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Report Card: Seattle Sounders at Vancouver Whitecaps

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Cracks in the Fortress Begin to Show

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Whitecaps hosted their fierce rivals the Seattle Sounders for their third last game of this crazy 2020 season. With Vancouver dangling around the bottom playoff positions it was vital that they were to make the most of these last three games and maximize the points. Starting their last round of games with the best team in the west visiting is probably not the ideal matchup for the Whitecaps, and as such they lined themselves up in a formation that seemed to be a bracing for a storm. As such, it was hard to be disappointed with the result, even if it didn’t end with the Whitecaps winning. From the outset it was clear that this game was being used to rest the key players for the two remaining matches that could be key to having the Whitecaps reach their first playoff spot since 2017.

Evan Bush: 4.0

Evan Bush played very well regarding the circumstances, but how much credit can be given to him specifically with five men in the back line to protect him. The goals against him were not something he was completely at fault for, but he did concede them, so a rating lower than average would be fair for the emergency goalkeeper.

Cristián Gutiérrez: 5.0

Gutierrez is a player I’ve had an eye on since his days in Chile, seeing how he could possibly develop into a national level talent for Canada, (If he decides to choose them, of course.) and his performances in a Whitecaps shirt have mostly shown that! Today’s performance wasn’t wow worthy by any stretch of the imagination, but none of the players in the starting lineup played particularly well, so he was pretty much on average with the team. He looks to be a dependable left back who can get the occasional cross in and is comfortable in his position, something that will be beneficial to the Whitecaps when they decide to move on Ali Adnan.

Ranko Veselinović: 4.0

Ranko didn’t play terrible today, but it was far from his best. The young Serbian looks to be an asset in the back line for the future of the team, although as has been pointed out before, his flaws that need to be ironed out are apparent. He will only be able to do that through game time and that is what he got. Although he formed a solid back line that kept a clean sheet in the first half, he also did not mark Raul Ruidiaz properly on two major occasions, which both happened to lead to the goals that Seattle scored. The first one was unfortunate due to the seemingly offside nature of it, but the second should not have happened.

Derek Cornelius: 6.0

Tackling fiercely at many occasions today, Cornelius looked the most lively out of the three centrebacks on the pitch today. He seems to be the type of player to run through walls for this team in good or in bad times, and while his defending can be spotty sometimes, it seems that Cornelius could be growing into a leader in the backline in the future. He was arguably the best performing player in the starting XI, and if his knock at the end of the game doesn’t lead to anything too serious he should be looked at as a shoe in for the remaining matches.

Andy Rose: 4.5

Andy Rose played like the utility player he is. He performed his role decently until subbed out for another player who can catalyze the game going forward. He may be statistically one of the ‘Caps’ better options at the back, but with how young their back line seems to be heading, it would be better for Rose to be a substitute mentor role to the young players. His game was unremarkable, and was subbed off as soon after the first goal. The loss certainly wasn’t on him, but Rose’s style of play is not what the Whitecaps need at the moment if they are to make the playoffs.

Janio Bikel: 5.0

Honestly, I think Bikel’s best performances have come from right back. That or he just hasn’t been as dreadful as earlier instances with him in the middle of the field. I think experimenting with him in the right back position should be something Marc Dos Santos tries more often, as his skill set is vastly different to Nerwinski and allows more flexibility in upcoming transfers so as to not spend money on the position. Solid game from Bikel overall.

Russell Teibert: 5.0

A Russel Teibert performance for the ages. Good hustle, nothing remarkable to his play. Did his job and got subbed off. Not much more to say.

Michael Baldisimo: 5.5

Baldi is looking more and more to be the second surprise package of the season, and it is a wonder why he never got the opportunities to prove himself in earlier seasons. He makes a strong case to be included in the ‘Caps’ best XI, and his passes are some of the most accurate on the team. His individual play was very good, although with the lack of production, there wasn’t much more to praise him on besides that. With better players surrounding him, expect Baldi to make some game changing plays in the future.

