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Report Card Vancouver Whitecaps vs Colorado Rapids

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The ‘Invincibles’ Dream Dies

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Whitecaps lined up for their third match of the season against the first opposition that wasn’t rotating players due to continental competition, and many were expecting this match to be defining of how the Whitecaps would perform against other teams closer to their stature. Unfortunately, this match ended in a 1-0 loss for the “home” side, with a Diego Rubio free kick making the difference in the first half. The Whitecaps continued on their improvements from last season, but today presented a flat performance, so the ratings may be similar due to no outstanding performers. With that being said, let’s see how the players donning the hoop performed:

Maxime Crepeau: 6.5

Crepeau was the Whitecaps’ best player on the field tonight, and that even comes with him conceding a goal. (Which, to be fair, was a very well placed free kick.) He made multiple saves that took advantage of Colorado’s unsure finishing and more than likely stopped them from extending their lead. Were the ‘Caps to get a favorable result, this rating would have probably been higher, but unfortunately the rest of the team wasn’t performing up to par.

Cristián Gutiérrez: 6.0

A strong first half was followed by a mostly anonymous second. Gutierrez wasn’t capable of matching his performance of the last two games but he did at least show that in an unremarkable game he was able to play his role and contribute both attacking and defensively. If there is anything to take away is that he probably needs to tune up his free kick delivery as this could add to the Whitecaps’ strongest asset this season so far.

Ranko Veselinović: 5.5

Ranko was solid but didn’t put on a defensive masterclass. It seemed that Colorado got a fair few number of shots in through the centre, so while not making any glaring mistakes, there’s only so much he was able to do in his position. Ranko has proven himself to be capable of defensive solidity, but there has been a noted drop-off from his arrival to the team in dribbles made forwards, which seemed like it would be an asset of his game in the future. Whether that is a good or bad thing, that remains to be seen, but carrying the ball up the field could have inspired some attacks that the Whitecaps desperately need.

Andy Rose: 5.0

Andy Rose is a veteran presence on the Whitecaps team. Unfortunately experience doesn’t guarantee world class performances. For a team with marking struggles like the Whitecaps, strong performances defensively are necessary- and at some points, Rose looks to be limited in his ways to help the team. There is a lack of dynamism which being a defender requires, and he seems to displace the back line marking sometimes leading to an open man. He didn’t put in a bad performance but he certainly shouldn’t be seen as the most viable defensive option the Whitecaps have at their disposal. (Which unfortunately is surprisingly thin at the moment.)

Jake Nerwinski: 4.5

Oh Jake. The attacks from Colorado mostly came from the American’s flank and Jake seemed to be showing more and more why a defensive upgrade in the shape of Bruno Gaspar was necessary. (More on him later) It seemed like he was trying his hardest and putting in as much effort as possible but the Colorado players appeared to get the best of him most times. It must be frustrating for a defender to deal with this and could be really easy for one to mentally give up after not having things go your way for a while. This is what seemed to happen as Colorado was gifted an opportunity to score when Nerwinski failed to cover his mark and fell to the floor; watching defeated as a shot bounced off of defender Andy Rose before finally picking himself up get in the box.

Cristian Dajome: 5.0

Not much to say about the Colombian to be honest. It was a routine performance for him with not a lot of the attacking spark lighting a fire. He did his job and was a cog in the machine. This could have changed were he to have taken and scored the penalty that should have been given after a push in the box late in the game, but alas, this did not happen and Dajome was left to pass the ball around with no finish.

Russell Teibert: 4.5

Side pass, pass back. That basically summarizes Rusty’s game- when one were to even notice him. He seemed to not appear in any buildup, and even though it looked like he was going to be dropping to cover Gutierrez’ position when he ran up the field, even that proved to be largely ineffective.

