Congratulations, early birds: you have worms. Apologies for those of you who didn’t wake up for this one. Your consolation prize is merely that you both didn’t have to wake up early and didn’t have to watch the first 60 minutes of this match. I hope you can manage!
Your Vancouver Whitecaps have advanced past the group stage after a confusing, frustrating three matches. Did we deserve it? Who cares! I’m assuming we’re all a bit exhausted after that one, so let’s get right into the ratings.
Thomas Hasal - 9
A shutout performance on a team that has conceded 7 goals in the previous 2 matches on your first professional start? Yeah that’s going to be a 9 from me. Hasal showcased playmaking ability with his feet, good positioning and deft diving skills. His attempted diving header in the first half brings him down from a 10, but I absolutely love the bravery.
Ali Adnan - 8
When Ali Adnan has the ball on the wing, good things tend to happen. Whether this makes him a better winger than fullback remains to be seen, but you have to imagine he gets more of a look up front going forward. With two assists, and no major defensive blunders, Adnan gives us exactly what we need from him.
Jasser Khmiri - 4
You have to feel for the guy after getting injured in the first half. It’s been a long, injury-riddled road for Jasser, and extended playing time could only have helped his development. Regardless, his performance stood out as a bit subpar, getting beaten cleanly on a few occasions, and giving the ball away on a few others. We hope the injury isn’t as serious as it looks.
Ranko Veselinovic - 6.5
This guy goes in head first maybe a bit too much for his own good, but the result is a no-fly zone where opposing shots and crosses are concerned. Nothing major to report other that a solid performance in a shutout - can’t complain!
Derek Cornelius - 7
Cornelius brought a mobility to the back line that was missing without him. There were a few times where his aggression on the left touchline stopped a play from forming. I think he forms a better partnership with Veselinovic than Khmiri did, which will be needed in the next round.
Jake Nerwinski - 5
For some reason Jake Nerwinski likes to play with fire in the box, and let’s face it: he got away with a penalty with his high foot in the second half. There were a few occasions where Elliot Collier was described as a “problem”, as he was able to beat him on multiple occasions. He did, however, make a game saving tackle and clearance at the end of the match, which earns him an even score.
Leonard Owusu - 5.5
A solid performance, with a few giveaways. Owusu showed a few instances of what he can offer: forward passing. He’s been able to make a quick turn out of trouble and play the ball forward to varying degrees of success, which will be so important going forward.
Hwang Inbeom - 5
There’s just a bit of a spark missing. A few nice touches and he makes the wrong final pass. Sometimes those first few touches aren’t even there. I hope we see more from him going forward.
Russell Teibert - 6
Teibert gets this rating for being a general disruptor. He really was everywhere today, and provided some much-needed energy for the entire match.
Ryan Raposo - 4
Wasn’t exactly afforded much of an opportunity to shine, but did what was needed form him. Raposo has shown what he can do as a sub, and has some work to do if he wants to be a regular starter.
Theo Bair - 4
Similar to Raposo, Bair didn’t exactly have much of a chance to shine in this one. He seemed to be wandering a bit aimlessly, but had a few moments with the ball at his feet. I like the idea of Bair as a starter with Reyna coming on at half time for our next match.
Cristian Dajome - 8
Coming on for an injured Khmiri, Dajome acquitted himself quite well in this one, scoring the clinching goal on a perfectly-timed run in the second half. It needs to be said, however, that he has developed a reputation as a flopper. Late in the game, he was quite clearly fouled on a play that could have really slowed things down for the good guys. Instead, the referee decided that it was his fault that he got his leg taken out from underneath him, and called him for the dive. We’ve seen this happen before with Sebastian Fernandez, but hopefully it doesn’t distract him from a decent start to the season so far.
Yordy Reyna - 9
Yordy Reyna is a dangerous player with the ball, and proved it today. His goal showed a great deal of patience, and his play as a false nine continues to improve. I’d love to see a bit more cleanliness in his passing, but Reyna did exactly what he was asked today, and the Whitecaps are through because of it.
David Milinkovic - 4
Aside from a good run on the right touchline, Milinkovic was a bit invisible in this one. I believe in his abilities, but his game isn’t as suited for the sweaty, muggy, counter-attacking style that the Whitecaps have had to adopt in the MLSiB Tournament.
Cristián Gutiérrez - 5
He may have disrupted the play just enough for the ball to hit CJ Sapong’s outstretched hand, but we didn’t see much else from him. That might be good news, considering how much we’ve noticed our left fullbacks since Jordan Harvey signed with LAFC. Gutiérrez played a simple game when he swapped places with Adnan, which may allow Marc Dos Santos to experiment a bit more with the lineup.