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Report Card: Whitecaps Steal a Point From NYC

What did the performance look like for a makeshift Vancouver side missing six regulars from the bench? We’ve got you covered in English AND German!

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps went to the Big Apple this weekend to square off with New York City FC, knowing full well they were to take on MLS’s best home side in 2018 (10-0-1, going into the match) with seven key players not making the trip. And yet, an unexpected eleven were able to poach a point off a stingy NYC side, with a 2-2 draw.

**On a side note, I was watching the match with a friend and native Bayern Munich supporter, Michael Vicedom, who knows all about Alphonso Davies but is a little less familiar with the MLS. So for fun, I’ve added Michael’s commentary & thoughts from the match in German (with a translation, of course). Danke, Michael!

Stefan Marinovic - 6.5

Fantastic reaction save off Jo Inge Berget/Aaron Maund within the first five minutes, the first of two saves for Marinovic made on a night against four shots on target. It definitely felt like that On Target number should have been higher.

Case in point of how the NYCFC attack were dropping shots like they were Salt Bae: having to hold one’s breath while Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s bicycle kick glanced off the crossbar.

I don’t think there was much for Marinovic to do on Valentin Castellanos’ goal outside of square to Berget, but on Jesus Medina’s? Man, those were some gaping wickets. The defensive in front of him was scrambling at the time, but Marinovic possibly could have done better.

Die Zweite Meinung: Tolle Parade in der fünften Minute gegen Berget. Wird beim Gegentor getunnelt, kann aber aus der kurzen Entfernung nichts machen (Great Save in the fifth minute against Berget. Without blame when NY scored. Solid effort.)

Sean Franklin - 4

Got caught upfield thanks to the short NYCFC pitch a couple of times, but made up for it by staying compact on the backline. So, I guess, as long as he didn’t have to run, he was OK? Too bad the club as a whole seemed to be running and chasing all night.

Aly Ghazal/Aaron Maund - 5.5 & 5

The Ghazal & Maund pairing at centerback was definitely unexpected, but these two made the most of it in the absences of Kendall Waston and Jose Aja.

Of course, Ghazal playing out of position made room for errors due to unfamiliarity, which seemed to be the case on Castellanos’ goal, as Berget got around Ghazal far too easily. Meanwhile, Maund couldn’t make his mind up on whether to cover Castellanos or Medina.

Respectively, Ghazal and Maund had 12 and 8 clearances each, so they were certainly quick to get rid of most troubling balls while keeping the danger outside (for the most part), but the short, narrow pitch was never going to play well to the Whitecaps possession-lite long balls, so anything booted out of the back by the pair, whether it was a deep pass or a clearance, was not going to be run down on the attack.

Given the circumstances and what I’m assuming was an unanswered call to Andrew Jacobson, the central duo performed well enough.

Brett Levis - 4.5

On occasion, Levis looked a little over-matched, but never truly out of place. Defensively, he got stuck in, showing his grit any time he was forced to help out in the center of the pitch.

It looked like he was late to react to Medina before the NYCFC winger struck his goal, but the build-up to it was one big clustercuss between himself, Teibert, and Ibini, while offensively Levis could never truly get on the whatever wavelength Brek Shea was buzzing at. He’d get part way down the pitch and the ball would already be lost.

Levis made way for Yordy Reyna (5) in the 69th minute, forcing Shea to the backline. His presence didn’t affect the possession stats, but Reyna did add another layer of pressure to NYCFC keeper Brad Stuver, and earned the FK that nearly led to a shock Whitecaps win.

Bernie Ibini - 4

I can’t say he was necessarily making the best runs, but on a pitch this small, where was he to go? It felt like any time he received the ball it was stuck in his feet with no room to breathe. That said, he did play a critical role in Nico Mezquida’s opener, winning the ball off a pressing Ronald Matarrita and flicking a pass to Mezquida before joining the attack.

DZM: Bemüht, aber viele Ballverluste, kein Faktor, ausgewechselt in der 54. minute (He tried a lot, but lost possession almost immediately every single time he touched the ball. Was substituted because of that).

Afterwards, however, Ibini seemingly floated in and out of the game until being replaced by Alphonso Davies (5.5) in the 54th minute, who’s first contribution to the highlight reel was being turned into a cartwheel by Alex Ring. He didn’t factor into the game-tying goal, but he did force Stuver into a big save late on. Davies’ presence and pace at the very least gave NYCFC much more to think about when Vancouver countered.

DZM: Kam in der 54. Minute und versuchte sofort und zu Beginn auch etwas übermotiviert dem Spiel seinen Stempel aufzudrücken. So verrannte er sich ein paar Mal in seinen Dribblings, fand dann jedoch seien Rhythmus und hatte einige gefährliche Aktionen. Sein Stil erinnert mich immer an Arjen Robben, der auch gerne von der rechten Seite nach innen zieht und mit dem linken Fuß den Abschluss sucht. Ich freu mich schon darauf, die beiden zusammen beim FC Bayern zu sehen!

