The Vancouver Whitecaps closed out their four-game road trip away to the Houston Dynamo with an encouraging yet, ultimately, disappointing 2-1 defeat. Neither team truly outclassed the other for any extended period of time, though an early lead certainly afforded the home side a chance to somewhat dial back from their usual pressing attack.
In what grew to a two-goal deficit, the Whitecaps certainly had fightback to get into the match, but ultimately fell short away to a venue that’s proving to be a difficult one for every MLS team.
Nevertheless, the effort was there, so let’s do our thing and review it on the individual basis!
David Ousted - C+
At no point did Ousted look bad, but I bet he feels like he could have gotten a firmer hand to Alberth Elis’ header. On the PK, he simply guessed the wrong way, which happens.
One odd stat I found: Ousted by far had the most recoveries of any player in this match, with 17, as the next highest total was 11. So what does that mean? Even though he only faced four shots on target, the Dane still had to spend a lot of time snuffing out Dynamo attacks.
Tim Parker/Kendall Waston - D+/C
Parker’s night did not start in the best fashion when he was knocked off the ball by Mauro Manotas inside the first minute. Fortunately, the resulting shot was skied, but mistiming/miscalculating his jump fifteen minutes later saw the Dynamo net their lead anyway. He sorted himself out for the remainder of the match, and naturally there wouldn’t be as many negatives to list if any of his headers found the back of the net, but that first
I thought Waston looked strong throughout, but unfortunately you will be forever vilified if you’re the one giving up PKs. Even if it was soft as hell.
Jordan Harvey/Sheanon Williams - C/C+
Like Parker, Harvey had his own part to play in the opening goal, losing Manotas and allowing him to gain better position on the crossed ball. However, he certainly played redeemer later on, disrupting a cross just enough to keep Manotas from adding a second.
I don’t feel like Williams had a troubled night, but he sure had a busy one. He was far more active up-and-down the pitch than Harvey, despite the Dynamo being much more active on his side of the field. And yet, he never looked truly troubled against his old side. Yes, technically the first goal came from a cross on his side, but the entire build up started on the opposite flank, leading to a cross that he cleared away. Almost all significant crosses made on his side of the field were kept further out of the Whitecaps’ final third.
Matías Laba - B-
Solid defensively yet again, and even had a reasonable chance on net, though I’m not a fan of how long he held the ball sometimes, or the arguably unnecessary yellow card he picked up. One more and he misses a game; let’s hope that game is against a team that’s weak in the center.
Tony Tchani/Andrew Jacobson - C+/C+
I believe this was Tchani’s best match as a Whitecap, as he was looking more like the player we expected after the trade with Columbus. He wasn’t distributing like a central midfielder archetype, but not once did he look out of place. My main note on him for the night was that he was a, “cog in the machine,” and less like the square peg in a round hole from the first few matches. Was also lucky to not get a shot off before he was subbed in the 60’ minute.
Jacobson was similarly low key, though did a decent job winning balls when necessary, being strong in the air when needed, for example. However, most balls played into the final third were not done well, so if he’s going to be the central distributor, that will certainly have to improve.
Cristian Techera - C+
Lively, though that sentiment cuts both ways. Like Williams, he was on the far more active side of the pitch, but he did well in getting back to help defensively when needed, particularly when Williams was moving up the pitch. His crosses looked good, and in my opinion he should be taking a majority of the free kicks, but his passing in open play was somewhat careless.
Christian Bolaños - C+
There were times when Bolaños’ ball possession was awful, holding for too long before defenders closed in, or his free kicks were poorly delivered...
...But then he’d balance it out with immaculate possessions, where he’d receive passes cleanly and hold the ball just long enough before making the right play out of trouble, or delivering the fine free kick that Brek Shea nodded home. It’s as though he perfectly navigated the fine line between scintillating and abhorrent.
The stats say he was the best man on the pitch, and he was named MOTM on the night for the Whitecaps, but there were times where the “eye test” felt close to a fail for the night. Maybe its matter of expecting more from a player of his caliber, but he was definitely involved throughout, unlike...
Fredy Montero - C
He never really did anything wrong, but it felt like a lot of the match was happening around Montero rather than through him. He had his shots, won quite a few fouls, but was never the threat needed to trouble the Dynamo defense.