The Vancouver Whitecaps traveled to the surprisingly good Minnesota United on Saturday night, and ended their five-game losing streak in Major League Soccer. However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows as the Caps were only able to come away with a 0-0 draw. That means that while they stop their losing streak, they are winless since May 25th(2-1 victory over Dallas), and one win, seven draws, and seven losses, across all competitions, since May 15th. Yikes! While the draw is definitely a positive, it is not necessarily that the team looked too much better. Then again, small victories at this point in time, right?
It may not be much, but after the horror that the last couple months have been, that feels like a victory of sorts! #VWFC— Eighty Six Forever (@86forever) July 28, 2019
Let’s have a look at the individual performances from the 0-0 draw in Minnesota. Remember that for this exercise, a 5/6 is considered average.
Maxime Crepeau (5.5): He didn’t have any major gaffes, but he also didn’t have anything too spectacular. That is partly because he wasn’t tested too much. Recently, Crepeau has been called upon to bail Vancouver out multiple times a game. Mind you, they still end up losing by 3 or 4 goals, but I digress. In this match, he looked solid and did what was asked of him. For his efforts, he received a clean sheet!
Jake Nerwinski (6.0): As I have noted numerous times of late, I had been quite critical of Jake to begin the season. While he has not been a standout of late -no one has- he has done a great job of locking down the right-hand side and getting forward from time to time. We are still looking for his offensive contributions, but with the lack of offensive from the Caps and the little bit of offense that does exist traveling through Adnan, it is not surprising that Nerwinski is still not providing much offensively.
Doneil Henry (Incomplete): Erik Godoy was supposed to get his first night off this season, but that was cut short ten minutes into the match when Henry had to leave with a quadricep injury.
Erik Godoy (5.5): After an uncharacteristic poor match against Cavalry FC (and he wasn’t great against San Jose either), Godoy seemed to be back to his usual self. Like the rest of the team, there was nothing to spectacular/special about his performance, but he got the job done on a night when he was supposed to be resting.
Derek Cornelius (6.0): Like Jake, Derek had a difficult start to his season, but has come on of late. In reality, Cornelius should be fourth on the depth chart at center back, but with the congested schedule and Jasser Khmiri still not available, he has been shoved into more action than was probably anticipated by Marc Dos Santos.
Ali Adnan (6.0): After the expensive transfer, a lot of attention has been placed on Adnan; both from opposing teams and from fans. When the team is performing poorly, blame quickly falls on the most expensive players, and that has certainly been happening to Adnan. While I believe it is somewhat warranted, it seems people are bringing up arguments that were well-known before his transfer was completed. We know he has been poor defensively. We know that his best position is as a wingback. I thought that MDS would be transitioning to that, but it appears that his preference is 4-3-3, so we will see. If he elects to go with that this season and next, expect the complaints to continue, as Adan is not a good defender. Having said that, he is not terrible either. My personal issue with his defending is that he seems lazy sometimes. He gets beat and doesn’t hustle back to get into the play. However, when he is behind the ball, he is quite good and get’s his body on plenty of balls!
“he can’t defend.” “he’s not MLS quality.” “He’s lazy.” https://t.co/9VbWEjQNLX— Thomas Brown (@downtowntbrown_) July 28, 2019
Russell Teibert (5.0): I am tired of the constant narrative that Teibert only passes backwards (or to the side). We, and others, have long-ago debunked that, so I am not going to waste more time doing that. While Teibert has had a poor season thus far, he returned to his staple of having tons of energy and having great passing accuracy. The problem is, he doesn’t really bring much more than that. I have been a supporter of Teibert, but at this point I believe we need to just accept what we have with him, which is not much. He is a solid player, but just doesn’t seem to have much else.
Hwang In-Beom (6.5): He looked a lot better. He still wasn’t where the Caps need him to be, but he was better. In the 8thminute, he put a lovely ball right on the foot of Nerwinski, to switch up the play, while in the 34thminute, he threaded a ball through nicely to Montero. There have been some that have questioned In-Beom signing. I have always said he gets a free pass this season and I won’t start judging him until next season. However, when I see stuff like I saw tonight, with his passing, I am excited to see what he can do with support around him and a bit of a rest and adjustment to North America. One thing I did want to note is that Hwang is very emotional in matches. He is constantly in the face of opponents and the ref. I see this as a bit of a problem. I feel like he gets a bit too emotional sometimes and that he needs to focus on doing his job and staying constant in his emotions on the field. Maybe I am wrong. What are your thoughts on the emotion Hwang shows on the field? Just the right amount or a bit too much that may take him out of the game a bit?
Felipe (5.0): While Hwang was hitting pin-point long-balls, Felipe was JUST off far too many times. After In-Boem’s lovely pass to Nerwinski in the 8thminute, Felipe put a ball just too far ahead of Reyna in the 9th, which went directly to the keeper. I believed that Felipe could be a good pickup for the Caps, for Parker, and had some optimism with MDS coming in, that he could return Felipe’s form, but it seems like that is not happening. Felipe has been fairly forgettable this season, and was out of it most of last season. I don’t know if his off-field issues that he had last season have continued or if he is just not able to function in MDS’ system. Either way, I feel like unless Felipe makes a MAJOR turn-around in the final ten matches of the season, we don’t see him back next…and right now, I am okay with that.
Theo Bair (4.0): In the 48thminute, Bair whiffed on a Nerwinski long throw-in, which seemed to sum up his night in my eyes. Maybe people are seeing something different, but I have not seen too much from Bair. Yes, part of that is because of the lack of service from the midfield (more on that later), but he hasn’t been showing himself to be doing much else. Am I being too critical on the youngster?
Yordy Reyna (6.0): He was named Man of the Match, and had the odd chance or two, but I didn’t feel he had that good of a game. Maybe he won the ‘award’ because there were not many other options, as the club had a pretty pedestrian game. He had his moments, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t that great. I don’t know, do you see it differently than me?
Fredy Montero (5.5): Like most this evening, Montero was pretty invisible. In fact, he was more invisible than Bair at times, which is saying something. Having said that, I can’t completely blame him. The Whitecaps have been getting NOTHING from their midfield, which has led to Montero needing to come back further and further to assist and move the offensive forward. Say what you want about Montero, but when you are routinely having to come get the ball in your own half, it is going to be difficult to dribble through the entire team (unless you are Davies) and score a bunch of goals.
There you have it. Those are my grades, what did you think of the match? Agree or disagree with my ratings? What marks do you give out?