(He started out trying too hard and losing a couple of possessions. Later he found his rhythm and had some great dribblings. His style reminds me a lot of Arjen Robben. He likes to move from the right wing to the middle and finishes with a strong kick. Really looking forward to seeing him play for Bayern!)

Felipe - 4.5

Aside from the free kick he blasted on net in the 45th minute, Felipe had a quiet night. Again, possession was horrendous for the Whitecaps on the night, with the focus on a compact defense making the play revolve around the Brazilian, rather than include him. To his credit, he completed 85% of his passes, but it still felt like he should have been involved more.

DZM: Wenig Aktionen, musste hauptsächlich Lücken füllen und hat nur wenig für die Offenive getan (Didn’t make anything happen offensively because he had to run like crazy defensively. did a good job filling gaps and forcing NY to retreat).

Russell Teibert - 4.5

Pulled the captain’s armband in a second consecutive start and represented by throwing his body in front of just about everything, maybe excessively so, such as his slide past Anton Tinnerholm in the build to Medina’s goal. He has a reputation for a fundamental defensive gusto, but that inclination was another cog in the lacking Whitecaps possession on the night.

Strangely, he never seemed to find a solid footing over the New York Yankee infield that was covered for the match, so his “throwing his body” around was occasionally very literal.

DZM: war viel damit beschäftigt, im Mittelfeld den Bällen hinterherzulaufen. konnte das Spiel zu keiner Zeit offensiv beleben. Wenn er mal den Ball hatte, waren die Aktionen meistens überhastet. Hat sich beim Ausgleich sehr, sehr dumm im Zweikampf mit Tinnerholm verhalten (Was really busy chasing the New York Midfielders so he wasnt really able to contribute offensively. A lot of his actions seemed really hasty and his passes were not accurate enough. Made a big mistake defensively again Tinnerholm that led to NY tying the game).

Brek Shea - 5.5

Man, this dude’s play is bipolar. I was getting ready to leave my review of him as, “Making his presence known with aimless balls, slow jogs back on defense, and forever forcing me to ask , ‘Is he actually wearing shin guards?’” But after sliding to the backline after Levis’ substituion, Shea proceeds to add an effective overlapping wrinkle to the Whitecaps counterattack, knicking a point from NYCFC due to his picture perfect cross to Erik Hurtado, and nearly taking all three by blasting a free kick off the crossbar.

Dammit, why he can’t just change the game like this all the time??!?

DZM: Verteidigt nicht und tut nichts für die Offensive. langsam, pomadig, Fehlpässe, kam aber dann doch noch ins Spiel (For an hour he did neither defend nor attack, moved super slowly and played sloppy passes. Horrible to watch. Then at some point he woke up and actually contributed to the game. He assisted the tying goal and shot a decent free kick).

Nicolas Mezquida - 7

Ripped a fantastic shot from distance to open the scoring on the counterattack, while applying his usual high-pressure to dispossess the NYCFC backline & keeper. But when he had the ball and wanted to move with purpose? Mezquida kept looking for passing lanes that just didn’t exist. Nevertheless, was one of the few bright spots on offensive, with two shots on target, three successful dribbles, and a key pass in setting up Davies’ blast in the 84th minute.

DZM: Wird in der 22. Minute nicht angegriffen und schießt aus 19 Metern ein sehenswertes Tor. Bewegte sich viel, bekam aber kaum gute Bälle (Had a decent game and was the only real offensive threat until Hurtado came. Scored a great goal in the 22nd minute).

Anthony Blondell - 2.5

Did a fairly decent Nico impersonation with his time on the pitch, and by that I mean he was forever chasing, chasing, chasing. And the one time he could run into all the space he could ever hope for? He immediately is whistled for offside.

Blondell never received great service in his half on the pitch, but the result was a complacency with having to chase and never being the offensive outlet the team needed.

DZM: Absolut unsichtbar, bekam keine guten Pässe, muss sich aber dann halt auch mal weiter hinten anbieten und nicht nur vorne rumgammeln. Wurde in der Halbzeit ausgewechselt (Invisible. he didn’t get any good balls, but when you notice you are not getting them, you have to fall back and get them. He did not do that and was substituted).

Erik Hurtado (7) came on for Blondell at the half and he, along with Mezquida and eventually Reyna, came very close to deflecting some hasty clearances into the NYCFC net. He was forced into the same chasing role that Blondell fell into, but it felt like Hurtado had a different zest for it.

On his goal, Hurtado wisely tucked in behind Reyna’s front post run and succinctly buried his one-time volley. From a coaching perspective, it’s always amazing when a sub buries to equalize.

DZM: Wurde in der Halbzeit eingewechselt und hat das Spiel deutlich belebt (Came at half time and was definitely an improvement over Blondell. He wanted to prove that he can play and did a good job. His hard work paid off in the end).