The Vancouver Whitecaps played out a 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes Friday night at PayPal Park, the Caps’ fifth straight draw.
It’s been a repetitive theme for the Vancouver Whitecaps this season.
Most nights, they do enough to keep themselves in the game, or at the very least show signs of life. Rarely however, do they take their game to the opponents and impose their will on the match, the kind of performance that is required to win.
While the game did open up when Dajome and Gauld arrived on the pitch, their inclusion was a bit of a cautionary tale, at least from my perspective. It served as a reminder that Gauld alone, or any of the Whitecaps’ key players for that matter, are not going to be enough to create a successful team on their own. Basic principles like a clear attacking game-plan and off-ball movement remain major issues, and until those are fixed, it’s hard to see this Whitecaps team securing enough points to make a late playoff charge.
That being said, let’s have a look at some of the talking points from this one:
For what it’s worth, I thought Ryan Raposo had his best start as a member of the club.
Solid game tonight from Ryan Raposo, who impressed in 60 mins for #VWFC. He had:— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) August 14, 2021
4 key passes
1 big chance created
4/7 duels won
Not bad for his limited touches. Shows the quality that he has offensively #CanMNT pic.twitter.com/5igwS0dbT9
Obviously when Dajome is healthy the Canadian will lose his starting spot, but the more Raposo can be an impact contributor as a role player, this should help improve the Whitecaps’ winger depth from within. He was positive at many times in the first half when it felt like the Caps couldn’t get anything going.
Even though the match was quite dull, it was still a good defensive showing, especially from Ranko Veselinovic. In my view, Ranko has been the most improved Whitecap so far this season, and has looked much more composed, especially in the air and inside or around his own box. Passing has been an issue for all the centrebacks this year, but again, I’d refer you to the tactical challenges this team faces as the biggest cause of that, rather than individual ability.
Much like Lucas Cavallini before him, Brian White was forced to come incredibly deep to pick up passes in this match, and even so, he recorded just 25 touches in 85 minutes. This is a persistent issue, and how this hasn’t been addressed by now defies logic. That being said, I thought White was pretty composed when he did get on the ball, even though it was rarely in a dangerous spot.
As a final note, I hope that both Janio Bikel and Javain Brown’s leg injuries are less serious than they looked. Both players have been consistent contributors so far this season, and with depth at positions like fullback already perilously thin, these are not players the Whitecaps can afford to lose.
As the focus shifts to Wednesday, the Whitecaps will have the opportunity to test themselves against MLS newcomers Austin FC. If Vancouver is unable to secure all three points against the expansion side, this will only add to the uphill task facing them as they return to BC place on August 21st.
As always, let me know your thoughts on the match in the comments.