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Report Card: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders

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We ... can play defense?

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver earned their first point of the season Saturday, with a 0-0 draw against their Cascadia Cup rivals, Seattle Sounders. Read on to see how the squad fared in this week’s report card. Disagree with our ratings? Let us know in the comments.

Maxime Crepeau: 7

Not a flawless performance but Crepeau seemed to be settling in well to the number 1 kit. Capable and confident (sometimes perhaps too much so), Crepeau at times has made he forget there was originally a tough competition with Zac MacMath. Distribution leaves something to be desired but he was the first keeper in a year to earn a clean sheet. That alone deserves strong marks (as does his acrobatic denial of Gustav Svensson in the 63rd minute).

Ali Adnan: 7.5

Aside from the obvious talent that he possess, what I liked to see was how aggressive Adnan was on his debut. He showed no hesitancy to push forward, flex his offensive muscle, contribute to the press and broadly show what Vancouver has lacked from their left back thus far. He also was capable defensively (Jordan Morris, who has torched defenses this season, was firmly in Adnan’s pocket before he switched sides) and this was probably the first match where the bulk of the opposition’s chances did not come down the left hand flank.

Oh. And more of this please:

https://twitter.com/farhandevji/status/1112186833209708545

Doneil Henry: 8

After a match in which both central defenders came under some scrutiny, both pillars of the Caps’ backline looked much stouter on Saturday. Henry in particular was a standout, aggressive to snuff out any chances that materialized. None were more substantial than his 78th minute denial of Raul Ruidiaz but there were several other, less spectacular, moments where he did just enough to disrupt dangerous Seattle attacks.

Erik Godoy: 7.5

Godoy shouldn’t be forgotten, even as Henry earns Man of the Match plaudits. Godoy’s positioning was equally strong and his skills on the ball are clearly superior to his linemate, with Godoy even joining the attack on at least one occasion. His off the ball clearance on Chad Marshall early in the second half was especially vital. Despite the shakiness of this Vancouver backline, Godoy could be considered to be the best of Vancouver’s many newcomers thus far.

Jake Nerwinski: 6

Nerwinski was … OK? Had some defensive gaffes, including getting caught out of position on one of Seattle’s better chances of the first half. Had a couple similar moments in the second half but was always able to rebound back into position. Thought his offensive performance, however, showed some growth and he had a really nice ball into Fredy Montero that should have been handled better. Overall, Nerwinski seems to be hot and cold but I thought he showed progress Saturday against the most vaunted attack he’s faced to date.

Russell Teibert: 6

The hustle was always there from the Canadian, if not the finesse. After the match we learned why he wasn’t at 100 percent: Teibert was playing with a separated shoulder. Given the injury, I thought it was a pretty efficient performance, with some decent passes to boot. Tough to criticize anyone who gritted through that kind of pain as well. Was spelled by Hwang in the 71st minute.

Jon Erice: 6

Took awhile to settle into the match but I thought he was a nice metronome, an oasis of calm in a sometimes chaotic game. Not the case in the first half, as he had a couple of tricky turnovers, but his passing improved as the game went on. Didn’t make a ton of noise in this one but given the tactical role he was asked to fulfill, I’m OK with that.

Felipe: 5

Seemed to switch off between being lax in defense and being too over eager. Passing wasn’t a ton better, especially set pieces which are often a redeeming facet of Felipe’s game. MDS likes what he has to offer so I think Felipe will continue to get looks but his performance Saturday was pretty underwhelming.

PC Giro: 5.5

Decision making frustrated at times and there were a couple occasions, especially in the first half, where his inability to pick out relatively straightforward passes were a hindrance. His defensive energy and willingness to press will likely keep him in MDS’ good graces, however and those were certainly his redeeming qualities in this match. He’s clearly the Plan B behind Reyna and that showed Saturday.

Lass Bangoura: 6

The first half was more of what we’ve seen from Lass in recent games that has made his talent very tantalizing for Caps’ fans early on, with his pace and energy both in abundance. Had some nice forays forward that his teammates could have done better to finish, although he had some sloppy giveaways as well in fairness. That entrepid first 45 minutes came back to bite him in the second half, however, as he promptly ran out of steam and was spelled by Lucas Venuto in the 61st minute. His actual performance probably merits a half point more but at this level, the fitness needs to be there.

Fredy Montero: 5.5

The question on the minds of most Whitecaps’ fans right now: Are Montero’s problems up front a result of a lack of service or poor form from the Colombian striker. I tend to say the latter, as Joaquin Ardaiz has seemed to give them much more of an offensive spark going forward. In the 19th minute, for instance, Lass gave Fredy lovely service, which he promptly squandered. A similar moment happened later in the match with a gem of a ball from Nerwinski. This isn’t to say that he’s received ample support up top (he hasn’t) but he hasn’t been efficient when chances come his way--one of his hallmarks when he was with the club in his first tour of duty. MDS needs to question whether Montero should be a nailed on starter come Friday.

Lucas Venuto: 7

At a time when the man he replaced (and the Vancouver offense as a whole) was lagging, Venuto’s introduction really created a spark that powered virtually every meaningful offensive foray of the last half hour.

Hwang In-Beom: 6.5

Was at the center of the controversy late, when he was bowled over by his countryman Kim Kee Hee, before being awarded, then unawarded, a penalty. Gave the Caps’ midfield a bit more of an attacking bent at a vital part of the match.

Joaquin Ardaiz: N/R

Didn’t earn enough time to merit a rating but earns credit for injecting some final third quality into the dying moments of the match, although maybe he could’ve done a bit better on his chance in stoppage time. Has surely shown enough to warrant a start.