To say the least, that was disappointing, as a near full strength Vancouver Whitecaps side went to Spruce Meadows and couldn’t come out of the first leg with at least a lead. I suppose one of the only positives is that the ‘Caps didn’t concede a goal to the Canadian Premier League leaders who in fairness, were the more threatening side throughout.
To help understand where the ‘Caps fell short against Cavalry FC, let’s look at how each individual player fared in the stalemate.
For reference, a 6.0 is my median grade where a player performing at a consistent, relatively mistake free level will garner this rating.
Maxime Crepeau – 7.5 – Not called on regularly, but there when it mattered most – Crepeau was his steady self in goal for the ‘Caps and without him they would almost certainly be trailing in this tie as he palmed away a curling effort from Jose Escalante late in the game.
Scott Sutter – 4.0 – Could have given away a penalty and was probably lucky not to. Had VAR been in effect it’s hard to think it wouldn’t have been a spot kick for his challenge on Pasquotti. On top of that, so many of his passes into the final third (though he wasn’t the only one guilty of this) went long and out of touch.
Erik Godoy – 6.0 – He’s steady, he’s always composed and while at times it looks like he’s being too aggressive his style of play was a key to the clean sheet. He picked up a yellow card for a challenge that I thought he clearly won the ball in, but I’d still say overall he was solid.
Doneil Henry – 6.0 – Much like Godoy, Henry has been one of the keys to the consistency in defence all year and bailed his side out when needed.
Derek Cornelius – 6.5 – Cornelius seemed to be challenged continually from long throws down the defensive left flank, but cleaned up numerous times throughout the match. I thought he had a solid game overall.
Ali Adnan – 6.0 – While I’m sure his first match as a designated player didn’t go how he wanted, Adnan’s work rate was one of the few bright spots for the Whitecaps on Wednesday. Had Yordy Reyna played him in sooner on one of his second half overlapping runs I think he could have been in on goal. Still, it’s good to know he’ll be holding down the left side of defense for the foreseeable future.
Andy Rose – 3.5 – I’ve been high on his play for this team as quietly reliable, but he was disappointing in midfield on Wednesday. Didn’t complete many of his passes, and should have gotten over the ball to bury the winner at the end. Maybe I sound like Steven Caldwell a bit, but Rose was unmarked as he leapt for that ball, it had to be on target.
Felipe Martins – 3.0 – For a man that played 90 minutes I barely saw him. He went sideways more than he advanced the ball, and it seems like the only way for Reyna, Montero, Ardaiz or Venuto to advance the ball up field from his possession is to drop deep and pick it up themselves. It’s a bleak spot in the midfield and he needs to do better if he’s going to be an important piece of this Whitecaps team.
Russell Teibert – 4.0 – High energy as per usual, but I can’t say he had many bright moments in this one. The entire midfield fell flat against the Cavs and Rusty was no exception. Balls that should have been routine kept being overplayed into touch, and he didn’t link play well for Adnan down his left, nor could he pick out any of the movement of Montero or Reyna in front of him.
Fredy Montero – 4.5 – Much like other members of this squad, Montero was barely involved in this match from my memory of it. Sure, he was dropping far deeper than he should be to try to make something happen in attack, but the shots he did take were early and well wide of the target. He’s lacking a step of pace, or a better first touch, or a kick in the behind – but he’s not finding the net from open play and it’s damning.
Yordy Reyna – 6.5 – If there was a goal to be found it was coming from Yordy, he had the best chances for Vancouver throughout the match and his movement is a problem for defenders in every match up. He needs support from his teammates because he can’t carry this team on his own.
Victor Giro ‘PC’ – 3.5 – Speaking of players that were barely involved, the most I saw PC in the match was trying to put Cavalry FC keeper Marco Carducci under pressure. He ran as fast as he could, but why? Didn’t change the dynamic and actually the ‘Caps started to get overrun in the middle after he replaced Teibert in the midfield.
Lucas Venuto – 4.0 – Once Reyna came out the already toothless Whitecaps attack didn’t progress any better with the Brazilian on the field.
Joaquin Ardaiz – 5.0 – It’s good to see the Uruguayan back, and in attack he does seem to offer more than Montero in his limited minutes this season. Hopefully he’s getting his head in the place it needs to be to play under MDS because with no re-enforcements in sight, the Whitecaps could stand to give him a run of games to see if he can find some form to spearhead this attack.
Apologies in advance for the delay in getting this out, and also for the lack of stats to support some of these claims – but my usual resources didn’t have much else to offer to back up what I saw with my own eyes.
All I can really add is that the Whitecaps managed 9 shots, of which only 2 found the target throughout the 90 minutes. While they won the possession battle, they should have outclassed this opponent across the pitch and instead they were hemmed in and matched almost everywhere on the park.
What was your take? How does this club get back on track with Sporting KC coming to town on Saturday?