-

Laba was basically a one man wrecking ball. He played such a tough, in your face game that when he finally earned his yellow card it was on a play where he didn’t even get a touch on the opposition player. Possibly the only play he made all game that didn’t take a chunk out of the opposition. It was a fierce performance, balanced finely on the edge of the rules and I’m giving this grade solely for what Laba does best, defend and destroy.

Bolaños, B

Bolaños played a decent game. He held up the ball well and is more effective when he has the freedom to work inside.

Waston/Parker, B+

The Impact created intense periods of pressure in the second half that the ‘Caps defense weathered well. In a game where Montréal took nine corners the central D had work to do, and they did it. It was refreshing to see Waston be allowed to play a physical game and not be called for every time the attacker takes a tumble. Is he rebuilding his reputation? We’ll see if DISCO has any surprises for him for that kick to the inside of Jackson-Hamel’s knee.

Ousted, B+

For almost the entire game Ousted had only one difficult save to make. And then in the final 15 minutes he came up big with a number of key saves to preserve the lead. That goal at 8’ though… was he playing the deflection? It took a couple bounces, but I think Ousted would like that one back.

The 4-1-4-1, A

Finally, a new formation that actually lived to see another day! Once the ‘Caps settled into the game, they actually looked dangerous throughout. Laba can take the DM duties on his shoulders, and it finally looks like players are available to receive short to medium range passes in the midfield. I look forward to see it again next week in Colorado.

Toni Tchani, ???

I don’t know how to assess Tchani. He was better on Saturday, but he’s been underwhelming since he arrived, and in the first half his first touch often let him down. In the second half, he wasn’t as prominent in the attack as others, but somehow the team was controlling play in the midfield and I believe Tchani had a part in that. I’m still hoping that once he settles in, the first touch volleys from the top of the box will find their way to net. I’m opening this grade up to the committee, because I need some help appreciating what he is doing out there.