Doing the report card for the Vancouver Whitecaps’ season opening 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers is a bit tough. On the one hand this was exactly the game plan the ‘Caps, who were missing at least 4 regular starters, were going to have to use if they were going to get anything out of this game. On the other that game plan made it so that no individual player really stood out. Nevertheless I have done my best to evaluate them all.
Maxime Crepeau: 8.0
You could tell Crepeau was still carrying some rust after missing out on most of 2020 with a broken thumb. His passing was a bit inconsistent* and there were a few crosses he could have dealt with better. But he made some key saves in a match where Portland doubled Vancouver’s xG so i’m happy to give him a high mark.
*I wrote this but then I checked ASA’s model and apparently he completed more passed than expected based on the difficulty of the passes he attempted. Perhaps I was to harsh, or still had his slip up from pre-season on the brain. This is why we have stats, folks.
Cristian Gutiérrez: 9.0
Gutiérrez was one of the ‘Caps most defensively active players and assisted the goal. Last year his 1v1 defending left something to be desired so seeing him lead the team with 4 tackles was really encouraging. Gutiérrez interchanged well with Teibert with one of them hugging the left hand touchline and one playing more centrally.
Andy Rose: 7.5
Rose was good in the air and made a key saving tackle to preserve the win. He is a bit lumbering, he only plays a short sideways pass or a looping ball over the top, but he got the job done tonight. I hope Erik Godoy is back soon.
Ranko Veselinovic: 7.0
Nobody turned him and left him for dead so that’s a big improvement on last season right there. His passing remains a little janky. Still, a positive performance overall from a player that struggled to adapt to MLS in 2020.
Jake Nerwinski: 6.5
Nerwinski had a quiet night but performed adequately when he was called upon.
Russel Teibert: 7.0
I am warming to Teibert as a defensive winger quite a bit. His work ethic was an important part of securing the win and his defensive responsibility gave Gutiérrez more freedom to get forward. I would still rather see Dájome and Caicedo on the wings when everyone is available but Teibert did a good job of keeping Portland quiet on the night.
Michael Baldisimo: 7.5
Baldisimo did Baldisimo things. He got the ball in deep areas and passed it forward. It would be nice if there were another dynamic attacking player or two for him to pass to.
Janio Bikel: 6.5
Bikel was not as obviously dominant as we have seen him in the past but he did a fine job of harrying the Portland players in the midfield.
Deiber Caicedo: 7.5
Caicedo was directly involved of 50% of Vancouver’s shots in this game. Those shots were not particularly high danger scoring chances but still, a lot to like from the youngster’s MLS debut.
Cristian Dájome: 6.5
Dájome brought a lot of energy but does not really have the vision to play as an effective second striker.
Lucas Cavallini: 7.0
Cavallini did Cavallini things. His passing and dribbling left a lot to be desired but he was a physical menace and scored a goal. Cavallini won 6 aerial duels and was fouled 8 times, a testament to how hard he made life for the Portland defenders in those 1v1 physical battles. Ironically Cavallini had fewer good scoring chances than he did in the first match last season. But because his one good chance went in this time the narrative will be that he’s not having the slow start he had last season.