Despite the convincing final scoreline, the Vancouver Whitecaps performance against Minnesota United FC was a rather enigmatic one. Much of the first half was quite dull, at least until Reyna opened the scoring in the 35th minute, and little else happened before the half besides Ghazal being removed with injury and replaced by Felipe. Interestingly enough, this seemingly innocuous moment may just have been the push needed to really open up the match, in both directions.
The Whitecaps looked absolutely deadly for much of the second half, then suddenly switched off with a three goal lead and 10 minutes to go (conceding two in short succession), only for Davies to put a final seal on the match and finish the Loons off for good. At the end of the day it was good result and a vital 3 points in the standings. Let’s have a look at the individual performances:
Stefan Marinovic: The New Zealander had sure hands and his distribution was decent. Although he perhaps could have gotten a better touch on the first Loons goal, there were also questions as to why no one was covering the back post. 6.5
Marcel De Jong: While De Jong was reasonably active and completed an average 71% of his passes, he was a bit late to react on both goals conceded. On the first he clatters into his own teammate Waston as opposed to covering the far post and on the second he was simply outpaced by Danladi. 5.5
Doneil Henry: The Canadian put together a solid 90 minute performance amassing 7 clearances and 5 tackles while passing at a rate of 80%. While Henry may have also been partially responsible for failing to cut off the passing lane on the second Loons goal, it looks as though the Caps have found their best partner for Waston at CB. 7.0
Kendall Waston: Waston has struggled to find his form since returning from the World Cup and battling injury. Uncharacteristically, Waston won only 2 of his 5 duels on the evening and had only 1 tackle. While he didn’t have any glaring errors, more is expected from the skipper, especially in regards to keeping his back-line switched on during the final 10 minutes of a match. 5.5
Jake Nerwinski: It was a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde performance from Nerwinski. While it was positive to see him striding as far up the pitch as he did whipping crosses into the box, he completed only 1 of those 4 crosses and passed at a rate of only 64 % overall. Nerwinski also continues to be a defensive liability at times, seemingly rooted to the spot as Quintero blew by him en route to setting up the second Loons’ goal. 6.5
Cristian Techera : Techera had a difficult match in many regards, winning only one of 6 duels and failing to complete either of his attempted dribbles, while also missing out on what could have been a fourth goal for the Caps shortly after their third. That being said, Techera’s defensive work-rate in this match should not be ignored 6.0:
I won’t blame both goals on him, but note that it happened once Brek “I can’t defend” Shea came on.— Joel Prosser (@JoelProsser) July 29, 2018
Techera on the other hand made a couple key defensive plays and was more of a threat going forward...
It essentially went from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 with that sub.
I’m specifically thinking of one where he ran back towards the southsiders corner and blocked a cross. He was almost on the goal line with how far back he ran to support Nerwinski— Joel Prosser (@JoelProsser) July 29, 2018
Ali Ghazal: Despite struggling with injury and being removed just before halftime, it was a tidy shift from the Egyptian. He completed all but one of his passes (88%) and registered 3 tackles and 2 clearances. The Caps were never quite as confident defensively once Ghazal was replaced. 7.5
It started when Ali had to go off. Call me silly but, when we have Rusty and Ali in the holding mid spots, it gives the Bug, Yordy, Phonzie and whoever is striker so much freedom to go forward. The front 5 are a threat to any team.— Robin Bristow (@rob_bristow_CA) July 29, 2018
Russell Teibert: Rusty rewarded manager Carl Robison’s faith by turning in a very reliable performance in midfield. He completed a team high 42 passes and did so at a very efficient rate of 91%. He also recoded a team high 6 interceptions. I can’t think of a reason why Teibert should be dropped from the starting XI given his current run of form. 8.0
Alphonso Davies: 2 goals, 2 assists, 8 of 13 dribbles completed successfully and 3 fouls drawn (although that total seems very low), what can really be said? Davies completely dominated the match when he wanted to and there was very little that Minnesota could do about it. 10.0
Yordy Reyna : While Reyna’s performance will no doubt be overshadowed by Davies mania, that does not mean that it should be ignored. In addition to his wonder-goal, Reyna completed all but 1 of his 31 passes on the day (including 4 key passes and an assist) also drawing 4 fouls. Perhaps his only crime was dropping too deep at times, leaving Blondell on an island at the top of the attack. 9.0
Anthony Blondell: Blondell continues to seem lost in the wilderness, struggling to get involved in play and retain possession. He only completed 7 of 14 passes over the course of 63 minutes and won only 5 of 11 duels, although he did register an assist while pressuring Ibson on Davies’ first goal. Part of Blondell’s difficulties may be down to tactics, but he has done little so far to prove that he is a better attacking option than Kamara. 6.0
Felipe: The Brazilian turned in a quality 45+ minute performance and completed 94% of his passes, although the balance of those came deep within his own half. While Felipe is almost always rock solid statistically, I’ve been a bit disappointed not to see the game-breaking ability he possessed as a member of NYRB more often this season. 7.0
Kei Kamara: Kamara did all he needed to in replacement of Blondell, tapping in an empty-netter set up by Davies and providing good defensive support from his attacking position. Nothing less than you would expect from an MLS journeyman of his stature. 7.0
Brek Shea: Shea did little positively in his 13+ minutes of action. Shea lost 2 duels, saw only 2 of his 5 passes completed successfully and helped concede 2 goals with his complete lack of defensive contribution in replacement of Techera. It’s time for Shea’s days as a DP in Vancouver to come to an end. 4.0
As we roll on to next Saturday’s match against NYCFC, what did you make of the individual perfomances this weekend? Who (other than Davies) stood out? Who could have done better? Let me know!