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Report Card: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Austin FC

Whitecaps Chop Down Austin

MLS: Austin FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

With the high of last week’s victory wearing off, it was another test this week on whether the Whitecaps could in fact continue to play the game they demonstrated in the game against RSL. Hopes were high after a resounding victory, but the first half of the game left a lot to be desired. The Whitecaps looked uncreative and never showed any real threat towards the opposition net so a look at the drawing board during half was necessary. Whatever was discussed in there must have done the trick, as the Whitecaps came back into the game a renewed team and managed to get a comeback victory against the newest MLS side. How did the individual players do? Let’s take a look:

Thomas Hasal: 6.0

Thomas Hasal played a solid game today, not outstanding but not anything terrible. At this point his talents are well known. He let a goal in the first half but wasn’t really tested other than that, so it wasn’t looking too great. In the second half, he received a lot more tests, which he was able to handle confidently.

Bruno Gaspar: 4.0

If Bruno Gaspar’s performance last week was disappointing, this weeks was telling of a much deeper problem. Deployed once again on the left flank, Gaspar looked out of place and out of sync with the rest of the team. He put himself in interesting positions but lacked the confidence to do anything worthwhile with his possession, and so his lack of faith in himself was replicated by his team. The nail in the coffin for his performance was in the play that led to the goal, as it looked as if him and Bikel switched spots and the ensuing marking confusion resulted in Austin taking an early lead.

Erik Godoy: 7.0

Erik Godoy put in an impressive shift at centre back and got a goal to boot. The Whitecaps’ defensive solidity stretched across the field, even with Austin pressing hard in the first half. In times where it looked like the defense would crumble, Godoy and his centre back pairing made sure nothing came of it. Once the team began to play well in the second, it was game over at that point, as the Godoy formed part of a back line that became impenetrable.

Florian Jungwirth: 7.0

Jungwirth followed his last game right from where he left off, proving to be one of the ‘Caps most underrated signings this season. He is a defensive rock and if these two past matches are any indication, he should be in consideration to be a permanent starter on the back line. It’s hard to describe exactly what he excels at, since it seems that it is a little bit of everything, but his presence and vocal attitude have made a positive impact on all of the players on the field.

Janio Bikel: 6.0

In the first half, Bikel was on the path to have a less than stellar performance on the right flank. While he put himself in good positions and made positive runs, his lack of agility as compared to a regular wing-back caused him to be easily covered by double teams. Not to mention his absence in the midfield left the Whitecaps completely lost at sea under the power of El Tree. When he returned to his natural position, his performance improved and so that of the team around him, leading to a completely dominant second half by the Whitecaps.

Russell Teibert: 5.5

Teibert played a decent game today, nothing really to report, since his performance was relative to that of the team. Considering the strong finish, it was better than average.

Michael Baldisimo: 5.0

Nothing bad about Baldi’s game today, but he certainly did not provide much in the way of the passes that he is known for. Baldisimo’s performances have taken a step back this year as compared to the previous season. Whether this is due to difference in tactics or the team becoming performing better overall, the special performances by the Canadian have become less and less. It looked like most passes he made were backwards instead of the creative ones seen last season, a definite step back.

Leonard Owusu: 5.5

Owusu wasn’t really able to capture the imagination as much as he recently had, and was quickly subbed off following the dour first half. He didn’t do anything wrong himself, but he wasn’t coating himself in glory either, leading to him being deemed inessential enough to be subbed off for a more effective player.

Cristian Dajome: 7.0

Dajome, much like his other attacking counterparts, had an anonymous first half followed by an explosion to life in the second. In a game where the usual star player didn’t shine too brightly,(In Ryan Gauld) Dajome took advantage and filled in all of the creativity and attacking force that was missing. What’s even more impressive was that he did this despite being repositioned to be more defensive in the second half. Dajome’s new positioning proved confusing for Austin as the left side of the field became as much of a threat as the right, and Dajome was rewarded for his strong performance with an assist.

Ryan Gauld: 6.5

Not as stellar as he’s been for the past couple of matches, somehow Gauld continues to have an impact. He was not particularly as effective in attack, which could be down to fatigue, but once the second half hit he was ready to go and playing in sync with the rest of his attacking teammates. He had multiple very good opportunities that had things just gone a little differently, would have been at the back of the net.

Brian White: 6.0

White played an uneventful game, being part of attacks but never the one who brought definition to them. He had a couple of chances squandered (Most notably his 1 on 1 against the keeper) but his pressure of the ball lead to turnovers and other attacking opportunities.

Deiber Caicedo: 7.0

Caicedo flipped the script of the ineffective sub from last game by becoming arguably the most important player in the ignition of the Whitecaps’ second half spark. He was dangerous and made a solid case on why he should be included in the starting lineup week in week out. A goal on top of this doesn’t hurt, and luckily the Whitecaps secured the victory so the sting of the yellow card from the celebration hurt just a little less.

Patrick Metcalfe: 6.0

Metcalfe came in the game to play the pseudo-defensive role thrust upon him in the previous game, and it worked wonders. A strong four person back four became a unbeatable five, and Metcalfe was also skilled enough on the ball in order to provide passes out.

Ranko Veselinovic: 6.5

A substitute defender put in to bolster the back line, Ranko did that and more this game. He matched the level of Godoy and Jungwirth while also contributing to the attack as well. (His through ball to Caicedo that almost resulted in a cheeky goal comes to mind). A strong performance from last weeks starter, Ranko is sure to bring up questions regarding the formation or who is starting between the three defenders today come next game.

Tosaint Ricketts: N/A

Tos was brought on for White and continued to pressure the Austin back line as the game died down.

Ryan Raposo: N/A

It was a Ryan for Ryan change that only lasted a couple of minutes with a few good runs towards the ball.

Final Thoughts

I was impressed at the drastic change of performance in the second half and it shows how much spirit this team has to be able to come back from a losing position while missing many players from your lineup. Not to mention, every goal scored by the Whitecaps seems to be building their confidence and through that their play. The team looks happy to be playing and happy to be succeeding after so many disappointments. As the Whitecaps’ unbeaten run in the MLS now stretches to 10 games, their biggest test is yet to come with a visit to the Portland Timbers being a proving ground for how this team will fare in hostile opposition grounds.

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