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Monday Night Report Card: Low Event Soccer in Portland

It wasn’t very exciting, but there are still grades to hand out, so...

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone to this Monday night edition of the report card.

After the Vancouver Whitecaps attempted to defend “home” turf last night at Providence Park, falling by a score of 1-0, there were many ways I could go with my analysis. One one hand, it was a step forward from the 6-0 drubbing midweek in LA. But on the other hand, it was a largely soulless match from the Whitecaps, in which they offered very little, especially in the closing stages.

Still a bit perplexed myself and not knowing what to make of all this, I decided to pose a question: What side are you on, is the glass half full or half empty?

The answer was (predictably I guess) pessimistic. As 5’s and 6’s were the resounding top grades at the time of writing. And while I understand that after two underwhelming performances in a row it’s pretty easy to dump on the team, I also think my colleague Caleb Wilkins made a really good point in the comments.

Indeed, it would defeat the point of this piece if we let our general negativity about the team cloud quality individual perfomances. So in that effort, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the mediocre showings (or try to at least), simply focusing on the ones I thought were the most impactful (both good and bad).

Okay, that’s enough hooplah, let’s get into it.

Bryan Meredith (4.0)

The reality is that Meredith is a significant downgrade from Thomas Hasal (get well soon Thomas!) and there’s a reason the Whitecaps just traded for a very overpaid Evan Bush.

Jake Nerwinski (6.0)

Jake continues to be one of the team’s most consistent performers. He passed at a rate of over 90% and also had a key pass in this one.

Erik Godoy (7.0)

As mentioned on twitter, Godoy was the top performer of the match and earned a 7.0 from me. He brings a notable aggression to the backline and finally looks comfortable again in the middle of the park. He’s also far more confident on the ball than he gets credit for at times.

Andy Rose (6.5)

Rose was surprisingly active in the opposition’s area, clattering a shot off the post and looking dangerous on a few occasions. He also put in a pretty solid shift defensively.

Cristian Gutierrez (4.5)

It’s tough that Guti came off injured, because he responded well to being at fault for the opening goal. He’s showed promise, but he still has a lot to learn as well.

Cristian Dajome (4.5)

He had a few opportunities, but lacked the same incisive nature and chemistry with Montero which we saw a few weeks ago.

Janio Bikel (4.0)

This was Bikel’s first poor match in a Whitecaps shirt. The tactical shift in the midfield didn’t really work for him, and he often looked pretty far out of position - I think he could use a match off as he’s ramping back up from his earlier injury.

Leonard Owusu (5.5)

Owusu continues to put in solid shifts, but right now there are still shortcomings to his game. While he’s a good passer and dribbler, he offers no threat in front of goal, and he needs to look for line-breaking balls more often.

Ali Adnan (6.0)

Ali Adnan Best Player?

Look, we all know that Adnan is one of the best players on the park most nights in MLS, but the reality is, the Whitecaps need to be getting more than an out-of-position left winger from one of their designated player spots. Especially when he’s not scoring.

Fredy Montero (6.0)

Fredy continues to improve the squad whenever he is on the pitch. If not for a couple of bounces, he could’ve easily rescued a point for the Whitecaps.

Lucas Cavallini (4.0)

Because Cava doesn’t offer a lot offensively other than finishing, he has to convert when he has clear sight of goal. Sure, the chances are limited in this Whitecaps squad, but he had two clean headers in front of goal. Simply put, one of those has to go in. Also while his pressing is admirable, the persistent yellow cards are frustrating and usually senseless.

David Milkovic (N/A)

Not much to say, really. He came on because of injury and looked to struggle again with an issue of his own.

Tosaint Ricketts & Ryan Raposo (N/A)

At some point, does someone just kick the ball out of play to let them come on?

Marc Dos Santos (2.5)

Persistent breakdowns on set pieces have to fall on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Equally, substitutions are the greatest tool the manager has to change a match, especially when he has five of them. Waiting until the final moments to make your first planned substitution is questionable under any circumstances. Doing it during your team’s fifth match in fifteen days is, to quote Kristian Jack from TSN Soccer, “nothing short of negligent” (that quote was in regard to Schuster and ownership, not necessarily Dos Santos, but the point stands).

Speaking of which, if you didn’t happen to catch KJ’s tirade on last night’s post-game show, I’d encourage you to check it out.

What did you think of the grades? And do you agree with KJ’s message?