The Vancouver Whitecaps got off to a fine start against the Montreal Impact on Sunday, with a solid display to produce the win. Despite Montreal’s noted injury woes, the ‘Caps did a great job of keeping possession and building up play from the back. Both of which have to be seen as marked improvements over what this team was just a few months ago. While the possession numbers don’t tell the whole story (and neither does the scoreline) this was a really impressive performance from Carl Robinson’s men
Let’s take a look how each of the 14 players that featured yesterday afternoon did during the kick-off to the campaign.
1 - Stefan Marinovic - 6.0 - Didn’t have a lot to deal with, in fact only faced one shot on goal - which was conceded. He possibly or probably could have done better to deal with the header, but the ball in from Lovitz was on the money.
28 - Jake Nerwinski - 6.0 - Wasn’t overly involved in the attack, but had his hands full dealing with Piatti. Overall, took care of his defensive responsibilities first and had an efficient 91% pass rating.
4 - Kendall Waston - 6.5 - Solid at the back as always, again, wasn’t called upon very often. From where I was sitting it was a soft yellow, but that’s about all I can dock him for.
22 - Aaron Maund - 6.0 - Impressed me with his showing, he looked very comfortable at the back and made a few really good clearances throughout. Both he and Marinovic were closest to Mancosu for the goal so he is slightly culpable there - still, looked like he and Kendall can form a consistent partnership in defence.
17 - Marcel De Jong - 7.5 - Defensively he absolutely owned Raheem Edwards, on top of that he linked well with Alphonso Davies in attack, played a number of good long balls forward in attack and put in some dangerous crosses. He was excellent.
13 - Cristian Techera - 7.0 - Picked up his first assist of the season and was a constant threat down the right hand side. He kept running at Lovitz and Raitala, consistently giving them problems. Would have been nice to see him get one of his free kick efforts on target though.
29 - Yordy Reyna - 6.0 - Drifted in and out of the match, overall he was efficient in possession only misplacing one pass, but he was not the creative force many expect him to be.
6 - Efrain Juarez - 6.5 - Solid in possession, really endeared himself to the home fans with some tough tackling (which was also why he picked up a very early caution) and made an excellent early pass to release Techera down the right flank for Fonzie’s goal.
67 - Alphonso Davies - 8.5 - Man of the match, screw you BC liquor laws. He was full of running and gave Michael Petrasso a nightmare of a time up against him. At times it’s easy to forget that he’s SEVENTEEN because this was a really, really impressive display. The cross to Kamara was excellent, and he routinely made darting runs into the box asking questions of defenders. All of that culminated in the 71’ minute when he broke into the box for Techera to square the ball and earn him his first MLS goal.
23 - Kei Kamara - 8.0 - Did have one. Should’ve had two. Could’ve had three. The work rate was fantastic, and you can’t take anything away from that. He was dropping deep to help out in midfield, and was a threat all over the pitch. He twice picked off balls in the final third off of bad passes from Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush, the second one, he could have scored with. I have no qualms about him taking the shot quickly - the keeper has just made a terrible mistake and he had the element of surprise, besides I will take a shot on goal every time over a player taking too long to decide what to do in possession.
8 - Felipe Martins - 6.0 - He came off the bench to replace Reyna who, as I said, drifted in and out of the match at times, but you could see right away that he was trying to make something happen at 2-0 to kill the game off. Really excited to see how he gets on from here as a creative force and link between defence and attack.
20 - Brek Shea - N/A - Wasn’t on the pitch for very long, but did show some ambition getting onto a ball in the channel before putting in the cross. A little too much weight on the cross but you could see what he was trying to do and it almost came off with Kamara loitering in the middle.
9 - Anthony Blondell - N/A - Wasn’t on for long enough to draw any real conclusions.
And that’s that, with the first game of the season in the bag, next up the Whitecaps make the trip to Houston to take on a Dynamo team which absolutely dismantled Atlanta United to start their season. How did you feel each player fared? Are there any changes you would want to see moving forward into next week’s match?
EDIT: 31 - Russell Teibert - 7.5 - Carrying over the form that he showed in preseason, he partnered well with Juarez in the middle of the park and put in a consistent reliable display (which was so impressive I forgot he even did it). Teibert completed 63 of his 68 passes on the afternoon, and won 2 of the 4 tackles he went into.