Well that’s more like it.
It wasn’t a perfect performance from the Caps in their home debut but a 0-0 draw against the defending champions isn’t so bad. After a week in which few players impressed, things were a bit less dire this weekend. How does that translate into report card grades? Well, read on to find out.
Thomas Hasal: 8
Nice save early to deny Talles Magno, then almost immediately one upped himself by stopping a driven shot from Taty Castellanos on the resulting corner. Then he didn’t have much to do for another 75 minutes until the end of regulation, when he quickly pushed away a dangerous shot from Thiago. An excellent match and probably was the sole reason things ended 0-0
Cristian Gutierrez: 7
Putting in a really good defensive shift and showed some attacking verve, particularly in the second half. Vanni Sartini liked to have him switch sides periodically with Cristian Dajome and Guti was the more consistent one on both sides. Had some above average set piece delivery as well, which was a welcome relief after last week. Thought it was a great match from Guti and he should be starting going forward.
Tristan Blackmon: 7.5
Had a couple blown assignments in the first half but more than made up for it in the second, with several key blocks. Had 10 (10!) clearances and was largely the reason why Thomas Hasal had relatively little work to do in the second half. His passing was also excellent, leading all outfield players in successful long balls and having the most accurate passing of any defensive player.
Ranko Veselinovic: 7
Was one of the few bright spots in week one and put in another decent performance as well. Like Blackmon, he looked a bit shaky in the first 45 minutes but rebounded later. Seems to have a better rapport with Jungwirth — there were fewer stray runners not being tracked this week.
Florian Jungwirth: 7
I don’t know if Flo has a calming aura or what but the backline was much calmer with his presence in this one. Got into it a bit with a couple NYCFC players, a bit of passion that was missing last week. His five aerial duel wins led the team and were immense. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him displace Jake Nerwinski heading into next week as well.
Cristian Dajome: 6
Still really struggled to track back but made himself a real threat in the second half, even as he moved around the pitch. Thought he also put a good shift in, despite being asked to play on the left side for much of the match; indeed, I thought he was at his most dangerous on the left in the first part of the second half. Don’t know that I like the inverted wingback strategy longterm though.
Russell Teibert: 5.5
Not a great outing for Rusty. His defensive presence was welcome and helped shore up the midfield a bit compared with last week. But too many iffy touches and passes dragged down the overall body of work.
Leonard Owusu: 5.5
Owusu had one sequence where he pressed high up the pitch, won the ball back, lost it again in quick succession but then tracked back further up the pitch to force and then gather a poor NYCFC pass. It was a good metaphor for Owusu: good at winning the ball back, also good at giving it away or letting the opposition dance by him.
Ryan Gauld: 7.5
The linchpin of the Caps attack again, it was another super match for Gauld. Three key passes underscored the work the Scotsman put in and there were a couple others that were close to leading to something but his teammate wasn’t quite on the same page. Adjusted well to a fairly route one batch of soccer from the Caps.
Lucas Cavallini: 7
Had some nice moments and probably should’ve had a goal if he puts a little bit more on a header in the first half. But his lack of discipline, long an issue, has reached the point of ridiculousness. He just is simply unable to play in a pressing system because he physically can’t win the ball back without falling. Still, his hold up play and passing were quite good and this was really the first match where you thought Cava could work in a two-striker setup with current personnel.
Deiber Caicedo: 6
Taking advantage of a soft NYCFC right side, Caicedo was shifty and found himself getting in some really nice spots. Never was quite able to get the delivery into the box that was needed and didn’t quite make the runs needed to nab a goal of his own. But I think on another night he could have made a bigger imprint on the match.
Brian White: 6
A fairly anonymous return from White, not a real surprise given his injury. Only six touches and no real chances created, however, is more of an indication of the Caps taking their foot off the gas than White’s performance.
Javain Brown: 6.5
Thought it was a nice shift as a sub from Brown, particularly after a poor outing last week. Was much better defensively and had at least one nice cross that should have been put to better use.
Sebastian Berhalter: N/A
Both guys didn’t get much of a run out and neither made a real imprint. Vite in particular did not build on a good showing last week. Onwards and upwards for the two youngsters.