Janio Bikel: 5.0

It was a hot and cold game for Bikel. On some plays, you could see that he is a defensively sound ball winner that could destroy attacks as they happen, and on other it seems like he could barely control the ball or time a tackle. This needs to be something figured out by him as soon as possible, as he looks to staple himself to the side with all of the new additions slowly making their homes and relegating others to the bench.

Deiber Caicedo: 5.0

If there was to be anything to drag Caicedo down to a negative rating, it was his lack of finishing the opportunities he found himself in. (That open net miss was not pretty to look at either.) He was very active in the Whitecaps attacks but nothing seemed to come from it. All of his negative play was covered by this, but there wasn’t anything positive to send him up a couple of ratings.

Caio Alexandre: 5.5

In a tactical masterclass that rivals that of the greats such as Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola, Marc Dos Santos decided to try out holding midfielder Caio Alexandre at a quasi-no.10 role, and it was an experiment that probably ended up doing more harm then good. Caio played well, technically at least, he put in a solid performance with not many things to knock him down for. Unfortunately, he was a primarily defensive midfielder playing a much more advanced position and as such there were a variety of problems. For one, he subconsciously tracked back sometimes, leaving Lucas Cavallini alone up top with long balls being his only option, and second his passes often were hit a little too hard- which is a difference a deeper role could have maybe remedied. Once the second half began, Alexandre dropped back into the midfield and played a solid half to close out the game.

Lucas Cavallini: 5.5

Cavallini’s performance wasn’t helped by the aforementioned lack of support. He received good passes from his teammates, but it was often in the middle third rather than deep in the oppositions half, where a striker would like to find themselves. Cavallini’s emotions were also in full display, as a yellow card for an unnecessary foul following Colorado’s opener reminding fans of the temper displayed in the previous season. Not to mention, the visible frustration at the rest of the team with all of the failed attacks this game. The Whitecaps faithful will have to hope he keeps those feelings in check in the game against the Impact next week, lest they miss an important source of goals due to card accumulation.

Michael Baldisimo: 5.5

Baldisimo was the definition of too little too late when he was subbed on. After being questionable for tonight’s game due an injury, it seemed that Baldisimo did not miss a beat once he hit the field, as he put on a level-headed performance and brought in effort to a game that was slowly slipping out of the Whitecaps’ grasp. Bikel might have to watch out for his spot, because Baldi is steadily eyeing that starting role himself.

Ryan Raposo: 4.5

Not much to say about the 2020 MLS Draft pick. Brought on for Teibert, Raposo failed to ignite any attacking flair into the side, and even looked a little lost at times. Either the player needs to find a way to adapt to the system or the coach needs to take a completely different approach, as it seems that Raposo may just be a draft bust at this point.

Bruno Gaspar: 4.0

Yeah, this wasn’t the best way to endear yourselves to the fans. Since his arrival, many people were hoping that Gaspar would be playing over Nerwinski very early into the season, and as Nerwinski failed to light things up tonight, those same people could have felt some vindication in the fact that it was a clear error to not start him this game. Unfortunately Gaspar seemed to be on a different wavelength than the rest of the team today. He was a sidegrade at best and an upgrade at worst on Nerwinski this game. (Watching a defender run down your side of the pitch as the whole team but you tracks back was not a good look- and is a habit the Whitecaps won’t want to see in their primary right back since their DP left back does enough of that himself.) Hopefully it was just a blip on his performance radar, because tonight makes next week’s selection questionable.

Kamron Habibullah: 5.0

I wish I could score the kid higher, as many hardcore Whitecaps fans have been looking forwards to the day this academy starlet would shine for the first team, but he put in a performance that was to be expected from someone who was getting their first ever MLS minutes. He seemed a bit reserved in showing flair but became more comfortable with doing so as his minutes increased on the pitch. Hopefully he can expand on this cameo role and grow into the potential that is expected of him. For any Whitecaps fan, or any MLS fan in general, watch this space in the coming years.

Sub 5: N/A

Disagree with any of the ratings above? Sound off in the comments with your opinion.