Ryan Raposo: 4.0

Ryan Raposo contributed to an attack that produced zero shots at the half. For an attacking player like himself, that’s not ideal. He doesn’t seem to be too comfortable whenever he’s out for long periods of time and seems to find himself isolated a lot of times. I personally think that experimenting with him at the CAM slot could yield interesting results given the abilities he has demonstrated on the field this season. It’s out of position for him, but him being young could give him the edge in development potential. At the end of the day though, it’s hard not to see the 2020 draft pick as a disappointment, considering his hot start in preseason with the team. Maybe next season will be the one where he shows his stuff, whether that be with the ‘Caps’ or on loan with a CPL team.

Theo Bair: 3.5

Oh Theo. My personal biggest disappointment of the season, I expected so much more from the young Canadian this season after a promising 2019. It seems that he still is unable to find the finesse that defines top strikers and he has pretty much squandered most opportunities he has been given. The system was playing with him as the lone striker, probably hoping that he would rediscover some of that Providence Park magic from the tail end match last season but that was not to be. With the resurgence of Fredy Montero, it seems that Theo is slowly becoming surplus to requirements at Vancouver.

Tossaint Ricketts: 4.0

A solid match from last game’s goalscorer, Ricketts could not do the same today, but he did make a lot of attacking runs and had positive movements. He was the most dangerous out of all of the front line but again, not much can be said when you don’t register a shot in the first half.

Fredy Montero: 6.0

The man who looks to receive the Whitecaps player of the season award if he is to continue his top form for the remaining games, Fredy picked up the performance of the team when he came on the field and had a couple cracks at net himself. He provides such an attacking and morale boost for the rest of his teammates, his presence turned the Whitecaps into a team seizing the few opportunities they were given. Definitely the best performer out of the subs, but it’s a little odd that he wasn’t rested completely for the match against Portland.

Lucas Cavallini: 5.0

Solid in attack, he wasn’t quite as dynamic as Montero, but Cavallini did play decently well, aside from his famous tendency for the occasional rash tackle. The final self bicycle attempt was a good display of creativity and the smile on his face when he plays shows a completely different player than the one that began the season scoreless.

Cristian Dajome: 5.0

The introduction of Dajome seemed a little weird to me, as I would think that Marc Dos Santos would at least keep some of his aces in his back pocket for the game against Portland, but it ended up being that all of the regulars not featured got to play today, (Except for Nerwinski) and MDS even played all of his subs early, which is something he is not known to do. Specifically focusing on Dajome though, he had an alright time on the field, nothing spectacular aside from a contentious penalty denial near the closing of the game.

Leonard Owusu: 4.5

The worst performing of all of the subs, Leo found it hard to shine beside his midfield partner Baldisimo, and couldn’t contribute to too much of the second wind which the subs gave the Whitecaps.

Ali Adnan: 5.5

Credit where credit is due, Ali Adnan is a damn good free kick taker. When the pressures of defensive performances are removed from his shoulders, Ali Adnan shines with his ability to pinpoint pass and chuck in an accurate long ball. He seemed as paramount to the positive momentum of the team as Fredy Montero did and honestly could be looking to start in the midfield as long as David Milinkovic stays out of the matchday lineup.

Marc Dos Santos: 4.0

Honestly this game was an enigma. From the lineup, one could tell MDS was planning to park the bus in front of the net and keep it there to possibly grind out the Whitecaps’ first draw of the season, and it was successful up until he ran into his worst enemy: The opening ten minutes of a half. It was a defensive lapse that lasted for five minutes but the Whitecaps conceded two in that period. Aside from that, again it was weird to see him sub on the starters when it was clear that he was resting them for Portland, especially with his last two. The performance of the team has improved from the beginning of the season, and they don’t look quite as hopeless as certain points in the season, so this wasn’t a terrible performance. It wasn’t a good one, mind you, but when the standard has been set so low, a bad result to an average game is just a shoulder shrug. I still think dismissal should be on the cards, but at least games like these will provide a bittersweet ending to the tenure of the former NASL coach of the year. (I do think that the front office will keep him around for another year though, make of that what you will.)

Disagree with any of the ratings above? Sound off in the comments with your opinion.