With the world focusing on the transfer saga concerning the Argentian Gauld, the real Ryan Gauld joined his teammates as they travelled to Los Angeles to take on the MLS’ flagship team. He didn’t find himself the starting lineup, which was expected due to him having recently joined the team, but he did manage to come in off the bench. What was unexpected was losing two of the Whitecaps’ best attacking threats in top scorer Dajome and star left back Gutierrez. Without those two players, concerns about who would be providing service to Cavallini arose. Luckily the Whitecaps coped, and didn’t even need to utilize the striker as they earned a point in a hard fought draw away from home.
- First halves are not the Whitecaps’ best friends. The first half of play was mind-numbingly slow, with the Whitecaps looking unable to create any meaningful chances in attack while the Galaxy continued to attack their six yard box. The goal conceded in the first half looked to be due to lazy positioning allowing LA’s dynamic players to take advantage of a team that looked flat footed. The changes made in the second half completely changed this, so credit to MDS is warranted. But that’s not to forget that the first half plague is something that needs to be addressed if the Whitecaps want to reach second gear.
- Spare a thought for Bruno Gaspar. The exciting right back looked poised to push Nerwinski to a substitute role, but so far, it doesn’t look to be that way. Keep in mind this is a player coming from Sporting Lisbon, who are current Portuguese league champions, so it’s not like he was coming from an unknown or unproven place. His ability to also fill in on the opposite flank would be a big asset as well, since the ‘Caps only have one left back on the roster. Seeing Nerwinski start above him in multiple occasions- and especially in this emergency left back situation- just makes one wonder what went wrong, as Nerwinski is quite low on the creativity ladder.
- The two returning players from national duty had different outcomes this game. Crepeau came back looking to not miss a beat from his international performances. Whenever tested directly he was up for the challenge, providing multiple saves that kept the Whitecaps in the game. Max has taken the confidence that the Gold Cup gave him and transformed it into another solid performance. Cavallini, unfortunately was also not as effective. The DP striker never looked to be in the right position to provide a threat, with his highlights of the match being an injury followed by a bicycle kick that went just wide. The arrival of Gauld will put pressure on the number nine, since he is now getting the service that he desperately needed so questions will begin to arise if he is not performing up to expectations.
- This was something mentioned before, but some more emphasis needs to be put on the strength of the substitutions this game. Seemingly a weakness for the Whitecaps this season, if there was to be a rating assigned to the inspiration that the substitutions brought to the team, it’d be hard to argue against some 8.0+. Probably the most impactful substitutions seen this season, even though some of the like for like changes looked questionable at best in some points.
- This game marked the debut of Ryan Gauld, and if that 15 minute cameo is anything to go off of, then the city of Vancouver is in for a treat. Gauld looked all of the European caliber player when he touched the ball, and his passing and decision making were refreshing to see after a long time with only sub-MLS standard performances from others in the attacking midfielder role. Hopefully this was only a preview of what he can potentially bring to the team, and the Whitecaps can continue to improve alongside the 25 year old Scotsman.
Well, there he is- our long awaited and fabled no. 10 that was eluding us for so long. Slowly, the roster looks to be coming together into a promising final product, with top performers shining and deadwood being exposed to scrutiny. In my opinion, I find Dajome, Gutierrez, Caicedo, Bikel, Cavallini, Alexndre, and Crepeau to be at the level of good, if not even great or amazing MLS players, and indispensable from the lineup. That’s seven players, and with the addition of Gauld, that would make it eight, which is more than enough to put out a good lineup and chase playoffs. The defenders I would choose to complete the lineup would be Veselinovic, Godoy, and Brown, who I think are, at worst, average MLS players and could push for more with a decent argument.
It’s the most confident I’ve felt in a Whitecaps XI in a long time, yet I’m afraid we won’t see them reach their highest potential unless there is a coaching change in order. Nothing against what MDS has done, but I believe his philosophy doesn’t match the identity that this team is shaping up to have. There are still a lot of games to play, so my assessment of the players/coach could be completely off base, but only time will tell if this is a turning point for Vancouver or if it is just a false dawn.
Do you think the Whitecaps roster is as solid as I claim? Am I being too hard on MDS? Is there a key to the Whitecaps’ success that they have been overlooking? I’d like to hear your opinion on the team after tonight’s performance so feel free to sound off in the comments below.