Friday night, the Vancouver Whitecaps fell to the Los Angeles Galaxy by a score of 2-0. There’s been a lot of negativity online in the fallout from this one - with everything from ridiculing Ali Adnan’s botched penalty attempt to the timeless classic “spend more money!”.
In light of this negativity, I think it’s important to keep perspective. In the first half, the Whitecaps played some of the most organized, attractive, football I’ve seen over the history of this MLS franchise - this is a transition to the style of play that many amongst Whitecaps supporters have been clamouring for for a long time.
That being said, all that went well in the first half seemed to slip away after the break - this is a style of play which goes poorly when not executed at a high level, and the Whitecaps looked as though they slipped back into some bad habits in the second half.
I think our friends at Between the Sticks summed it up pretty well post-match:
Positives: We had a good half, chances were created, we showed off what could be done. All white kit was very nice— Between The Sticks (@btsvancity) April 6, 2019
Negatives: Poor second half, game got away, shambolic marking, no clean sheet, Ibra show took away bit of home magic
Good test for #VWFC , hope for the W in CHI
Given the odd nature of this match, the individual grades were particularly tricky to hand out, so be sure to let me know just how wrong you think I am in the comments!
Crepeau: The Canadian is oddly inconsistent in both his aggressiveness and distribution. I think Crepeau is at his best when he commands his area aggressively and distributes the ball quickly, but unfortunately we don’t see this all the time. Although he’s not to blame for either of the goals that were scored, his weak fisted clearance should’ve given Zlatan a second tally. 5.0
Ali Adnan: Horrific PK aside, Adnan was very good in this one. Perhaps what impressed me most was his ability to control so much of the game from the left back position, particularly in the first half. He passed at a rate of 81%, won 11 duels and had 3 successful dribbles. 7.0
Godoy: While this might have been Godoy’s worst performance as a Whitecap, I still think he was solid. He’s comfortable with the ball at his feet (passing at 94%) and plays far more advanced than his CB partner Henry. While all the Whitecaps defenders are to blame for the first goal to some degree, Godoy was asked to mark two Galaxy attackers on the second goal (including Zlatan) while Henry marked “air” a couple feet away. 5.0
Henry: After a standout performance last match, Henry stood out for the wrong reasons in this one. Importantly, Henry often defaults to playing far too deep in his own area and this hurts the overall shape of the Whitecaps defensive line - have a look at Henry’s heat map below:
Henry did have two tackles and five clearances, but I’d be eager to see what Khmiri can do when back at full health. 4.0
Nerwinski: Jake has really struggled so far this season and Friday night was no different. He was burned several times defensively, with none being more obvious than his botched clearance which lead to the first Galaxy goal. 3.0
Erice: Jon’s underlying numbers are always very solid (he made 45 passes at 90% and was 2 for 2 on long balls), however, there are certainly some questions as to what he brings defensively from his CDM position. On both Galaxy goals, the Caps could have used some better defensive support from the midfield. 5.5
Felipe: The Brazilian was very active, completing 58 (!) passes at 90% and 7 of 9 long balls. Despite these impressive stats, Felipe still struggles to be a game breaker in attack and his defensive work rate leaves a lot to be desired. This is a confusing one certainly, the “is Felipe good” debate rages on... 6.5
Teibert: Teibert, like the other midfielders, passed the ball very efficiently, completing 38 passes at a rate of 95%. While this sounds very impressive, many of Teibert’s passes were backwards or lateral as opposed to advancing up the pitch, so while Teibert wasn’t necessarily poor, he also didn’t create much. Have a look a the passing map below. 5.5
Hwang: Especially in the first half, the Korean looked like the best player on the pitch, drawing two yellow cards and dazzling with his footwork. Although he faded a bit as the match went on, and his finishing could still use a bit of work, Hwang has been one of the few players so far which has fully lived up to expectations in my opinion. He had 3 key passes and won 8 of his 12 duels. 8.0
Bangoura: He drew the early PK and created a few other quality chances. Although he still doesn’t appear to have the energy to go a full 90 minutes, his defensive work-rate was better than last match. He was dispossessed 4 times and made only 8 passes. 6.0
Ardaiz: Although nothing about his stat-line really stands out, Joaquin offers a physical presence up-front which has the potential to change the complexion of the Whitecaps attack. He had a great chance one-on-one with the keeper which perhaps he should’ve finished, but I still think Ardaiz did enough in this one to keep his spot in the lineup. He should only get better as he grows comfortable with his new surroundings. 6.0
Venuto: Lucas created a few nice chances but other than that was relatively inactive. He needs to provide a more complete game to find himself in the lineup regularly. 5.5
Reyna: Yordy brought some energy when he came on, but still looks a bit out of sorts. It’s hard to say exactly what’s gone wrong. He made 9 passes, committed 2 fouls and lost all four of his duels. 5.0
Montero: It’s clear that Fredy is frustrated not only with his own performance, but also with that of the team. The Colombian has seemed a step behind at every moment so far this season and you can see that it’s weighing on him at this point. He committed several hard fouls, including a yellow card tackle from behind for which he coud’ve easily seen red. 4.0
Somehow Fredy escapes with a yellow there.— Corey (@Whitecaps4Life) April 6, 2019
Ok, that’s all folks! Is it time to push the panic button already? Or are these necessary growing pains in the evolution of the club’s philosophy? What did you think of how each player stacked up? Be sure to let us know!
The Whitecaps’ next match is Friday April 12th at the Chicago Fire, 5:30PT.