Yes, yes that was certainly more like it from the Caps, who trotted out three new players—all of whom had strong debuts. The old hats looked alright too, as Tosaint Ricketts put the Galaxy to the sword late in the second half. Read on to see how the squad fared in the match report card.
Max Crepeau: 5.5
Positioning still looks a bit suspect, including one where he rather mysteriously came out and left an open net and another where he dropped the ball and almost got caught out. Didn’t have a ton to do but managed to secure no shortage of dangerous crosses from Galaxy wide areas. A fine performance from Max.
Ali Adnan: 6.5
Looked really nice on the counter early but didn’t remain quite as involved. Because of that I think Adnan tried to do too much when he did see the ball—which admittedly paid off on his lovely assist to Toss on the goal. This is the Adnan the Caps need more of—a bit more conservative but a live wire when he needs to be
Andy Rose: 8
Yeah I know Andy Rose is a bit of a meme at this point but … what if he is actually a decent CB? Shockingly almost got on the score sheet, with a header rattling the post. Looked equally steady at CB and I was impressed with his positioning, especially given that he was playing out of position—he had a couple last-ditch saves that were chalked up entirely to putting himself in the right place at the right time. Rose showed he could yet be useful as CB depth.
Jasser Khmiri: 7
This was the performance most of us were hoping Khmiri could offer in spades this year. Was a steady, physical presence at CB and put in a performance that would make you forget Donneil Henry is an ocean away. Khmiri wasn’t perfect but still showed why he should be one of the first choice CBs.
Janio Bikel: 7
Needed some time to settle into the match and figure out his positioning. That was amplified on potentially disastrous confusion with Max Crepeau that led to an open net. While he got beat once or twice, he largely kept the extremely dangerous Cristian Pavon in his pocket. Like him on the ball though and like how he gets stuck in on tackles—I can’t wait to see him in his natural midfield position.
David Milinkovic: 6
Weirdly most of the attacks seemed to go through the right hand side in the first half, meaning Milinkovic didn’t get a ton of looks until later. Is still a bit wasteful at times—has a habit to get trigger happy on the killer through ball I think. But he does really seem to be learning how to work with Ali Adnan in terms of picking up the defensive slack and having a lot of nice energy on the press. His first two appearances have been a 180 of what I expected after his signing.
Russell Teibert: 6.5
Dropped deep to allow Hwang more of a chance to impose himself on the game—and was so adept at doing so that he forced most every LA Galaxy attack out wide, where it was mopped up by Khmiri or Rose. Was bruised and battered by the end of this one but really put in a strong shift that justifies why he’s important to the Caps.
In-Beom Hwang: 5
Decision making needs to be a bit better— he got himself into good positions but got way too trigger happy when he arrived there. Was still dangerous but seems to be easing into the season as he’s been played out of position. I look forward to Owusu and Bikel letting his push forward and really go all in on imposing his will on the match.
Cristian Dajome: 6.5
He really seemed to link up well with Bikel and looked generally dangerous on the right hand side—so much so that the Caps deviated from their usual strategy of running things through Ali Adnan and the left hand side. Had some great cuts while taking on an undergunned Galaxy backline. An underrated element of his game is an ability to track back and defend, which was useful as Bikel learned on the job at RB. Overall a strong performance, if lacking the final product.
Lucas Cavallini: 5
Like what he offered on the press and I thought he found himself in potentially dangerous spots but the finishing just wasn’t there tonight. The hold up play was strong but I was still left wanting with his performance—his weak penalty was the cherry on top in this regard (MDS better be banning these guys from taking penalties right down the middle…).
Tosaint Ricketts: 7.5
I like his energy on the press but in the earlier stages of the match he was dropping so deep that it really hurt his ability to find himself in attacking positions. He looked better after Raposo came on and he pushed to the wing, which was reflected in the goal—he was able to push forward more and use his pace to create danger. Made a real good argument for getting more minutes over Montero.
Ryan Raposo: 7
A hockey assist ain’t bad on your debut but his arrival helped smooth the formation out a bit, especially after the Corona red. He maybe was a bit overeager at times in pushing the attack after the Caps went 1-0 up when holding possession would have been better. But this was also an asset when he put Ricketts in a position to win the penalty. He certainly left me wanting more
Leonard Owusu: N/A
Didn’t have a ton of time to make an impact but I loved how he was getting stuck into tackles and making life difficult for the Galaxy. Am excited to see him get a real shift in.
Fredy Montero: N/A
Came on rather mysteriously to get a cup of coffee at the end, rather than a more defensive player. Didn’t do much one way or the other