Apologies for the delay in getting this out. Took a little bit of time to wrap my head around a match where the Vancouver Whitecaps were extremely balanced in possession, on the road no less, but continued to fail in breaking down an opponent’s final third, with last night’s defense du jour being FC Dallas.
And roughly around the time I felt the onset of bizarre summer cold, I began suffering through what I assumed was some mild delirium, where the Whitecaps were starting to show a fluidity that’s been seldom seen this season, breaking into an opponent’s eighteen and threatening to score.
Two shots of adrenaline later, and we’ve got ourselves an arguably out-of-nowhere, 2-2 draw away.
So what can we make of it all? The literal adrenaline I’m in need of as I get better hasn’t quite hit yet, as opposed to the figurative one from last night, so I’ll give the player analysis a go as best I can. Please log all complaints in the comments box below.
Per usual, 5 is an average of a performance, the centerpiece from which we’ll standardly deviate in our inane attempts to apply effectual commentary.
Zac MacMath - 6.5
Made six saves on nine shots on net overall, and looked fairly solid in doing so. However, seeing such big rebounds at times had me a little concerned, as did the nonchalant punch in the 23rd minute. Troubling if you’re a worrier, but MacMath had things relatively under control.
As for the goals, can he really be faulted? The first came off a three-on-zero breakaway that appeared to be offside...
...but no VAR was necessary, apparently. So inconclusive it could be waived off immediately.
The second goal looked Downy soft, but knowing it deflected off Brendan McDonough has it make a little more sense. Still counts, though.
Scott Sutter - 4
Had these weird moments where he’d battle hard and really dig in, only to fall asleep somewhat when the winger would get underneath, particularly on Michael Barrios’ run-and-cutback to Jesus Ferreira in the 34th minute, when the striker’s shot glanced off the bar.
Was somewhat sold out on the second goal, however. He got split between going to the ball carrier, Ryan Hollingshead, or to Barrios’ overlapping run on the outside, while waiting for support from McDonough and Felipe. Hollingshead took his shot with the space afforded to him, and Sutter was left with the ignominy of a goal having come from his side of the pitch.
Overall, OK, not great, definitely needed to move the ball quicker, but he weathered a majority of the attack for most of the night, until being subbed for Jake Nerwinski (5) in the 75th minute.
For his part, Nerwinski had far less to do than Sutter. He made his passes and wasn’t threatened defensively.
Brendan McDonough - 4.5
Performed admirably for his first-ever MLS start. The passing was sound, got wide when he needed to while quickly narrowing back up to shore up the Whitecaps’ final three.
He did have the occasional nervy backpass to MacMath rather than going out to the sideline. May just be a result of trying to do the comfortable thing rather than the safe thing. Comes with experience, I suppose.
And he led all players with 4 blocks on the night, though the possibility of a fifth proved to be problematic.
You may as well have painted a target on McDonough as he was somehow responsible for both inadvertently turning Ferreira’s in-close shot into the crossbar and redirecting Hollingshead’s shot past a falling MacMath. Let’s just call those a wash for the ‘19 draft pick.
McDonough made way for Lucas Venuto (8) in the 66th minute, and the insertion of the Brazilian seemed to start the tide-turning for the Whitecaps.
His very first touch was a poor one that resulted in a Dallas counter attack, but boy did he make up for it afterwards, having his
hand foot in both Vancouver goals.
For the first, he laid a simple ball off to Yordy Reyna, who cut in and buried, after taking a threaded pass from Jon Erice.
And the goal to tie it in injury time? He must have hit the exact center of the ball as he rifled it, with the ball barely rotating and proceeding to knuckle over the shoulder of Jesse Gonzalez, following the undressing of Brandon Servania to turn and set up the shot.
The kid was decent in his limited time on the pitch.
Andy Rose - 6.5
For a non-center back, he made for a pretty good emergency center back. Being surrounded by four defensemen and a low-lying DM in Jon Erice certainly helps, but Rose never looked out of place or in discomfort, totaling 2 blocked shots and eight clearances, as well as an assist on Venuto’s goal, following a poor clearance from Dallas.
Erik Godoy - 5.5
Not that Godoy was exactly bad on the night, as he was his normal calm self, but Dallas’ focus of attack on Vancouver’s right flank left him with little to do.
He got stuck in on tackles (one of which was a solid one against Paxton Pomykal, but I’m sure it was ho-hum by his standards), and made a couple of key interceptions. If there’s any griping to be done, it’s over his poor long balls up the pitch.
Ali Adnan - 6
The guy plays with so much confidence, but I’m often worrying that he’s trying to do too much. He’ll get stuck in on his tackles and never seems troubled with the ball at his feet, but the double-edged sword of having a strong wingback is making sure there’s no holes defensively, too.
Nevertheless, he was strong defensively, with six aerials won and three clearances, though was caught well up-field on the first goal (though everyone was flatfooted when the flag didn’t go up. Play the whistle, boys?).
But running your mouth to draw a yellow in stoppage time? C’mon man, that’s just silly.
Felipe - 3.5
His passing was OK, he gave up a little too much space defensively, and he never really had a rhythm when playing in front of Sutter. Just a little too ineffectual as Dallas kept attacking that side of the pitch.
Felipe was part of a double substitution in the 75th, with the Brazilian being replaced by Brett Levis (6.5) who, along with Nerwinski, revitalized his wing of the field and suitably covered Adnan during his sojourns up the pitch. Levis’ appearance definitely made more a greater fluidity along the left side.
Jon Erice - 7
First, that pass to Venuto in the build-up to the first goal was everything. Do yourself a favor and go rewatch it. He daggers it past a sliding duo of Servania and Edwin Cerrillo to Venuto, who’s able to gain the area and find Reyna on 1v1 with Reto Ziegler.
Hwang In-beom - 4.5
Kept his passes simple, which is fine, but similar to Felipe, Hwang looked too tentative defensively. Often he’d wait too long before closing down on an attacker. I’d be worried if he ever had to cover for Erice defensively, as he’d concede too much space.
Also gets an award for Most Awkward Tackle of the Night, when he caught Hollingshead from behind in the 10th minute, only for the FC Dallas attacker to clip Sutter on the way down, subsequently hurting the Whitecaps defender.
Back-tracking fouls are a pain, but inadvertently hurting a teammate is hilariously worse.
Fredy Monetro - 3
Aside from firing an early shot through a screen and into Gonzalez, and whiffing on a turning volley attempt in the 21st minute, Montero felt largely absent. His touch was great when the ball was getting to him, but it felt like he was sitting far too high in comparison to Reyna, when the two could have maybe rotated more between the defenders.
Yordy Reyna - 7
If Montero had played like Reyna across the entire night, we may have picked up a win.
Reyna did a great job of cycling back through the center of the attacking zone, looking for square passes to distribute when he could get the ball to his feet. That he was able to draw four fouls (most of anyone on the night) should suggest how lively he was.
And his bury of the first goal was exactly what was needed once the Whitecaps were able to infiltrate the opposing penalty area, which happens far too infrequently. Nevertheless, once he had Ziegler isolated, Reyna needed just a bit of a juke before lifting his shot over a falling Gonzalez.