The Whitecaps ended their four match stint at the MLS is Back Tournament via a penalty shoot out against Sporting Kansas City. Given their history playing against the team, including their opening day 3-1 defeat at BC Place, many people were writing off this game as a surefire victory for SKC, not even counting the personnel loss the ‘Caps were facing. Admirably, the ‘Caps put up a fight, it wasn’t pretty, but it was enough to instill the lingering hope that their is something on the rise no matter what adversity is thrown their way. The score that these players have received are based on their performances in the 90 minutes of the game, not counting the penalty kicks, as those are not indicative of the performance on the field.
Thomas Hasal: 7.5
Easily Man of the Match, Thomas Hasal has continued his own personal Cinderella run in the MLS is Back tournament by once again proving why he should be the definitive second choice keeper and could possibly battle Crepeau for minutes in the future. Still looking a little unsure on some plays, Hasal stretched out on multiple plays to save a torrent of shots from Sporting Kansas City. His performance in the tournament should be the pleasant surprise that the Whitecaps take home with them and use as a positive motivator for the team.
Cristián Gutiérrez: 6.0
In his first MLS (Sort of) start, Gutiérrez impressed. Limited in attacking options, Marc Dos Santos deployed Ali Adnan on the wing so someone needed to cover his position and Gutiérrez did a fine job. Able to track his man with relative success, he either put in a good tackle or allowed for other players to come help on the defense when an opposing player came near the penalty box. The main detraction to his performance would be his man marking (Something that is a somewhat a pattern with defenders on this team, more on that later.) and a couple of rash tackles in the second half which could have seen him sent off with a more punishing ref.
Ranko Veselinović: 6.5
Solid at the back, Ranko seemed to tighten up his loose ends from performances prior. He was readily available as an option to pass to and fulfilled his defensive duties just as well. Interestingly, he made very little of his trademark runs up the field which he has shown he enjoys to do over the tournament. Thus his contribution to the attacks was marginally less than the games before that, but again, he is a center back, so it’s not his primary objective to do so. Again, the detraction to his performances would come in the form of his marking, although it was better than that of the fullbacks, still was a little too wide for him to be considered a wall at the back.
Derek Cornelius: 6.5
Cornelius follows much of the same reasoning which follows Ranko, as both defenders seemed to perform just about equally in their overall game. Cornelius was definitely the more visible defender on the night, seeming to be on the end of a lot of dangerous runs and shots. Maybe this fervor is in order to convince Marc Dos Santos that he should be starting over his colleague, Jasser Khmiri, and this performance certainly would help to sway the fans in that decision. Again, a solid player but the marking was still too open, and it seems that there was just a lack of defensive communication all around. The path is there to have a really good performance, but it’s not quite there yet for any of the defenders on the back line.
Jake Nerwinski: 3.5
This is especially true for the Whitecaps’ right fullback, Jake Nerwinski. His performance itself wasn’t too bad, admittedly hovering around his average output, but one aspect of his game was not just hurting his game, but that of the team itself. This would be his man marking, which was absolutely not up to where the Whitecaps need it to be if they want to begin taking less than 15 shots every game. Over and over, Sporting Kansas City kept exploiting the right flank and crossing or passing the ball from the corner, which Nerwinski rarely got a foot to. Maybe one could say he was lacking support, but just the absence of apparent defensive communication speaks volumes to how much Jake’s game needs to develop. He may not be terrible to watch on the pitch, but until the Whitecaps tighten up their defensive tactics, Nerwinski will continue to be taken advantage of in future encounters.
Ali Adnan: 5.5
Surprisingly put on the wing after he himself claiming that he would rather play in defense, Ali Adnan did a serviceable job in his new position. It is the first time that he played in this position from the start of the game and he seemed to still be getting the hang of it. He had some pretty well strung passes at some points and stretched the field when he needed to, but one couldn’t help but notice that it seemed that he was much more present in attack when he played in defense. Either way, he did a good job in covering for Milinkovic and this position should always be kept as a wildcard option for future games.
Russell Teibert: 5.5
A standard performance from Rusty, the workhorse. He tracked back and forwards as he always does and did his best to cover for some of his teammates who weren’t necessarily picking up their slack. Overall seemed a little less visible than that of his previous games, but put in a decent shift otherwise.
In-Beom Hwang: 5.0
An alright outing from Hwang in a position he has been tried in before, In-Beom did not really do anything extraordinary nor provided any reason to why he should be played in a 10 role in the future. He looked his most dangerous near the end of the first half and the second half in general but was not the creative outlet that the ‘Caps were looking for.
Leonard Owusu: 4.0
Owusu’s positive momentum which he carried over the past three games seemed to have ground to a halt with this round of sixteen tie. His usual calm and accurate passing display was the complete opposite today, with him putting out many errant passes and losing possession in plays that he had no right to do so. His defensive work rate, which was one of his many positives, seemed like it was just a step behind today as well. Gave away the ball in a lot of dangerous positions, but one game shouldn’t be enough to tarnish the legacy that the past three games have painted for him.
Cristian Dajome: 6.0
The heart of Vancouver’s attacks for most of the game, it seemed as though Dajome was involved in many of the few dangerous chances around Kansas City’s box. He used his speed and agility to help him get past people but wasn’t afraid to pass the ball and provide options to other players in passing situations. He tried to break down Sporting’s defense but could not find a clear answer (As could neither of the ‘Caps other attackers) and was a little lacking in defensive support when he began to get winded. Other than that, it is a performance to commend him on, and looks like he could be a key player to link Cavallini with.
Theo Bair: 5.0
Starting again in this tournament, Theo found himself as the lone striker and had an alright game. He had a couple of shots saved and seemed to try out his agility in certain situations, with varying results. He needs to figure out what type of player he is if he wants to become a critical part of the Whitecaps system, and needs to play to his strengths. Outside of that, he also did manage to hold the ball up to pass to other players pretty well, but it wasn’t anything that any other player couldn’t do.
Yordy Reyna: 4.5
Reyna was added into the match to provide maybe some of the dynamic that was brought in the last 30 minutes of the game against the Chicago Fire, but other than a couple of bursts of energy and skill, Yordy seemed disinterested to be on the field. When he first arrived in Vancouver, one of his main attributes was his work rate, and that was not apparent today. It wasn’t a bad performance per se, but a little more energy and team spirit would have helped him fill his role a little better
Sub 2: N/A
Sub 3: N/A
Sub 4: N/A
Sub 5: N/A
Disagree with any of the ratings above? Sound off in the comments with your opinion.