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Report Card: Smash and Grab in San Jose

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The Whitecaps scored 3 goals in quick succession to steal all 3 points on the road, but was it a good performance?

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Starting XI

Stefan Marinovic: 6.5 The New Zealander had very little to do for most of the match, only having to make one save, while also registering one punch and two clearances. If not for the triple screen on Hyka’s opening goal, Marinovic may have had a better chance of getting across to it, but really can’t be blamed for either of the goals - especially with the good jump he got on the penalty kick, almost getting a finger on it.

Marcel de Jong: 1.0 This was a rough match for De Jong. He made a very foolish challenge which led to the second Earthquakes goal and very easily could have been sent off in the 52nd when he got stuck in dangerously with a high boot. He was also only able to complete 8 passes at a rate of 40%, although some of this should be blamed on attackers inability to get on the end of some good crosses.

Aaron Maund: 3.0 Did a very poor job with his headed clearance which led directly to San Jose’s opening goal.

Other than that moment, Maund was decent. He racked up 6 clearances, 4 blocked shots and two interceptions, although he was less active than his CB partner and looked a bit disengaged at times.

Kendall Waston: 5.0 The Skipper had a pretty solid match, he had a team high 11 clearances (7 with his head) and his distribution was serviceable (completing 24 passes). I still think that his command of the back-line has been suspect at times this season, but it was a decent match from the Costa Rican.

Jake Nerwinski: 8.0 While Nerwinski has undoubtably had more difficulty this season than in his rookie campaign, this was a match the youngster should be able to draw confidence from.

This tweet really says it all. Nerwinski was outstanding at both ends of the pitch and was one of the few Whitecaps that put together a full 90 minute performance.

Alphonso Davies: 6.0 Another match where Davies struggled to have a game-changing impact. It’s clear that teams are game-planning to shut down Davies’ explosive wing play, he was only able to complete 2 of his 5 dribbles and 8 of his 15 duels. On the defensive end, Davies made a dramatic clearance at a key moment, something which was a point of emphasis from the coaching staff after the match in New York. So that was good to see.

Russell Teibert: 7.0 Another really solid performance from Rusty. He completed what was easily a team-high in passes with 54 at a rate of 94%. Teibert was also active defensively with 3 interceptions and two clearances. While Teibert doesn’t necessarily provide game breaking ability, he almost always makes a positive contribution to the match.

Felipe: 3.0 While there’s some debate as to who’s to blame, this was not a good performance for Felipe. The Whitecaps improved considerably when he was removed in the 55th minute, at which point the game really opened up for the Caps.

Here’s my take on what’s gone wrong: The Whitecaps are a counter-attacking team, and Felipe operates at his best in a possession-based style of football where he’s a CAM or “no.10” as opposed to a box-to-box midfielder. You would like to think that the coaching staff would have realized this when they traded for him late in the offseason, which leads me to believe that at least some of the responsibility must lie with Felipe for his failure to adapt or understand the role and playing style being asked of him. Also, petulance such as his 52nd minute yellow card is unacceptable, especially on a team which already has discipline issues.

Cristian Techera: 5.5 Another match where Techera wasn’t terribly involved, at least up until his goal in the 61st minute. His play was quite sporadic: he was dispossessed a team-high 5 times but also drew 4 fouls. Ultimately, Techera was able to keep his composure and slot it home when it mattered most.

Yordy Reyna & Kei Kamara: 8.5 The Whitecaps attacking duel had a worldly 9 minute stretch. While questions should certainly be asked of the Earthquakes goalkeeper on the free kick goal, Kamara made a terrific diagonal pass to set up Techera on the second goal and Reyna made a great run and pass to give Kamara an empty netter and gain the lead with the 3rd. While it would have been nice to see a more complete performance over the full 90 minutes, the Whitecaps attackers bagged goals when it mattered and that 10 minute stretch was just enough to secure all 3 points.

Substitutes

Aly Ghazal: 6.5 While Ghazal didn’t stand out in his 35ish minutes of action, he was efficient with 18 passes completed (85%) and one key pass. Ghazal also provided a defensive reliability and versatility that Felipe (whom he replaced) could not.

Nicolás Mezquida: 6.5 While Mezquida was also not terribly notable on the stat sheet, the double substitution for himself and Ghazal really altered the landscape of the match. The Whitecaps looked a different team with the new duo on the park and Mezquida’s tireless defensive work-rate was particularly helpful in the final 15 minutes.

Erik Hurtado: 6.0 E-Money didn’t do much as the Whitecaps spent most of the last 15 minutes scrambling in their own defensive third. While he was unable to build on his miraculous goal scoring run of late, he did manage one quality chance on target in the late stages.

What did you think of the match? Are you happy to take away all 3 points or does the sporadic nature of the performance against the worst team in MLS concern you? Which players stood out to you (both good and bad). As always, let me know in the comments section as well as Twitter, Reddit, Facebook etc.

The Whitecaps next match is the return fixture on Sep 1st (7pm Pacific)