It was a strange match at Children’s Mercy Park but the visiting Whitecaps earned a point thanks to a late surge culminating in a wonderful volley from an unlikely hero in Derek Cornelius. Read on to see how he (and the rest of the team) fared in this week’s report card.
Maxime Crepeau: 7
Distribution really made it impossible to build up out of the back, at least early. Did have a couple big saves and was rather unlucky an excellent stop on Johnny Russell fell right to Krisztian Nemeth. There were no saves that will enter club mythology like his triple save against Atlanta but he has a habit of making deceptively tricky saves look easy.
Ali Adnan: 6.5
So this was a weird match for Adnan. On one hand, he was the only one who looked engaged offensively for much of the match. On the other, he did not handle Russell well and generally had a bit of a stormer defensively (like the dude got torched by Yohan Croizet who is decidedly not Serie A quality) and his set piece delivery, such a strong point in his early matches, was off the mark. You have to wonder if the rigors of MLS travel are starting to take their toll BUT I did think he looked better in more of a wingback role so perhaps MDS will explore that more going forward.
Doneil Henry: 7.5
The best drilled player on the pitch, per usual. Was probably the only Whitecaps player where he needed to be on the counter that led to the SKC goal. Characteristically had several vital challenges, including the one that he was pulled a hamstring on in the 72nd minute. Caps fans will be more than a little nervous waiting for the injury report, as Henry was again the team’s best player.
Erik Godoy: 6.5
Leaky on through balls in the first half, something highly uncharacteristic for Godoy. Was hit and miss in terms of building out of the back but his defensive work got much better in the second half. He also didn’t miss a beat in a tactically chaotic second half, going from 2 centerbacks to 3 and back.
Jake Nerwinski: 7
Thought Nerwinski looked quite strong offensively and that he brought a lot in terms of passing. Almost had to pull double duty at times when Lucas Venuto looked less than engaged. Just couldn’t quite put a cross on the head of Montero but overall I thought it was a bright match for Jake, although his advanced stats were not quite as good as I initially would have guessed.
Felipe Martins: 6
It was an up and down first half for Felipe. After perhaps rushing to judgement on his Wednesday match I really tried to watch his game more holistically and …it was more of the same. He probably failed the eye test when he picked up a silly early booking and, to top it all off, was embarrassingly muscled off the ball by Benny Feilhaber in route to SKC’s first goal. But his underlying numbers were again pretty good, with 92 percent passing accuracy and a couple decent long balls. Also drew a red card on Nemeth and Caps’ fans will hope the injury he sustained will not cause him to miss serious time, with the center midfield depth getting dangerously low.
Russell Teibert: 6.5
Added more defensive steal tonight, as he came up with a couple big blocks. Positioning was much better than Wednesday’s match and I can’t really find a ton of faults in his performance. Really fit in well with some of the fluid movement in the first half but seemed to lose his touch as the match went on. Overall, this was one where Rusty was able to get things back on track after a decidedly meh match earlier this week.
Andy Rose: 6
I found Rose’s presence to be a much needed antidote for the offensively ineptitude that was much of the Atlanta United match. I think he adds a bit of attacking moxy to a midfield which has basically 0 creativity without Hwang (or with an absolutely gassed Hwang). Didn’t do a ton to directly influence the match but I think he helped facilitate a lot of the good passing sequences and he seemed to be one of two players (along with Fredy Montero) to commit to pressing SKC.
PC Giro: 5
Johnny Russell owned him in the first half and he wasn’t really able to contribute much offensively--most of the attacks were built up through the right side of the pitch. Didn’t have any glaring areas but it was a rather unremarkable match from PC. He just doesn’t have the skillset required to make his mark on the match offensively, at least not without Reyna or Hwang on the pitch. Came off in favor of Derek Cornelius at the halftime mark.
Lucas Venuto: 4.5
Was more or less useless in the first half but showed a few signs of roaring to life in the second 45 minutes. His decision making just baffles me, however. Take a break in the 85th minute, where Venuto opted to run at multiple SKC defenders rather than lay it off for an open Ali Adnan. He can no longer claim being a newcomer as an excuse and I don’t quite see why he keeps being one of the first names on MDS’ team sheets.
Fredy Montero: 6
Yet another match where I thought Montero did pretty much everything you’d want from your striker--aside from the whole finishing part. Found himself playing pretty deep but I thought he was a conduit for the most fluid passing in the first half and for some reason he got away from that role as the match went on. Can’t seem to win a header to save his life, which is unfortunate given how many the Caps tried to swing in.
Derek Cornelius: 9
Thought he acquitted himself quite well defensively, even as he got more than he bargained for with Henry coming off with a knock. And then of course there was the equalizing goal, which was a superlative volley in stoppage time. Can’t believe the last we saw of Cornelius was against the Dynamo, where he was bossed by Alberth Ellis--this was a much more confident player and he earned another look Wednesday, assuming Henry is out.
Hwang In-Beom: 7
I don’t think its an accident that the team looked their liveliest once Hwang settled into the match (even after going down to 10 men). This was the best passing display we’ve seen out of him in many, many matches and he used the added space that came from both sides going down a man to his advantage. I’d like to see him take more set pieces, as well.
Joaquin Ardaiz: 5.5
I feel like I can copy and paste the comments on Ardaiz every match. He does decently well to hold up play and create chances for himself but his finishing lets him down every single time. You wonder if he’ll start to feel more comfortable when he gets his first goal. Either way, his one good look at goal was a header he sent well wide and that’s simply not good enough.