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Report Card: Whitecaps vs Sporting KC

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“I’d like to get down now...”

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

I was looking for a quote to put in the byline for this Report Card, something referencing a sinking ship, and came across this beauty:

“Even a life raft is only supposed to get you from the sinking ship back to land, you were never intended to live in the life raft, to drift years on end, in sight of land but never close enough.”

This quote feels way too apt for what’s going on with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2019, particularly after last night’s 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. But knowing that it came from a memoir titled Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, the quote feels even more appropriate.

But I kept it light with a quote from The Simpsons, because after last night, we all need some brevity. There’s far too much to complain about right now.

Zac MacMath - 3.5

Unquestionably made some big stops, like this one in the 52nd minute:

...and again in the 87th when he smothered the Daniel Salloi break out. The OG was ugly and unfortunate to watch trickle over the line and he couldn’t do much with such poor defending on the third goal.

One of my notes at half was how terrible MacMath’s kicks were looking and the club suffered for it in the build up to Felipe Gutierrez’s goal. What made it worse was MacMath having been caught on the wrong foot of a partially blocked, straight-ahead shot that trundles in from over twenty yards away. Absolutely bewildered by an inadvertent Kansas City Shuffle.

Andy Rose - 4

Decent clearances, but his short balls along the sideline were brutal, often putting players into far too much trouble. Bit way too hard on the opening OG and fell asleep in his coverage on the third.

And it may need repeating one more time: he is not a center back. That’s not an excuse for his play, as he should be able to defend, but why is he being used so deep on the pitch? Even if Cornelius isn’t available, this 3-5-2 isn’t working.

Doneil Henry - 4.5

Decent defensively, but any balls played up the pitch were a complete loss. I suppose he’s being rated higher than the other defenders because he wasn’t made to look foolish on any of the goals.

Erik Godoy - 3.5

Finished with five tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances, which is all well and good, because looked like his worst game as a Whitecap. Was sometimes his usual calm self, but was going on far too many ineffectual adventures up the pitch. Looked lost and wandering on that third goal, too. It wasn’t entirely his fault, mind you, but I’d love to see out a match, even a loss, without a weird bit of indifference.

Ali Adnan - 7

Easily the best player on the pitch, even with an own goal (and arguably a second). It’s not just the play, either: four key passes and four successful dribbles to drive the play are fantastic, but it felt like he was one of but a few players who actually gave a damn on the night.

Jake Nerwinski - 4.5

Fairly quiet night, but that might be more due to the majority of the play happening on Adnan’s side of the pitch. Passing was alright, but couldn’t get up the pitch to contribute offensively as much as he would have liked.

Was substituted for Joaquin Ardaiz (Inc.) in the 90th minute, a sub that came far, far too late. What maybe made the late sub worse was how Nerwinski’s presence may have negated the third goal that was to come moments later.

PC Giro - 3.5

Had one of the higher PA% on the night, but is that really a plus when you’ve only made 11 passes? I liked his strong give-and-go’s early, but PC disappeared after that, unless it was to foul a Downy soft Guiterrez. If the kid goes down under a gentle breeze, you better hold your breath.

Oh, and don’t make the ball kids fetch that shot into the stratosphere. Players should have to shag their own massive misses.

Was replaced by Russell Teibert (4) in the 60th minute as part of a double substitution, who generally had some good ideas with the ball suffer from bad passes, as well as a weak, off-foot shot that maybe could worked with one more pass. That’s an odd thing to see: Teibert not making one too many passes.

Jon Erice - 4.5

Threaded a number of great passes from the center. I may be alone in thinking this, but it’s definitely something when you’re credited with a 100% accuracy rating on your long balls.

However, to get nitpicky, his languished back-tracking on the second goal was painful, even if the punt from MacMath was a poor one. Get back on defense!

Was part of the aforementioned double sub in the 60th minute, making way for Lucas Venuto (5), who I thought had a spirited run and was generally strong on the ball. More than anything, it was great to finally see someone on the Whitecaps try to keep plays wide and go to the corner, rather than have the offense funnel through the center

Hwang In-beom - 5

Like Erice, made a number of great crosses and through balls, while limiting passes that didn’t work to the opposite end of the field. Had a great FK rip at the start of the second half, one of the few times Tim Melia was put to work on the night.

Maybe could have been more effective if he had a winger to work with rather than a wingback because, man, are the Whitecaps too damn narrow all day, every day.

Yordy Reyna - 7

Along with Adnan, the only other player never suffering from lack of intensity or drive on the night. Four shots, one off the woodwork, three key passes, three fouls drawn. Even if his passes into the penalty area weren’t exactly working, Reyna was the only consistent threat poised to the SKC goal Saturday night. It’s always painful to see such efforts suffer from listlessness nearly everywhere else.

Theo Bair - 4

Decent first start for Bair, though I’m sure he knows he could have done better on some of his efforts on net. Great runs, decent touches, just need the finishing. If that doesn’t have “Vancouver Whitecaps” all over it, I don’t know what does, but at the very least Bair still has growth on his side. He’ll learn from this one.