The Caps are headed back to the playoffs on the back of a gritty 1-1 draw against Seattle that pushed them over the line. It was a team effort, with expert game management from Vanni Sartini, though some players stood out against the tapestry of the biggest match of the season.
Max Crepeau: 7
Left helpless on Fredy Montero’s penalty but did very well to deny his former teammate twice later on in the first half. Was calm, cool and collected — except for when he dropped the hammer on a Sounders player he thought kicked out at Flo Jungwirth. It was a big brain move from Max, though, as it killed off the rest of the match. Get your team a goalkeeper who can make big saves and sh*thouse.
Cristian Gutierrez: 7
Needed the switch back to the left to really come alive and it was his ball that put he Sounders defense under pressure on Gauld’s opener. His absence from the lineup showed at times, as he was sometimes not quite on the same page with the forwards (case in point: one break where he just missed playing in Gauld, when his teammate seemed to think Guti was going to shoot). Was more comfortable defensively on the left side as well.
Jake Nerwinski: 7
Looked comfortable and confident when he went on one of the patented runs forward that we have come to expect out of CBs under Vanni Sartini. Also grew into the match defensively and made a couple vital interventions down the stretch. Although fans may want Erik Godoy back as soon as he is fit, Nerwinski’s ability to progress the ball and get forward makes him a dangerous centerback under Sartini’s system.
Ranko Veselinovic: 7
A round of 7s for the backline seems fitting, as they all put in a shift but Ranko was the most assured of the three, in my opinion. Five clearances may seem to be just another day at the office for the hulking Serbian but it was tied for the most of any player on the pitch. Should have had a goal at the other end but was denied by Fredy Montero. Still, a strong close to the season for a guy many had left for dead earlier on in the year.
Florian Jungwirth: 7
Was caught out a couple times in the first half but made up for it with an excellent second half, including a couple strong defensive efforts which fed dangerous counter attacks going the other way. One could be forgiven for wondering if Jordan Morris’ arrival would spell trouble but Jungwirth effectively dispatched any time the Seattle striker wandered into the box. Gritty stuff from the veteran.
Javain Brown: 7
Looked really lively when he switched back to the right hand side but did well to toe the balance in terms of how often to push forward and take a chance. His work tracking back was excellent — there was one time where he ran most of the length of the pitch to pressure Jordan Morris. Ended the night with more interceptions than anyone else on the pitch.
Russell Teibert: 6.5
Capable defensively, Rusty also stepped up from a passing perspective, with the best completion percentage on long balls of anyone on the Caps. His vision was quite good and kept everyone organized in the midfield. What more could you ask for?
Leonard Owusu: 7
Really thought this match was a nice metaphor for Owusu’s resurgence: Nothing spectacular but was quite accurate in his passing and was the engine in building up through the center of the park. Had a couple uneasy touches in the second half but by and large this was a sound game for Owusu, although his confidence in the attacking third seems limited.
Ryan Gauld: 8
In big matches you want your best players to shine and Gauld lived up to his DP tag Sunday. His goal was massive but he pulled the strings the rest of the match as well, with a pair of key passes and several others that his teammates were not quite able to corral.
Cristian Dajome: 4.5
Was somewhat unlucky to give away the penalty off a handball he didn’t know much about. This seemed to sour Dajome’s mood and his body language after a few misses in front of goal reflected this. Was indecisive going forward, even when he found himself in good positions. You can’t fault the effort from Dajome and the ref didn’t do him any favors but it wasn’t his best match.
Brian White: 6.5
Utterly ruthless in the air and it earned him a deserved assist, even as it meant sacrificing his body to do so. That’s why it was surprising to see him miss a gilded header in the second half that could have been a major relief for the Caps. Still, with blood streaking down his face at times, White was a true warrior.
Janio Bikel: 5
Had a couple of nervy giveaways, though thankfully they did not wind up punishing the Caps. Wasn’t his most convincing appearance.
Bruno Gaspar: 6.5
Had a nice bit of creativity shortly after coming on but was otherwise largely anonymous offensively. Did chip in a few clearances down the stretch and put in a good shift defensively which, at that point, was what was required of him.
Lucas Cavallini: N/A
Came on. Held up ball. Picked up dumb foul. That’s been his season, basically.