The 2-2 draw against Minnesota United was a game the Whitecaps should have won, and somehow a game they probably should have lost. How do you grade the team after a performance like that?
I thought the Whitecaps were better in the final third for once than they were in their own end, and no one was better offensively than Cristian Techera. He is playing with such confidence right now and his set piece delivery is benefitting from it. He scored off the PK, seriously, after 3 PK misses this season, how many of you were confident that was going to go in, by calmly sending the keeper the wrong way and placing the ball in the opposite side. More impressive was his free kick to the head of Tchani for the second goal. Techera is playing his best football for the club right now. Long may it last.
I so want to give Alphonso Davies a higher grade. He was instrumental in the run up to both goals, and was constantly able to move the ball forward and create offense. He showed some talent for passing with a lovely through ball for Ibini in the final minutes. So many times I pleaded with a certain other former Whitecap to stop taking on two defenders, but somehow wriggling past two defenders is actually becoming Davies game. He is going to be so good. Sorry Robbo, I know I’m not supposed to say it, but it’s true. His grade drops because he was a part of the poor team play in the defensive end.
There were mixed reviews about Shea upon his joining the ‘Caps, but I have to say I like him. Him in the two striker set up is an interesting look. It was his legs that Shuttleworth clipped out from under him to cause the PK.
In his second game as a ‘Cap Bernie Ibini entered as a sub and provided a lift to the team. He nearly had the winner if not for a spectacular save by the Minnesota goalkeeper.
It was on the defensive end that the ‘Caps struggled as they continuously gave the ball away in their own end thus fuelling the Minnesota attack. But, Matias Laba was often not the problem as he made some excellent tackles and was often quick to step up and break up the play.
Tony Tchani scored his first goal as a ‘Cap off a screaming header into the back of the net. His role was definitely more of a defensive one and he often contained the defensive midfield while Laba hunted for the ball.
Nerwinski, Jacobson, Parker, Harvey, C-
Harvey was exposed on a goal and Jacobson on the other, but mostly, the back line was fairly effective at stopping the attack. The problem was that after stopping the attack, too often the ball went right back to a United player. It’s not all their fault. Davies and Techera were also guilty at times of coughing up the ball too easily, but this was a big factor in their losing the two goal lead.
You would think the two-striker formation should help Fredy Montero, as he is able to drop behind Shea in his favoured position on the pitch. He did make some nice plays early in the first half to set up players around him, but, Montero is not making the kind of impact on the game that he needs to. He needs to get service and he needs shots on net. It didn’t help that he disappeared in the second half.