It was a much needed come from behind win for the Caps at home, as they overcame a sloppy first half to prevail 2-1 against LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium. The topsy turvy performance made the report card a real challenge given how it was such a tale of two matches — read on to find out who came out looking good.
Thomas Hasal: 5.5
Wasn’t forced into a ton of saves and didn’t have much hope of keeping Rayan Raveloson’s goal out. His distribution was Crepeau-like, which is to say mediocre. A generally unremarkable match for the youngster.
Cristian Gutierrez: 7
Was basically a traffic cone on the Galaxy goal but was quickly a threat offensively in a way we haven’t seen in recent matches. He played in a really advanced position at times and it shouldn’t be a surprise that almost half of the team’s attacks came through the lefthand side. He didn’t directly create a lot but was instrumental in sparking chances, especially when it seemed like no one else on the pitch was trying to do so.
Erik Godoy: 6
Caught out of position several times in the first half and the Galaxy were all too happy to take advantage. The second half was more what we are used to seeing out of the Argentine
Ranko Veselinovic: 6
Was another player who didn’t show the needed sense of urgency in the first half but changed things around in the second half. He had a nice moment offensively, with a foray into the box overloading things for the Galaxy and creating a great chance. Had some nervy moments in the second half but generally seemed to settle in. I would prefer to see him continue to start over Andy Rose.
Javain Brown: 6.5
His improvement from first half to second was a pretty good metaphor for the Caps as a whole. Was way too slow in closing down Cabral on the Galaxy’s first goal, arriving too late to cut out Victor Vazquez’s switch but still having ample time to deny the assist. The switches in general caused him a lot of problems and was out of position on a couple other occasions but generally was able to use his pace to recover. In the second 45, he was quite dangerous offensively and was much more composed on the defense. His aggressiveness is, more often than not, a real asset and it is hard to say Bruno Gaspar should displace him, despite some inconsistent moments.
Russell Teibert: 6.5
Another player who didn’t handle the Galaxy’s incisive passing very well. But was much more efficient than normal from a passing standpoint (along with Guti, he was the only Caps player with multiple key passes) and was key in making that left side the core of the Caps’ attack. Still played it safe at times but this was one of the few times in recent memory where Teibert really backed up MDS’ decision to start him.
Michael Baldisimo: 5
Was one of the few Caps in the first half looking to play guys into advanced positions but these weren’t always on point (he led the team in long balls with eight but only one of these found another player). Played a deeper role where he usually thrives but just didn’t quite have it tonight. The last ten minutes before he was subbed off (where he picked up a yellow card for a poor tackle off an even poorer touch) was a pretty good metaphor. One to learn from for Baldi.
Janio Bikel: 7
A vintage Bikel performance in this one: a steadying force for a shaky backline in the first half and always seemed to be in the right place. Had some moments where he forced really vital turnovers and helped turn the team loose on the counter. Didn’t allow a way through for a frustrated Galaxy side in the dying moments of the match and while it was another match where he wasn’t especially distinguished in the passing department, his workhorse performance deserves a mention.
Deibar Caicedo: 8
Was really nice to see him get a goal to quiet the fans who have slagged off Caicedo for his perceived lack of finishing abilities. This match showed just how vital he is for the Caps — he was the main offensive catalyst for the team, goal aside, as he pressed the Galaxy (singlehandedly at times) and forced turnover after turnover.
Brian White: 6.5
I still have found White pretty unconvincing thus far into his tenure but I give him credit for a good performance here. Was one of the few players interested in seriously pressing in the first half. This hard work created some chances and I was happy to see him get an assist to reward his efforts, with a really smart effort to pull all three Galaxy defenders towards him to set up the one-two with Dajome. Found himself offsides a whole lot and didn’t put himself in a ton of good positions to poach a goal but this was a better all-around effort from the striker.
Cristian Dajome: 7.5
Always energetic but perhaps could have been more so in the first half, particularly in terms of tracking back to help support Brown. Still maintained a high level of play and grew into the match as the Caps really started more effectively using the counter attack. Was better at setting others up than taking chances himself — he had a golden chance to add another goal or two to his tally. Still, this shouldn’t distract from a well-taken goal, where he expertly held the ball up and didn’t force a shot (as is his habit sometimes).
Caio Alexandre: 6.5
Was surely disappointed not to start as he returns from injury but proved his worth coming off the bench. It isn’t an accident that the team’s most consistently dangerous stretch came in the ten minutes after he came on the pitch and he showed why he is probably the preferred option to Baldi at the moment.
Tosaint Ricketts: N/A
Only had one touch but it was a nice tackle to spring Cristian Dajome on a late break. Didn’t do much else but I’m always happy to see Tos make an appearance, even if its a late match cameo.
Ryan Raposo: N/A
MDS seemed to learn his lesson as far as bringing on too many subs late. Raposo didn’t have much of a chance to make an impact but with a three-match week, one imagines he will get more minutes in the days ahead.