After a seemingly endless stream of draws, Vancouver got back to their winning ways on Friday, easing by a hapless Colorado Rapids side 2-1 in Commerce City. Despite a slow start, the Caps attack seems to be humming along at just the right time. But how did those players (and everyone else) fair in our report card? Read on to find out.
Brian Rowe: 6.5
There was not much to be done on Castillo’s golazo, perfectly placed as it was in the upper 90. Rowe did well to make sure the Rapids didn’t double their tally, especially early in the match. Wasn’t always the most confident in coming out to claim the ball but, overall, I thought it was another solid performance and the Caps appear to be in good hands until Stefan Marinovic can return.
Jake Nerwinski: 5
Early on he looked more confident going forward than you would expect for a guy whose role has been in question as of late. But that seemed to evaporate as the game went on and the right back looked a bit timid pushing forward and, when he did, his passing was not particularly crisp. Put in an alright shift defensively but also struggled to neutralize Edgar Castillo a couple of times. Despite a somewhat rocky re-entry into the first team, this is hopefully the beginning of a path back to the starting XI for the second-year man.
Jose Aja: 4.5
Not one of Aja’s better matches, as he seemed to get caught ball watching and flat footed a lot, perhaps because of the altitude. Wasn’t afraid to have a aggressive line, which almost got him in trouble on a couple occasions. Was balanced out decently well, however, by a much steadier Doneil Henry.
Doneil Henry: 8
It was an excellent debut for Henry, with fans wondering when the former West Ham man would be worked into the first team. He logged three tackles, all of which were vitally important, and had a Waston-like number of clearances. Looked much steadier than the MLS veteran Aja and should give fans nervous about the Big Man’s impending international duty something to take heart in.
Brek Shea: 6.5
The Rapids attacked Brek pretty intensely early, to some success. But Shea recovered and largely neutralized the left side of the pitch (helped by a pretty bad game from Sam Nicholson). He also launched some guided missiles from the back, including one to Cristian Techera that should’ve resulted in a goal after The Bug found himself 1v1. I’m not sure I want to see the Brek Shea at left back experiment every game but it managed to work in a pinch Friday after Marcel de Jong picked up a knock.
Efrain Juarez: 7
Worked hard to pick Edgar Castillo’s pocket and create the counter which led to Techera’s goal, one of the most tangible contributions to the club that he’s made up to this point. It was not the only counter he helped foster, either, and he looked more comfortable on the ball than in previous matches. While he should’ve done better to put off Castillo on the goal, he also made some deft tackles late in the match. Overall one of his better performances as a Whitecaps player.
Looked quite comfortable in possession but his passing was not quite as crisp as usual, even though he still worked hard to create chances. Was not quite as strong defensively and wasteful a couple times in conceding corners but overall he did his job. A competent performance from Felipe.
Yordy Reyna: 7.5
Deserves credit for the patience and passing touch in the build up to Techera’s goal. Had a well struck finish of his own, that gained the benefit of a deflection going through. Didn’t stop working in the second half and flashed lots of energy to force turnovers in the midfield. Reyna’s confidence seems to be building at exactly the right time and his energy and playmaking is just what the doctor ordered for the Caps. Replaced by Brett Levis in the 88th minute.
Alphonso Davies: 7.5
Davies did so well 1v1 against an inept Rapids defense (pray for Sam Nicholson after he got megged by Davies in the buildup to that second goal). Taking on defenders produced a myriad of chances in the first half but they were all left wanting until Davies dashed into the box and creating havoc which Reyna eventually exploited in a deflected finish. Aggressive in forcing turnovers as well, a real asset as the Caps looked to see this one out. The only real nit to pick was that Phonzie’s crossing was again pretty brutal.
Cristian Techera: 7.5
Decision making was an issue at first and he looked oddly hesitant to shoot at times considering he’s coming off a hat trick. Most notably he cut back a 1v1 chance when he probably should’ve shot quicker and later passed instead of shot coming off a good Davies chance, minutes later. But The Bug made up for it soon after, calmly waiting to put a nicely driven shot past Tim Howard. Despite the fact that he could have been more selfish at times, Techera worked hard until he was subbed off, with a number of chance creating first touches and skill moves. Replaced by Aly Ghazal in the 76th minute.
Anthony Blondell: 5.5
Worked hard early; whipped in a great cross for Reyna early but the header went wide. Was engaged with the match and had a couple explosive moments but was largely unable to leave his mark, unable to latch onto the long balls that typically spring him free. In a match defined by the Caps hitting back on the counter, Blondell was less useful than pacier players like Reyna and Techera. Replaced by Kei Kamara in the 66th minute.
Kei Kamara: 6
Did what the Caps needed their striker to do in the later stages of the game: come on and hold up play. Never looked a threat offensively but didn’t really need to either, although a goal to boost his confidence would be nice.
Aly Ghazal: 6
Ghazal was rock solid in the central midfield and displayed a couple of his trademark crunching challenges in the dying stages of the match. Responded well to a disastrous stint at center back and looked much more comfortable back in his usual role.
Brett Levis: N/A
The Saskatchewan-native looked good for the few minutes he was on the pitch, working a nice chance in stoppage time. But he didn’t log enough minutes to earn a rating, though with De Jong’s injury status unclear, Levis could be in line for a few more minutes.