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Delayed Gratification: Whitecaps Live to Fight Another Day at LAFC

It’s time to hand out some grades in this latest edition of the report card after a 1-1 draw in Los Angeles.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Los Angeles FC Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After a consequential, albeit not entirely satisfying 1-1 draw at Los Angeles Football Club on Tuesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps are one step closer to the MLS Playoffs. Yes, they could have secured a playoff berth with a win, but after Portland triumphed over Real Salt lake on Wednesday night, the odds of the Whitecaps making the playoffs have increased substantially.

Still, this match will be one which can only truly be evaluated after the dust settles on decision day. Did Vanni Sartini’s men do enough to chase down all three points, or were they far too content to sit back and absorb pressure after scoring the opening goal?

While these questions are entirely valid, it will really only matter if the Whitecaps don’t make the playoffs. Hopefully that question is not one we will have to face, but in the meantime, let’s take a look back at how each player (and the manager) fared in the house that Will Ferrell built.

Max Crepeau (9.0)

Clearly the man of the match for the Whitecaps, the Canadian had plenty of work to do as the team in front of him conceded a high number of chances.

Stat of the match: Made 10 saves, 8 of which came from inside the box.

Jake Nerwinski (6.5)

It was a real mixed bag from Nerwinski, definitely not his best showing at CB, but not terrible either. He had some poor giveaways but redeemed himself with some crucial recoveries, especially against Moon.

Stat of the match: Nerwinski recorded just 2 clearances and 1 tackle.

Florian Jungwirth (6.5)

It was a bad break to be the cause of LAFC’s goal allowed on VAR review, although in the end it was the right decision. As always, Flo was on point with the ball at his feet, but I still get a bit nervous when he has a lot of ground to cover defensively.

Stat of the match: Flo lost possession just 4 times in 58 touches, the fewest of any Whitecaps starter.

Erik Godoy (6.0)

Godoy still looks like he is getting up to speed, especially on the ball, where he didn’t quite look like his usual self in this one. Still though, he was active defensively and it’s important for this back line that he stays healthy.

Stat of the match: Uncharacteristically completed just 67% of his passes.

Javain Brown (7.5)

Javain’s tackle in the midfield was the spark which ignited the Whitecaps’ lone goal. Brown is never going to be a perfect example of efficiency, but seldom does an opportunity go by where he doesn’t try to create something.

Stat of the match: Javain was busy in the 50/50’s, winning 8 of 14 ground duels.

Leo Owusu (6.5)

Both Owusu and Teibert struggled to progress the ball through the midfield and make their impact felt in this one, although I did think that Leo showed off an admirable workrate defensively, something which has definitely improved as of late.

Stat of the match: Recorded four tackles.

Russell Teibert (6.0)

I think the Whitecaps missed Janio Bikel in this match and perhaps it would have been a better choice to start him instead of one of these two in the midfield. Teibert did try to get things going offensively but with very little success. Ultimately, he’s probably the weakest of the VWFC midfielders defensively.

Stat of the match: Attempted 8 long balls, completed just 3 of them.

Bruno Gaspar (6.0)

I don’t really know what to make of Gaspar. He’s had some quality moments as of late but he also has some quiet nights where he’s not very involved. The miss off the Brian White service is hardly a knock against him, although perhaps he could have done a bit more to fight through the contact.

Stat of the match: Did not attempt a single dribble or cross.

Ryan Gauld (7.0)

Another day, another quality perfomance from Gauld. Both Gauld and Johnny Russell have made good cases that they should be back in the Scotland team but have been left out once again. But would it surprise you if I told you many Scots still think that MLS is semi-pro?

Check the quote tweets on this one, hilarious!

Stat of the match: 3 successful dribbles & 2 key passes.

Cristian Dajome (7.5)

It’s been great to see Dajome back up front where he belongs. He was the beneficiary of the Gauld to White connection on this occasion but still had a lot to do in order to finish it off.

Stat of the match: 10th goal of the season.

Brian White: (7.0)

Even when he’s not scoring, the man continues to create chances and make impactful runs when he’s not on the ball. His impact was only magnified when Lucas Cavallini entered the match.

Stat of the match: 2 big chances created.

Substitutes (6.5)

No real standouts here other than Guti at the back who, once again, looked rather impressive in a back three, or at least more than I might have expected. Cava looked ragged once again, and I thought the Bikel sub should have come much sooner.

Stat of the match: Gutierrez had 25 touches in just 33 minutes.

Vanni Sartini (6.0)

I think this was the first match where Vanni really got his tactics wrong, it felt a lot more like the MDS-style bunker and hope after the opening goal than we’ve become accustomed to under Sartini. Equally, the subs could have come sooner and perhaps given the ‘Caps the push they needed in order to seek out a second goal - but it never really felt like they were willing to go chase it.

Stat of the match: The Whitecaps surrendered 26 total shots.

What were your thoughts on the draw in LA? Are you confident the Whitecaps will slide into the playoffs? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!