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Report Card – Real Salt Lake v. Vancouver Whitecaps

The ‘Caps come away empty handed, because, well, we wuz robbed. Here’s our grades from Saturday’s match at the Rio Tinto.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It was another frustrating day for the new 2019 Vancouver Whitecaps in Salt Lake City, but good things were on display. There were definitely things to like, and of course, some things not to like. Looking at the whole, the ‘Caps played well through the defensive and midfield thirds of the pitch, but the attacking options are where things are fizzling out.

Taking a look back at yesterday’s match, the backline looks like it’s got a strong foundation, and the midfield looked much more solid in Saturday’s game against Salt Lake. If not for a dive by Corey Baird, and perhaps some proper management of discipline, the ‘Caps should have come away with at least a point.

For reference, I grade based on numbers, where a professional, relatively mistake free, and effective match in their respective role will earn a player a 6.0. Over or under that reflects my personal opinion of how a player performed. If you agree or disagree, be sure to chime in below in the comments.

16 – Maxime Crepeau – 6.5 – Made 5 saves on the day, looked comfortable in possession, and appears to be growing in confidence and understanding with his backline. The late one from Kreilach’s headed effort was outstanding as well to keep the ‘Caps in the game.

28 – Jake Nerwinski – 5.0 – Jake (and the Caps) got screwed, but he was still playing catch up to try and get to Baird in that position. He also had four opportunities to put crosses in, and only picked out a teammate once. That said, Doneil’s chance was the best chance the ‘Caps had in the game which is another problem that I’ll get to later.

22 – Erik Godoy – 6.0 – Looks like he can be solid at the heart of defence making 4 clearances and winning two of two tackles, but he only won 1 of his 6 aerial duels. That’s the only thing I can dock him for, I think the centre half partnership grew from the first match and can get better from here.

2 – Doneil Henry – 6.0 – He completed 79% of his passes, so the question about whether he can handle a possession system confuses me. He also won both his aerial duels, made 3 interceptions, and hammered his header on target. I’m not going to begrudge him not scoring, he hit the target, and with power, that it went straight into Rimando’s chest is unlucky.

94 – PC – 5.0 – Lost the ball once, outside of that he was sound at the left back/left wing back position. He was unlucky to be on the receiving end of hands to the face (see: eye gouge) from Everton that the officials didn’t bother to consider dangerous play. Also won 2/3 tackles, his only aerial duel and made one clearance while completing 78% of his passes.

6 – Jon Erice – 5.5 – I thought his range of passing was getting better, and he did play several line-splitting passes. That said, outside of Hwang, the team didn’t get going in the final third for most of the game. Still an adept number 6 that links the backline to the attack well, and he looked more on pace with the game this week.

15 – Andy Rose – 6.0 – Sound in the middle of the park, and his energy and height I think were important for the ‘Caps. He only won 3 of 6 aerial duels, but he had one key pass, and missed a big chance in the first half (arguably two) to get a shot on target.

4 – In-Beom Hwang – 7.0 – He was the best player on the pitch, for either team. Deft on the ball, incredible vision to find runners in space, and just put his left footed effort over the bar; is it too early to tell him I love him?

29 – Yordy Reyna – 3.5 – Reyna had a frustrating day in my books, he should have done so much better with the ball Ardaiz clipped over the top to him. He was in space, and he took a loose first touch which is very un-Yordy, and squandered the chance to get the team level. He struggled to get past defenders completing zero of his dribbles on the day. To be fair to Yordy though, he was the most fouled player in the match so RSL obviously knew he posed a threat.

7 – Lucas Venuto – 3.0 – Dispossessed 4 times on the day, didn’t get credited with a single dribble, failed to latch onto a nice ball in space from Hwang, and oddly, looks like he’s lacking in fitness considering it would be the midway season of the Austrian Bundesliga campaign (and he looks like a bag of muscles packed into his kit).

12 – Fredy Montero – 3.0 – Fredy should be dropped from the starting XI next week. Sure, he took down a deflected ball on the chest, before hammering it on the half volley off of Nedum Onuoha’s face, but he didn’t get into the play and was nearly invisible throughout the 90 minutes. There were 21 crosses played into the box, and for a forward that ‘needs service’ there were plenty of attempts to provide it.

23 – Scott Sutter – 6.0 – Coming in for PC and playing on his off wing, Sutter impressed me in his time on the pitch. Just so long as he doesn’t try to put in any left footed crosses, I think he should be starting for this team. He made one clearance, won both tackles he went into, and his only aerial duel.

19 – Lass Bangoura – 6.0 – Had a nice cameo following the home opener against Minnesota, completing 9/10 passes, the one incomplete being an attempted cross. He did make an accurate cross with the other

9 – Joaquin Ardaiz – 6.5 – Another that came off the bench that should be starting, he was lively, ran the channels, and played some really dangerous passes into the box. His height and pace could be what this team needs to kick-start this attack.

And there we have it, still no points on the board through two, but plenty of us looked at the offseason overhaul and thought this team would stumble to start the season. Turns out – we were right! Good thing there’s still 96 points to play for in 2019.

What was your take on the match, and of course, do you agree or disagree with our grading of each player? Let us know.

For more reading there’s the Match Report from the percipient Andrew Bahl, and we’ll have more to come throughout the week leading up to next Saturday’s match in Houston against the Dynamo.