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Report Card: Whitecaps uprooted in Austin

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

It was another distressing performance Saturday, with the Caps dropping a third straight match, this time to Austin FC 3-0. The grades haven’t been pretty in any of those report cards but this one might be the most bleak. For all the gory details (and to see if there are any redeeming factors), read on.

Thomas Hasal: 5

Didn’t make any real errors, didn’t do much to help save the Caps’ bacon in this one. It doesn’t seem like many Max Crepeau-esque “Fine, I’ll do it myself” performances are in the tank for Hasal this season. That’s OK but it won’t help the team much until they figure everything else out.

Jake Nerwinski: 4.5

A bit of a timid performance from Jake, who was out to sea at times. The heady optimism of the tail end of last season helped conceal many truths and one of them appears to be that “Jake Nerwinski at centerback in a back three is a good idea.” Getting beaten in the air on the third Austin goal was a fitting metaphor for his night.

Ranko Veselinovic: 5.5

Was not as dominant as usual physically/ in the air and his impotence on the third Austin goal drove it home. He did well to close up some of the passing lanes early but Austin changed course, both tactically and/or taking advantage of Whitecaps mistakes.

Tristan Blackmon: 5.5

Continuing the form he has shown all season long, I thought Blackmon was the most alert and adept of the three centerbacks. Still had his fair share of questionable moments, though a couple of times he appeared to look out of position but was instead scampering to cover ground after a mistake elsewhere.

Ryan Raposo: 7

Raposo was at times the most dangerous threat going forward, even playing out-of-position in a wingback role. I was initially quite skeptical of this idea when I saw the starting lineup but it turns out this decision was the least of the Caps’ problems. Had the presence of mind to create the Caps’ most probing chance of the first half, was defensively tidy and still was harshly yanked to make way for Ali Ahmed’s debut.

Michael Baldisimo: 4.5

Was set up for a difficult assignment with the formation, which asked Baldi to do a lot of defensive work — never his strong suit. He was dominated a bit physically and gave away more fouls (2) than tackles or duels won. Hasn’t made much of an impression this season but this one feels more like a tactical failure than an abject failure on Baldisimo’s part.

Russell Teibert: 4.5

Continues to look lost at both ends of the pitch and did his midfielder partner no favors in backing Baldisimo up defensively. There is little new to write about Teibert at this point but barring some dramatic change in formation, his useful life in Vanni Sartini’s system has largely run its course.

Marcus Godinho: 3

It was a fairly catastrophic error that set up the first Austin goal, with Godinho folding under pressure and playing an inexplicable back pass that Sebastian Driussi latched onto. Even before the goal, the right wingback was out of sorts in his first start of the season, with Diego Fagundez finding ample space to work. His passing accuracy was also the worst among any of the Caps players, showing the misplaced ball early on was part of an unfortunate pattern.

Pedro Vite: 4

Vite wasn’t given a whole lot to work with but was still sloppy and ineffective in the Ryan Gauld role. Had a couple really frustrating turnovers (including one right off a set piece) and never created any promising chances himself. Vite certainly can still be a real asset for Vancouver but playing him in the lone attacking midfielder role might not be his most effective deployment.

Brian White: 4.5

A tough day at the office for White, who has not been able to re-capture his inspired form from last year. A couple chances (a header just a couple minutes in comes to mind) were ones where 2021 White might have done a bit better, especially in contrast to Austin FC’s clinical night.

Lucas Cavallini: 6.5

Pretty good hold-up play from Cava, who was the Caps’ most reliable offensive player (though this might fall into the damning with faint praise category). His not-so-hidden love of taking defenders on paid off at times, including helping to create a gilded chance to start the second half.

Javain Brown: 6

Wasn’t spectacular but was a needed bit of stability in the second half at the position. A match without a major error hopefully can be a stepping stone for Brown to regain his form.

Sebastian Berhalter: 7

Was much more active defensively than Baldisimo and racked up 5 tackles or clearances in only a half of work. Added in a couple of key passes to boot and it was a very solid 45 minutes for Berhalter. A bit more consistency would have been nice he has been one of the few silver linings of the Caps’ season to date.

Cristian Dajome: 4.5

Did well to create a chance very early on in the second half ... until the finish, which absolutely needed to find the back of the net. Had some needlessly misplaced passes as well, though this really only made him like the rest of the team.

Ali Ahmed: 6

Difficult circumstances under which to make a debut and his defensive positioning and general impact on the match did not match that of Raposo. But Ahmed showed lots of dynamism and confidence on the ball and had no noticeable errors, even though he didn’t see a ton of the ball. Ahmed getting minutes was perhaps the only positive to take away from Saturday night.

Tosaint Ricketts: N/A

Made a cameo after Lucas Cavallini dodged discipline for a wayward elbow late in the second half. Only touched the ball a half-dozen times.