Saturday night in Utah, the Vancouver Whitecaps began their US road trip with a win, as they secured a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in front of a limited capacity crowd at Rio Tinto. Notably, this was the Whitecaps’ first series of back to back victories in 2020.
It was far from a virtuoso performance by the visiting Whitecaps, who were once again aided by an opponent reduced to ten men, but even with that being said, there were still some quality individual performances and moments to talk about. That’s what we’re here to do in the report card, so let’s get into it.
Thomas Hasal (6.5)
After a tough match against Montreal, Hasal has settled back into some more consistent form. With Max Crepeau out for most (if not all) of the remaining 2020 season, he’ll be relied upon to keep up this level of play. He made a couple of nice saves (3 total) and the goal against was a point blank header, so not much he could’ve done there.
Jake Nerwinski (5.5)
After the fullbacks stole the show at BC Place, it was a bit of a step back for Nerwinski, (albeit a small one) against RSL. He still managed to record a key pass and had an 83% passing rate, but he was also largely responsible for the goal against - although I’d like to see the Whitecaps do a better job closing down those far post crosses before they’re sent in.
Ranko Veselinovic (6.0)
It was a decently busy night for the Serbian, with 7 clearances and 3 blocked shots. His passing wasn’t quite as sharp as you’d like, but until Godoy is fully fit, he’s the best option alongside Derek Cornelius.
Derek Cornelius (6.0)
Very similar to Ranko but slightly less eventful. The shape of the game diminished both CB’s passing numbers as there weren't a lot of options available. Derek remains rock solid at the back for VWFC.
Cristian Gutierrez (5.5)
You can’t fault Guti for trying to get something going, but the play didn’t flow quite as easily for him as it did against Montreal. He lost possession 18 times, was dribbled past twice, but also had 3 clearances, 1 tackle, and 1 interception.
Russell Teibert (5.5)
I can’t believe that Rusty didn’t get a rest in this one, but he’s a hard man to keep off the pitch. After an MLS record perfect passing performance last time out, Teibert followed this up with a 95% passing rate Saturday, albeit on just 20 total passes. You know exactly what you’re going to get from Teibert at this point - nothing more and nothing less.
Janio Bikel (6.0)
It was nice to see Janio build on his 45 minutes at home with 59 minutes this time out. He’s still getting up to speed, and the way the Whitecaps played during that time didn’t do him many favours, but you can see the quality. He completed 2 of 3 long balls, and 87% of his passes overall.
Ali Adnan (4.5)
The Iraqi didn’t really partake much in the attacking play for the Whitecaps and 33 touches is a very low number for Ali, especially when he’s out on the wing. He lost possession 12 times and completed just 59% of his passes.
David Milinkovic (7.0)
The “Assist Master” has his first Whitecaps goal. The Hull City loanee continues to be the Whitecaps’ most valuable player so far this season, and is really excelling at the no.10 position, even on nights when the team struggles.
Cristian Dajome (8.0)
Maybe it’s being reunited with his family, or going back to the 4-2-3-1, but either way, Dajome has caught fire lately. He had three key passes and one assist on just 16 total pass attempts, as well as winning 7 of his 10 ground duels. He was super efficient for how little he saw of the ball.
Fredy Montero (8.0)
The MLS veteran proved that his comeback performance against Montreal was not a one-off fluke by backing it up in Salt Lake. Not only did Montero assist on the winning goal, but he set up Dajome for a very good chance (one of his 3 key passes) and continued to show off his instincts and ingenuity in all phases of play. Notably, Montero was a willing defender at times, with 4 tackles (which led the team).
Michael Baldisimo (Sub - 6.5)
It was a bit of a scruffy showing from Baldi, but that’s pretty representative of the Whitecaps as a whole in this one. All that really matters is the wonderful cross-field ball he played to Fredy Montero which helped set up the winning goal. It’s time for him to start alongside Bikel.
Lucas Cavallini (Sub - 7.0)
Left out of the starting XI, he played 31+ minutes and recorded one key pass as well as the game-winning goal. His goal looked like a simple finish, but the ability to slide between two defenders and get a foot on the ball with solid contact is more difficult than it looks, so credit to him. That’s what the Caps are going to need more of from him.
Leonard Owusu (Sub - N/A)
He did have 14 touches but not much that moved the needle, recorded 2 tackles and an interception.
Andy Rose (Sub - N/A)
Only four touches, lost possession twice.
Marc Dos Santos (4.0)
The skipper obviously set his team up for a testy away match and in that respect, fair enough. What’s more concerning though is just how poor the Whitecaps looked up a man (again) and the fact that they held just 37% of the possession. The Whitecaps also passed at a rate of just 74% which is #notgood. With three points banked, I can’t imagine they’ll set up much differently in these next two matches, but we shall see.
Believe it or not, the Whitecaps have not only moved into a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but have just one less win than the top-placed Seattle Sounders. What a world!