Because they’re holding the rest of the table up! Am I right?
The Vancouver Whitecaps won a not entirely convincing contest with the hapless Colorado Rapids by a score of 3-2. The Whitecaps have now taken points in four of their last five and their next games are against the Portland Timbers and Atlanta United, The 2018 MLS finalists who are nevertheless 11th and 10th in their respective conferences. Could things be starting to turn around? Perhaps. But in the meantime let’s look at how the individual players performed.
Maxime Crepeau: 6.5
Perhaps this is asking a lot but he’s not that great at stopping penalties is he? I mean you’d think he’d have stopped one by now just on the sheer volume of PKs he’s faced. But aside from that he made two saves, including a pretty important one after Ali Adnan got skinned, while the DP at the other end only saved one and let in a bit of a clanger to lose his team the game. So HAH! He also managed a 76.5% passing average which is basically godlike by the standard of Whitecaps goalkeepers over the past two years or so. I’ve noticed his passing accuracy has slowly been trending upwards over the past few games, perhaps as he becomes more comfortable playing out of the back. Not giving the ball away 55% of the time when your keeper has the ball (which is what happened in 2018) could be an underrated asset for the Whitecaps going forward.
Jake Nerwinski: 6.5
Nerwinski got beaten a couple of times but had two blocks, three tackles and an uncharacteristically high 92% passing accuracy. A pretty solid performance all told.
Erik Godoy: 6.0
I felt he struggled a bit against Kamara at times. He didn’t really get exposed for it but it wasn’t his strongest match.
Doneil Henry: 7.0
Lead the team with four interceptions and generally looked like a rock. He also managed to irritate Diego Rubio into slapping him in the face, earning the Chilean striker a red card and setting the stage for the Whitecaps win. What else is there to say other than:
Ali Adnan: 6.0
Not a great game from Adnan. He had two tackles but got beaten a couple of times and only completed 66% of his passes.
Jon Erice: 7.5
three key passes, 88% passing accuracy and second on the team in tackles. Marc Dos Santos has said his dream for a #6 is someone who can both defend and make plays. Against Colorado Erice was just that.
Russel Teibert: 5.5
Characteristically Teibert had a very high passing accuracy. But that was about it. He didn’t translate any of that passing into creating chances and was invisible defensively with only one interception.
In-Beom Hwang: 6.0
Hwang had a very similar game to Teibert, which is not a great thing for your DP at the best of times. He did, however, manage to get a key pass so he guts bumped up to 6.0
Lucas Venuto: 7.0
He didn’t actually do much other than score the goal but he got subbed at the half due to an injury so he didn’t get a full chance to show what he could do and goals are important so we’ll be generous with this grade.
Lass Bangoura: 7.5
An assist and a goal in spirit. This was the first game where Bangoura looked like the player we thought we were getting for a full match. I would have liked to see him beat a few more players but his through ball to Montero was excellent and he kept the Colorado backline honest. He won’t be credited for an assist but it’s also worth noting his deflected cross led to Rose’s game winner.
Fredy Montero: I have no idea
Montero scored a goal, and did brilliantly to set up another. He also gave away two really stupid penalties. So which do we value more? This was the first match he actually looked like his old self going forward. It’s possible being on the bench in two of the last three games allowed him to recover a bit after playing a whole season in Portugal. If he’s really back that’s a huge plus for the Whitecaps going forward. He really did make it harder than he needed to be with giving away those penalties though. Maybe they should start leaving him forward when defending corners.
Brett Levis: 6.0
In the words of German Rapper Shindy:
26 year old Brett Levis was subbed on at halftime for Venuto and was introduced by Luke Wileman as a “youngster from Saskatchewan.” I know Brett Levis looks young but 26 is not young in footballing years! He’s only a year younger than Aly Ghazal for god’s sake! Players are unlikely to make significant improvements after 23 (with some exceptions) so it would really help the collective IQ of soccer fans in Canada if we (and the soccer commentators we most commonly hear) stoped talking about people like Erik Hurtado (28), Spencer Richey (27) and Ryan Telfer (25) as young. Anyway, Levis was pretty quiet but did manage a key pass. Not to terrible for a player who’s been away for so long.
Andy Rose: Beautiful man
He scored the goal that gave the Whitecaps the win and which felt karmically deserved. He didn’t really play long enough to impact the match beyond that.
He came on as a garbage time substitute so it’s not really fair to give him a grade. His statline was quite though as all he had was one completed pass (but a 100% pass completion ratio!)