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Report Card: Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact

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Another loss as we inch closer to the season’s end. To quote Digital Underground, “All around the world, same song.”

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

I like giving myself a full day of reflection when writing these report cards, often hoping to gain a bit of perspective when reflecting on the previous day’s match. And I now realize how ridiculous that is, basically spending an entire day dwelling over a loss, particularly throughout a season of losses.

It’s definitely aggrieving, particularly when you come to the realization that no matter how well the team plays, especially against a poorly performing opponent, a loss will always be a loss.

But that’s kind of what’s needed, isn’t it? Find those flaws, overcome them, and build on the positives. Even it means doing so repeatedly.

And without question there were positives from Vancouver’s play Wednesday night, just not when it came to Goal Difference. As a result, we’re left to scrutinize over a loss. Again.

Max Crepeau - 7.5, Alert.

Crepeau looked strong on the saves he was forced into, particularly that bizarre tight-angle redirection off the foot of Jake Nerwinski and the full extension on a curling effort from Max Urruti while somehow avoiding a goal kick. He looked sharp once again, without having to make a record number of saves, thankfully.

Though if I’m reading the stat sheet correctly, Crepeau made eight saves from eight shots on target, which is weird to have happen when two goals were conceded (I know, one was an OG).

And that’s ultimately it, isn’t it? That two goals were conceded, enough to suffer through a loss despite his great effort. For as well as Max has played all season, I certainly hope he can see the forest for the trees and parlay it into 2020 or a stint with the Canadian national team.

Ali Adnan - 4, Erratic.

Defensively, Adnan was kind of alright: two tackles, two interceptions, three clearances, and six recoveries, but his passing often felt sloppy, even when it was positive. It was like he was so eager to get up the pitch, his enthusiasm drowned out his effectiveness.

Reyna’s opening goal may never have happened it it wasn’t for Hwang In-beom being able to salvage a terrible ball from Adnan to start the play.

To his credit, he showed more composure later on when Vancouver needed a second goal, like on the sharp cross to newcomer Michaell Chirinos, who’s powerful header was just a little too on target. Adnan was OK, but he’s definitely had better, sharper performances.

Derek Cornelius - 3, Indecisive.

Absolutely did not need to go to ground on the first goal, trying to slide tackle/block Ururrti’s run. He was keeping pace with the striker! Why turn yourself into a pylon? Not entirely convinced he needed to assist from the backside on the second goal, either.

Otherwise, Cornelius was meh: passing was OK when it was side to side, but anything up the pitch was at a loss (and not far past center to boot), and everything back to Crepeau forced the keeper into one awkward clearance after another.

And generally his defense was reasonable, but the effort as a whole is obviously going to suffer when you have varying levels of brain farts that result in two conceded goals.

Doneil Henry - 3.5, Hulking.

Looking at his numbers alone and he was a beast on defence: seven clearances, six recoveries, four interceptions, three blocks, and a tackle, but he looked damn awkward through it all.

And in all fairness on the OG, that was Henry trying to bail out Cornelius’ awkward defending effort. Just means Henry gets the blemish for historical purposes, instead.

Jake Nerwinski - 4, Zealous.

Potential Unpopular Opinion: Nerwinski was the most effective member of the backline on the night.

Defensively, he finished with three clearances, four tackles, and an interception defensively, and on offense he did well in getting up the pitch and his passing was decent, though his cross absolutely need to improve. For the most part looked very confident with the ball at his feet

But he absolutely forgot about Urruti at the back post of the second goal, or at least disregarded him as offside until the attempt on the ball by Cornelius & Henry put the striker back on.

It was an awkward run of events in a season full of them, with too many echoes of Wondolowski’s goal from last week, but that moment aside, I thought Nerwinski played fairly well.

Jon Erice - 6, Steadfast.

Was happy to see Erice back on the pitch, with passes played up the center that were often weighted perfectly. 91 Passes Attempted with an 89% success rate was something definitely missing from the middle for the Whitecaps.

If there’s one thing absent from Erice’s game, however, it’s tenacity. He just needs to find some grit and be a boss in the middle.

Michaell Chirinos - 7, Spirited.

Made smart runs, was strong on the ball, drew a PK, and even pulled off an audacious scissor kick in traffic. Chirinos was quite adept at reading the play and how it flowed on the pitch, as he was thoroughly involved throughout. A great first start for the Whitecaps; if only he had a better touch when he gets a clear look at goal.

Was replaced by Fredy Montero (4.5) in the 76th minute, where the only notes I had for him was, “Wise, but sloppy.”

Russell Teibert - 3, Circumspect.

Teibert was this weird bundle of energy, often falling out of the play whenever he wasn’t making his short, accurate, but ultimately negligible passes. And when it came to defense, he had no problem stepping to the play, but would often do so moments after he should have.

As a result, it felt like Teibert was never really part of the match, which is why his substitution for Theo Bair (Inc.) should have come far, far sooner. Like, halftime sooner, not the 87th minute.

Unless Bair goes a full 90 on Saturday, the match against Montreal was a wasted chance to get more minutes to a player who’s been getting better with each match.

Hwang In-beom - 6, Dexterous.

Was reading the play well, both on defense, with an effective high press, and on offense with his slick turns and well-placed switches, like when he found Tosaint Ricketts all by his lonesome before the opening goal. It’s like his ankles are made of rubber.

Yordy Reyna - 5, Hyped.

I don’t want to complicate this, so Reyna’s mark stays at a 5.

His passing was great, he was lively as heck, constantly giving the Impact fits. With his general play, the only weaknesses I saw was his game in the air. He was a threat most of the night, and got a tap-in goal to show for it.

But those PKs, man. I thought he telegraphed the first one, with full credit to Evan Bush for reading it so well. So he gets to take a second thanks to VAR spotting Ricketts’ encroachment, and what does Reyna do? Why, he goes for the same placement as the first, but hits it far, far worse. I’m pretty sure the do-over was actually closer to Bush the second time around. It’s not often you get two shots at something where you’re supposed to be clinical, to have the effort go from bad to worse.

It just sucks to harp on something that could have gone much, much better when he played a good game otherwise.

Tosaint Ricketts - 5, Steady.

Where Reyna’s score was averaged out by the strong play and the poor PKs, Ricketts kept his play by the books throughout. Was quite impressed by his positional awareness, often keeping his body between the ball and the defender, never overcomplicating the play once the ball is at his feet. That, and the juke to shake Jukka Raitala on Reyna’s goal was solid.

Ricketts eventually made way for Lass Bangoura (Inc.) in the 82nd minute, who, like Montero, didn’t add a lot when the ‘Caps were pressing for an equalizer. At one point, he did have a fantastic effort to keep a ball from going for a throw, but that’s about all I had for Bangoura.