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Report Card: Whitecaps Bull-ish Following Two Hard-Earned Road Points

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Final grades are handed out from Wednesday nights’ match in our report card!

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at New York Red Bulls Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Starting XI

Z. MacMath: At this point, it seems hard to believe that there was a genuine debate as to who should take the starting spot for the Whitecaps in goal this season. There’s no two ways about it, MacMath was poor in this match. He made only one save and completed only 45% of his passes (with a shocking 7 for 27 on long balls). While neither of the goals can be pinned on MacMath directly, he looked rooted to the spot in both instances and fails to show the same assertiveness and command of the box which we’ve seen from Crepeau this season. 3.5

S. Sutter: His composed finish on the Whitecaps’ opening goal was far more difficult than he made it look. Sutter is an interesting player in the sense that he goes through long spans of the match without being noticeable, but when you do notice him, it’s usually a positive play. Sutter had 3 clearances and 4 interceptions in the match, as well as winning both of his tackles. While he only completed 17 total passes, two of them were key passes (a team high). 8.0

While I wouldn’t consider Mike Halford an authority on all things Whitecaps and MLS, I think there might be some truth to this tweet (at least at the moment). Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments!

E. Godoy: I think there’s a good case to be made that Erik Godoy has been the most consistent performer on the Whitecaps so far this season. While his game is understated for the most part, his goal line clearance Wednesday night was certainly not. Godoy did an admirable job keeping the Whitecaps make-shift back-line organized and is surprisingly gifted with the ball at his feet, he completed 5 long balls on the night. 8.0

A. Rose: Other than the unfortunate own-goal, Rose did an admirable job filling in at CB. Steven Caldwell made a good point on the broadcast (shocking, I know) that a more traditional CB may have sensed the danger and put his foot in a better position to avoid the own goal, but regardless, I don’t think that Rose can be judged too harshly for his blunder. Rose had 5 clearances on the night and completed 10 passes. In an ideal world, Rose might have done a better job linking up play from his backline position, but again, it seems unfair to judge a player too harshly for playing out of position. 5.0

D. Cornelius: The Canadian is slowly starting to look more composed playing CB at the MLS level, yet at times the game still looks to be going a bit faster than he can process. A great example of this is when he needlessly went to ground in the 87th minute and picked up a yellow-card for his troubles. His distribution also needs work, as he completed his passes at a rate of just 65%, but overall, the Whitecaps are seeing some solid progression from the young defender. 5.5

A. Adnan: The Iraqi wing-back was less involved than some matches we’ve seen so far this season but was still very active. Like most of the squad, Adnan struggled with his passing, completing just 24 passes at a rate of 63%, but he did put in a good shift defensively, collecting 6 clearances, 3 blocks and 3 interceptions. Even in an average performance, Adnan looks like one of the best players on the pitch. 6.5

B. Levis: While Levis might lack in technical ability, his grit and work ethic can never be put in question. He made a key run which opened up space for Sutter on the opening goal and was also active defensively with 2 interceptions and 3 clearances. While it’s a shame that he had to be removed at the half, it was likely a smart move for the Whitecaps tactically, as they came out a much improved unit in the second half. 6.0

Felipe: I’m not sure exactly what to make of Felipe at this point. While he can be relied on to rack up decent passing numbers game in game out, his play lacks decisiveness at both ends of the pitch. At the offensive end, he lacks the assertiveness to make a critical play or finish off a scoring opportunity. At the defensive end, Felipe is simply way too passive, often standing still and handing-off his man to a teammate prematurely (especially in the box). At the end of the day, the Whitecaps likely have to move on from a player like Felipe in the long term if they want to take the next step in their development as a club. 4.5

J. Erice: While this was definitely not Erice’s best performance, it was good to have the reliable Spaniard back in the starting XI. While his distribution, like the rest of the team, was below average, Jon did a very tidy job defensively, winning 5 of his 6 duels and creating 4 interceptions. 6.5

PC: Overall, I think PC is a lot better than people give him credit for. While his attempted goal-line clearance on the opening Red Bulls goal certainly left a lot to be desired, he was effective on the counter attack and nearly collected an assist for his cross into Felipe. Playing as a winger, PC is also decent defensively and does a nice job tracking back on opposition runs, while he’s likely not a starting quality MLS winger, PC is a great utility player to have off the bench and his versatility often helps create more opportunities for those around him. 6.0

J. Ardaiz: While the young Uruguayan striker has yet to find the score-sheet, this was undoubtably his best match as a Whitecap. Not only was his holdup play excellent, but so was his work ethic. Ardaiz refused to give up on 50/50 balls and as a result exposed a tentative Red Bulls’ back line on several occasions - including the run and cross which earned him an assist on the Sutter goal (officially it wasn’t an assist but I beg to differ). Ardaiz has a better skill set than your average “target man” striker and it showed on Wednesday night. While the final touch still needs some work, this match was a huge step in the right direction for the 20 year old. 9.0

Substitutes

F. Montero: Coming on at the half, Montero did a nice job changing the tactical look of the Whitecaps attack. Not only did he score from the spot on a very composed finish, but he also did a nice job building up play - recording two key passes and providing good support to the midfield in possession. If Ardaiz is fit, Montero’s performance at Red Bulls makes a strong case for trying a two striker look at some point in the near future. 7.5

In-Beom: After a very strong start to the season, the Korean midfielder has been a bit quiet as of late. While he did create two terrific chances in his 28+ minutes of action, his biggest opportunity of the night was one which he never saw. Felipe was wide open near the edge of the area in the dying seconds of the match, but Hwang chose to shoot following Venuto’s saved shot rather than looking for a pass. It looks as though the young midfielder is trying a bit too hard to force things at the moment, so being able to register another goal or assist in the coming matches could do a world of good for his confidence. 7.0

L. Venuto: The Brazilian had a great chance to score in the dying seconds, and on this occasion, it was a great save by Robles (rather than a miss) which thwarted the winger of his second goal in Whitecaps colours. Other than that, Venuto was mostly inactive, he was dispossessed 3 times. 6.0

What did you think of the Whitecaps’ performance on the east coast? Are you happy with two road draws during a tough part of the schedule? Who stood out to you on Wednesday night (both good & bad)? As always, let me know in the comments section!

The Whitecaps next match is at home on Saturday afternoon (4PM) as they face FC Dallas for the first time this season.