The Vancouver Whitecaps dispatched of their Cascadia rival Portland Timbers on Friday evening. After starting the season with four losses and two draws, the Caps now have three wins, one loss, and one draw in their previous five.
Vancouver’s 1-0 defeat of Portland was a tail of two halves. They looked quite formidable in the first half and seemed to taper off in the second half, as they bunkered down. However, there were still some stand-out performances. We give individual performance grades for each of the starters, with a 5/6 being ‘average’. Let’s see if you agree with our ratings.
Crepeau (9): I am sure he deserves a ‘10’, I just want to leave some wiggle room. However, he had another fantastic game coming up with some brilliants stops. He now leads MLS in goals saved above replacement. I am not sure how that is calculated exactly, but I know wins above replacement in baseball is a pretty important stat. Also, another clean sheet for Crepeau (and the defense).
Nerwinski (6): He didn’t do anything wrong, but Jake just seems to be a passenger this season. To be honest, he has been a bit of a passenger the past two seasons. It isn’t that he is poor but rather that he has come to be nothing spectacular. I don’t think he ever has a wow moment, has stopped providing assists, and has the odd defensive miscue. I suspect that both full back positions, when Adnan is gone, will be seen by MDS as needing to be upgraded. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the club go to 3 CB when Khmiri is healthy.
Godoy (9): He just doesn’t seem to put a foot wrong. I don’t really have much to say about him as he just quietly does his job.
Henry (10): I know, I know. Why a ‘10’ here and not for Crepeau? Answer: Because.
At the start of the season I saw Henry as the third-CB. He had his moments but was nothing spectacular and you could count on him for a mistake or two. Wow, what a change from Henry. He has looked fantastic. He has dominated the backline and imposed himself on opponents. He can be (partly) credited with the win in Colorado, getting Rubio sent off. He, along with Hwang, got under the skin of Blanco. He LAID OUT, cleanly, Valerie. He has just been excellent.
Adnan (7.5): For every moment of brilliance (cockiness?) from Adnan, there is a moment of lazy defending. He had a fantastic run in the 12th minute and then undid half the Timbers team in a second half run. However, he was a little loose on his defending and was beat easily several times…and didn’t seem to put in a full effort to recover. I don’t think that Adnan will be resigned when his loan is done, hence why we are seeing more of Levis. But, if Adnan is resigned, he will be a fantastic wingback with Henry, Godoy, and Khmiri behind.
Erice (7.5): He had a solid, mostly invisible, match. I loved his one run into the box in the first half. That was completely unexpected. Of course, we saw a bit why he is a defensive guy, but still, it was nice to see him getting into the action. In general though, he creates a calm in the middle of the park and is great at protecting his center backs.
Teibert (8.5): I understand the comments from people that they feel Teibert should not be a starter. He is JUST not good enough. In the sense that he seems to be just behind in his creativity and making offensive decisions. Having said that, he is such an important cog. He was strong both offensively and defensively. He continues to be the club’s best passer. And NO, it is not because all of his passes are back and to the side. He actually passes a lot of long, pinpoint, passes. Hopefully this nonsense thinking will stop soon. But yeah, Teibert was able to get the ball to Montero, after Hwang’s sublime pass, and he was able to cover when Adnan, especially, was too lazy to get back in defense.
Hwang (6.5): That pass to Montero. WOW! Outside of that??? He didn’t do much. I think the travel to Korea for national team duties, along with the extensive travel in MLS is getting to him. He is a great player, with a bit of an edge, but I think he is just a bit burned out right now. That is fine. It is a big transition for him. It takes a while to get adjusted. He was caught several times in possession, but always hustled to get back and retrieve the ball (a la Davies). That is important to me and why he gets a bit above an ‘average’ grade…and that pass.
Venuto (5): He had another solid match and didn’t really put a foot wrong. The problem is, the end product is lacking. He was more involved than Lass, but that sky-high shot in the second half? He needs to, at least, put that on-target and make the keeper work.
Lass (4.5): He was largely invisible in this one. He has the ability 1v1 to blow past guys but like Venuto seems to lack the finish. While there was some excitement with Venuto and Lass coming in, currently I see those as two positions that can be upgraded. The Caps can’t rely on Montero (and Reyna) to do all the heavy goal lifting and currently, that is what it feels like.
Montero (9): That is six goals in nine games against Portland now. Montero is finally in-form and showing why he is leading this team. Henry was the best Whitecaps in the second half, but Montero was clearly that in the first half. He was everywhere, winning battles, setting up the offense, passing well to teammates. He had a great game and with Reyna out the Caps need to rely heavily on Montero. It is great that he is showing up.
Those are our rankings. What rankings do you give? Agree/Disagree with mine? What about the substitutes? How did Rose, Levis, and Ardaiz perform in their limited time?