At long last! The Vancouver Whitecaps have slayed the dragon that was beating a CPL team with a business-like 2-0 victory over Valour FC at BC Place on Wednesday night. With the win, Vancouver finds themselves off to the next round of the Canadian Championship against Cavalry FC.
Valour kicked things off with a strong opening phase of the match, but after the Whitecaps scored two goals in the span off three minutes, it always looked as though the Manitoba-based side didn’t have the firepower to get back in the game, recording just two shots on target.
It was a crucial victory not only for Vancouver’s reputation in the competition, but also in the fact that they were able to get through to the next round with some good squad rotation as the Whitecaps have two more home matches coming their way in quick succession.
Ok, let’s dive into the grades.
Cody Cropper (6.5): A clean sheet is always nice in your first start. He did have to stretch a bit on the Rea shot, but other than that moment Valour did very little to threaten Cropper.
Marcus Godinho (6.5): I always appreciate Godinho’s skill on the ball, but his lack of defensive awareness and strength in 50/50’s is a clear indicator of why you don’t want him starting an MLS game.
Flo Jungwirth (6.5): The German’s passing was flawless in this one and I guess that can be expected when you are rarely under pressure. Overall, Flo looks to be stabilizing himself after a tough start to the year.
Ranko Veselinovic (7.0): If you had less injuries you’d probably have liked Ranko to sit this one out. Nonetheless, Ranko looked good in the 1v1’s (as always) although his passing, especially on long balls, was a little bit lacking, as he completed just three of eight.
Jake Nerwinski (6.5): Jake looks more comfortable back at his natural position in a back four, although he can still get put on skates in transition, as evidenced by the Akio chance inside the opening ten minutes. That being said, he was strong in the air and his buildup play was decent.
Ryan Gauld (7.5): Things looked pretty easy for the Scotsman in this one as he had four key passes and a good chance of his own. The only knock on him from me would be that his shot in the 70th minute left a bit to be desired and really could have taken any possible doubt out of the contest.
Russell Teibert (7.0): What can I say, Russell Teibert makes a great CPL player. He was johnny-on-the-spot to pick up the rebound opportunity for the opening goal and overall looked sharp on the ball, even though he still loses way too many defensive battles in the midfield.
Michael Baldisimo (6.5): Baldi was quality in the first 35 minutes of this one and it’s a shame he didn’t get a more extended run. That being said, it sounds like it was a tough week for him and his family so credit for what he was able to show in his time on the pitch.
Ryan Raposo (8.5): Raposo’s run of form continued for the Whitecaps and perhaps the biggest compliment I can give him is that his goal is actually pretty far down the list of standout moments for him in this one. I love the way Raposo makes a pass and then immediately looks to make himself an option for a follow up ball. It created the first goal as well as a number of good chances.
Lucas Cavallini (7.5): Yellow card memes aside, Cava has been in really good form so far this year and has been a common denominator for a good number of Vancouver’s goals. Against Valour he did look a bit like a Senior playing against the JV side, but I'll add that I thought his holdup play and crossing were standout.
Deiber Caicedo (7.5): I’m a bit surprised Vanni has stayed away from the two striker approach and has started Deiber so much recently, but his patience with the youngster was rewarded in this one. With a bit more room to operate than he normally enjoys in MLS, Caicedo was very lively and really stressed the Valour back line with his pace.
What did you make of the match, and how are you feeling about this team after two straight wins over Canadian competition? Let me know in the comments.