In a game where the they often looked over-matched for periods at a time (don’t even get started about the possession stats), the Vancouver Whitecaps showed off a stout resiliency that was certainly missed this season, in coming back to draw Los Angeles FC, 2-2. Per the norm, we’ve got your game review here, and your player reviews right this way...
Stefan Marinovic - 5.5
Made two saves on four shots on goal, with one being a solid punch on a tight angle shot from Latif Blessing in the 67th minute. Even did well to get a hand to Diego Rossi’s shot on the second goal, but pushed it into the post rather than around.
Jake Nerwinski - 6.5
Strong game at right back for Nerwinski, where he completed 5 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 clearances, 3 recoveries, and 2 blocked shots. Stood his ground multiple times on a flailing Carlos Vela, but unfortunately did so with Yordy Reyna in a clattering that left VWFC vulnerable and opened the space LAFC needed to cut through the defense and open the scoring.
Kendall Waston - 5
2 tackles, 4 interceptions, 5 recoveries, and 6 clearances all made for a steady night for the captain. Never really did anything too out of place or character, but felt like he should have been screaming at his midfielders for leaving so much space in front of himself and Henry. For what it’s worth, his long balls were working for him, particularly in keeping anything up-field to the corners and away from the area.
Doneil Henry - 5
Like Waston, was rather tidy on defense, with a tackle, a blocked shot, 3 recoveries, 4 interceptions, 5 clearances, and way too much open space in front of him, where it becomes a question of whether to sit deep & defend the penalty area or close the gap and allow diagonal runs to cut through. Was much more assertive and decisive in doing so in the second half.
Brett Levis - 6
Quality match from the young left back, and he went the full 90, too! Was the best passer for the Whitecaps on the day at 86%, and defensively earned 2 blocks, 3 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 5 recoveries. He did get burned twice by Adama Diomande, once on the outside and later chased Dio as the striker dummied a pass to a left-alone Rossi
Aly Ghazal - 5.5
Solid defensively all night, with 5 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 7 recoveries. If anything, his downfall on the night may have been having to sheriff the area in front of the defense by himself. Being the lone DCM in a 4-1-4-1 formation sure looked frustrating for Ghazal, as he wasn’t getting a lot of help from the guys in front of him for the first 50 minutes or so.
Brek Shea - 2.5
Got a shot on target, made 5 tackles, and made a great, key pass to Reyna outside the penalty area through heavy traffic. But his crosses were generally poor, and often came as a disappointing result of a hard-worked build up. Or, put another way...
Shea has two modes:— Eighty Six Forever (@86forever) October 21, 2018
1. Guys the baaalllllll! The ball!
2. KiCk ThE bAlL!!!
Case in point for Mode #1: it may have been Reyna and Nerwinski running into each other that led to LAFC scoring their first, but special “credit” goes to the guy who’s more inclined to stand at center and gesture aimlessly in a futile attempt to affect the situation than run back and actually play defense.
Russell Teibert - 4
High percentage passing once again and, along with Ghazal, did a great job of reading passes and blocking lanes, but was exemplary of the first half inability for the Whitecaps midfield to get back on defense. On both goals, and Vela’s ringing of the cross bar, Teibert was way, way too high up the pitch. To his credit, he helped fix the problem in the second half by keeping the center of the pitch compact, but by then the ‘Caps were chasing the game.
Yordy Reyna - 5.5
His free kicks were uninspired, his yellow card was sloppy, and he wasn’t a help defensively, but Reyna had a number of hard, controlled runs up the center of the pitch, picked out players with good passes, and overall helped make Benny Feilhaber’s night miserable. And, credit where it’s do for sending Tyler Miller the wrong way in scoring the penalty.
Made way for Jordon Mutch (7.5) in the 61st minute, and the Brit wasted very little time in making an impact on the match. It’s clear the LAFC defenders (or anyone else) were not expecting a shot from nearly 40 yards out, but good on the lad for taking the space he was given and thunderously putting his laces through the ball.
Alphonso Davies - 8
Was relieved of the ball quickly on his first possession, and that felt like the only time LAFC had an answer for Davies. He made a number of long, searing runs at and through the Los Angeles defenders, particularly in his earning of the penalty shot. The yellow card he took was careless, but does he get credit for a second assist with the backheel to Hurtado in the build up to the second goal? Regardless, I’d wager that Steven Beitashour is still icing his calves.
Erik Hurtado - 4.5
Ultimately had a quiet game for a lone striker, though that may have been more a symptom of the Whitecaps’ wingers running with the ball at their feet rather than looking to play the ball at/near/in front of Hurtado. Made three key passes, the third being the assist on Mutch’s blast, and was starting to make an impact in the time leading up to his substitution, having rounded Jordan Harvey twice in succession, which would explain his frustration in being removed from the match.
Replacing Hurtado in the 70th minute was Anthony Blondell (4), who only made nine touches of the ball in his twenty minutes on the pitch. Did well to nearly corral a long cross into the penalty area from Mutch in the 73rd, but when he has the ball, Blondell needs to do a much better job of shielding it with his body.