After last week’s positive result, the Vancouver Whitecaps came into Minneapolis with dreams of getting back to poaching road points. But, for all the positive moments the club put forward, there just wasn’t enough to overturn a 1-0 deficit against 10-man Minnesota United FC.
Stefan Marinovic - 6.5
Did well with his regular housekeeping: negating a number chances played across his box, particularly during a dangerous scoring opportunity in the 34th minute, by disrupting a cross inside his six. Even on the goal, he did well to block Miguel Ibarra’s initial shot, only for the rebound to remain in front of the open net.
Brett Levis - 4.5
It felt like Minnesota’s plan for attack was to a have a run at the young left back, and for the most part the Loons were successful. Levis did well to get up-field offensively, leading all players on the day with four Key Passes, but defensively, it felt like he was getting rounded far too often. That, and losing track of Ibarra on the goal (though he’s certainly not the only at fault here) let the negatives outweigh the positives.
Kendall Waston - 5.5
Had that wonderful chance on goal in the 9th minute, only to have Bobby Shuttleworth make one of his many great saves on the day, and hounded Mason Toye into a red card (where Toye actually threw an initial hard elbow at 49:13, ten seconds before the one spotted by the ref). But on the goal, he looked lost. To a man, the Whitecaps did not react well to Minnesota’s counterattack in the goal’s build up, but Waston was ultimately left with a lot of space to cover and no means to do so.
Jose Aja - 5
Like Waston, Aja looked lost as Alexi Gomez’s ball found its way through the penalty area. Could the two centerbacks have sat a little deeper? Possibly. Again, the Loons’ counter caught Vancouver flatfooted, but the defensive line left a lot of space for a soft, bouncing cross to weasel through. The goal aside, Aja played well defensively, often recovering the ball in difficult situation, despite those recoveries sometimes being a result of his own less aimless passing.
Sean Franklin - 6
Of Vancouver’s four defenders, I actually liked Franklin’s play the best (though the MLS’s Audi Index would certainly disagree). He didn’t get up the wing as often as Levis, instead waiting for more opportune moments. Didn’t rush his passes, and usually played it safe.
Alphonso Davies - 7
For all the hype this week over Davies’ 1v1 skills, he certainly didn’t do anything to disprove it. Had his motor going on offense and defense, even poaching a ball from a sometimes calamitous Aly Ghazal to break out on a slaloming run. The only place he shouldn’t dribble? Into the center of the pitch. Incidentally, that could speak to why he disappeared in the second half, as the Whitecaps were forced into maintaining a possession outside of Minnesota’s defensive perimeter. If there’s nowhere for Fonzie to run, he gets neutralized.
Felipe - 6.5
His passing was decent overall, but its efficiency tanked around the penalty area. In the final third, he completed less than half of his passes attempted, with only one successful pass into the penalty area. Needed a bit more creativity out of him, particularly after the ‘Caps went up a man.
Aly Ghazal - 3.5
His defending was great, but his passing game... I’ll put it this way: it certainly felt like he had more than eight unsuccessful passes on the day (compared to 59 successful ones). But my biggest grievance was his decision making in the build-up to Ibarra’s goal. For whatever reason, he stepped forward to cover Davies’ man on the wing as Davies was stepping forward to cover his man. This left a monstrous opening in the middle through which Minnesota romped.
Bernie Ibini - 4
Strong on any ball played to him in the air, but his ball control was suspect, whether through distribution or losing possession on the dribble. For all the strength he has in the air, Ibini needs a little more grit and gumption to keep from being dispossessed.
Largely absent, and almost entirely overshadowed by the seven minutes served by his replacement, Brek Shea (6.5), who, were it not for the left knuckle of Shuttleworth, would have stolen a point back for the Whitecaps.
Anthony Blondell - 7
A lot of positives from Blondell, often forcing Shuttleworth into making difficult saves (and probably pushing the keeper onto the MLS Team of the Week). Like Davies, proved to have less impact in the second half, save for his ambitious 38-yard sky ball just prior to being subbed for Kei Kamara (6.5).
Incidentally, Kamara provided a very productive half-hour of soccer, though he arguably should have potted at least one of his chances. Would it be too much to have Kamara & Blondell terrorize backlines at the same time?
Nicolas Mezquida - 8
His pace was on display today, and its beyond me why he only seems to get starts in away matches. Lively crosses, assertive control and distribution, and that inside-out cornerkick in the 39th minute would have it been something had it landed on a Whitecap head rather than Michael Boxall’s.
Absolutely not the guy who should have made way for Yordy Reyna (6.5) (that would have been Ghazal), but if like-for-like was the intent, Reyna at the very least kept the pressure on the Loons. Like Shea and Kamara, Reyna’s inclusion made for some fantastic efforts on net, like this rip off the crossbar in the 70th minute, but not quite enough to change the game’s outcome.