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Match Report: Vancouver Whitecaps U23s vs Daejeon Citizen

MLS: FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Somebody has uploaded the entirety of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Development Squad’s 3-1 loss to Daejon Citizen to YouTube. This means that i’ve finally been able to watch a full development squad match. So I thought it would be worthwhile to let you know how all of the players performed. But first some things to keep in mind:

This is a mid term, not a report card. This game was a big test because it’s probably the highest level. It’s a good measuring stick of how ready these players are for the pro level. But this is just one game. If someone played badly today it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bust.

The only player who played who isn’t in his teens 21 year old Patrick Metcalfe. Would you be shocked to learn that the team almost entirely composed of teenagers struggled a bit with the physical element of the game? For the most part this is fine. It takes some time to adapt to playing against men no matter how good you are and the players all have time to improve that part of their game. Games like this are a good way to get acclimated to playing against stronger players.

From what I can glean, Daejeon played mostly a second choice team but not academy players (they certainly looked a lot bigger than the ‘Caps prospects). Some regular starters did feature as well. Anyway, on to the grades.

Chituru Odunze: 5/10

There has been a bit of hype around Odunze. 6’7 16 year olds are rare and his pedigree as a US youth international only raises his profile. But while Odunze has a big body, he still has the brain of a 16 year old. This is perfectly fine since, ya know, he’s 16, but it does mean he has all the problems you’d expect a 16 year old goalkeeper to have. When the ball is passed to him it looks like he’s just been given a grenade, his decision making is a bit slow and he still looks a bit awkward in his big body. But he didn’t look totally out of place. He made a couple of decent saves and when he got his decision making and footwork right on crosses it was a joy to behold. He isn’t so much a salmon leaping out of the water as he is someone reaching for something on a high shelf in a grocery store. Odunze is a long way away from first team football but there is potential to be cultivated.

Deylen Vellios: 3/10

Vellios really struggled. He got beaten down the right hand side multiple times and struggled to play out of the back.

Gianfranco Facchineri: 9/10

Considering I had never heard of him before today I was really impressed. He’s on the smaller side for a centre back and is only 17 but he played very well. He was comfortable on the ball and was never physically bullied. He reminded me a lot of Johnny Leveron. I’ve done some research and apparently he isn’t even that regular of a u17 starter, only starting 43% of their games according to the USSDA website. This game was quite the way to introduce himself.

Brandon McDonough: 6/10

Was quite solid defensively but was a bit of a mixed bag playing out of the back. He had one really nice dribble to get around a pressing striker but also gave the ball away a few times.

Gabriel Escobar: 7/10

Escobar really struggled in preseason for the Whitecaps but i’m pleased to report that he played very well. Daejeon controlled most of the play so we didn’t see much of what he could do going forward but his defensive play was very good.

Damiano Pecile: 5/10

Pecile ran hot and cold. He made some good interceptions and had some good passes but also had some really bad giveaways. His inconsistency was part of the reason the ‘caps struggled to play out of the back.

Patrick Metcalfe: 6/10

Had a lot of work to in front of the back four and had some good blocks and tackles. He also scored an absolute laser beam of a goal so he gets points for that. I would have liked to see him stamp his authority on the game a bit more since he was the oldest player on the team but it’s difficult to do that when everyone you’re passing to is getting muscled off the ball so easily.

Simon Colyn: 3/10

Colyn is one of the most hyped Whitecaps prospects but man was he disappointing. Could barely complete a pass and looked a bit slow.

Brandon Cambridge: 5/10

Cambridge is quick and has some skill but he is woefully behind when it comes to strength. He got muscled off the ball a lot. He did, however, force a bad clearance with some pressing on Metcalfe’s goal and put in the work to track back throughout the game. He’s 17 so there’s still plenty of time for him to bulk up.

Kam Habibullah: 4/10

Not a great game for the wünderkind. He dribbled into trouble frequently and struggled to complete his passes. He did have one amazing pass to Colyn which unfortunately didn’t come to anything. He also technically got an assist on Metcalfe’s goal but it was probably the least earned assist i’ve ever seen.

Theo Bair: 7/10

One player who didn’t look out of place physically was Bair. He showed excellent speed, hold up play and passing. But the match also revealed a weakness in his game. He frequently dropped deep to get the ball and would then get stuck because his dribbling is limited. He ran straight into defenders two or three times. Basically he was great if he was running in behind, holding up the ball, or playing it into space but pretty bad if he had to get past someone himself.

Subs:

None of the subs had a super big impact so i’m just giving summaries, not grades.

Thomas Raimbault:

He played 45 minutes but honestly I can’t remember a single touch.

Emiliano Brienza:

Came on for the ineffective Simon Colyn and looked quite bright. He had one break where he was muscled off the ball and another where pulled a great pass from Theo Bair just wide of the post.

Vasco Fry:

Made one very good breakout pass to spark a dangerous counter but beyond that didn’t play long enough to influence the game.

Christopher Lee:

Wasn’t really on the field long enough to impact the game.