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Report Card: Whitecaps Win on Pens

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Charlotte FC Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps were able to pull out a penalty kick win in the Canadian Championship against Cavalry. Vancouver was not quite as dominant as you would have hoped but an honest assessment of the chances both teams created can only lead one to conclude that the team which deserved to go through did. So let’s look at how individual players got on.

Cody Cropper: 6.5

Cropper was beaten by a pretty unstoppable shot and then was the hero in the shootout. He had to be aware to not get beaten directly off a corner in the first half. All together a perfectly fine performance

Javain Brown: 6.5

He looked a little unsteady when he was pressed with the ball but he was fine defensively.

Ranko Veselinovic: 8.0

Veselinovic came up with a couple of big blocks and actually looked quite assured on the ball.

Erik Godoy: 7.5

Godoy looked very solid on the ball and was solid defensively. Having him back has really helped the back three be more solid.

Cristian Gutierrez: 8.0

Gutierrez was credited with 7 key passes in this game. True, a lot of those were corners but he just looks so dangerous going forward in a wing-back role. He basically guarantees at least one Lucas Cavallini header in the 6-yard box per game and eventually, one of those is going to result in a goal. Defensively he was basically fine.

Michael Baldisimo: 6.5

I thought he was fine. He remains not that suited to a box-to-box role but he did a decent job of progressing the ball. No major giveaways come to mind and I would not say he was ever particularly exposed defensively.

Russell Teibert: 6.0

Another player who was basically fine. Teibert was a little hampered by an apparent eye injury in the first half. I would not say he stood out either positively or negatively.

Ryan Raposo: 6.0

A pretty anonymous game from Raposo but he didn’t do anything particularly bad. His crossing was not on point in this game but other than that nothing particularly stands out.

Ryan Gauld: 6.5

Gauld was a bit quiet in this game, though he did manage one grade A opportunity that he wasn’t able to convert. Incidentally, in league play, Gauld has 0 non-penalty goals from 1.66 expected goals. When is this guy going to catch a break!?

Lucas Cavallini: 7.5

A menace in the air and reasonably dangerous in the build-up. Cavallini registered 6 shots in this game and was pretty unlucky not to register a goal. His penalty was also fantastically taken.

Deiber Caicedo: 8.0

Another strong outing from Caicedo. Hard to take issue with 4 shots and 4 key passes, though once again he was not rewarded with a goal. Eventually, some of those chances are going to go in.


Subs:

I thought it was a bit of a quiet outing from Sebastian Berhalter. I would have hoped that he would be a bit more influential against this level of opposition. Cristian Dájome and Tosaint Ricketts were both ok, neither really had a huge impact on the game. Godinho and Owusu brought some spark with the team down a goal but weren’t really on long enough to get a proper rating.


Overall Performance:

Now, if you’ll allow me a little moment of grandstanding, I would like to address the performance. A lot of people online are saying it’s an embarrassment that this game even made it to penalties and the Whitecaps need to take a serious look in the mirror. Now, don’t get me wrong, from talking smack to fans of other teams’ standpoint this result is a disaster. But the Whitecaps doubled Cavalry’s shots and out xG’d them roughly 1.77-0.67 according to the MLS website. Away from home and with so many players unavailable, I think that’s fine. It’s certainly not an amazing performance, and there were definitely periods of the game the Whitecaps weren’t so great, but I think it’s worthy of, like, a C+. Toronto F.C, Who were also an MLS team on the road to a CPL team, was outshot 14-7 and only won the xG battle roughly 1.6-0.97. So it could have been a lot worse from a performance perspective. It also could have been a lot better, as evidenced by Montreal smashing Forge 3-0, outshooting them 17-5, and out xG’ing them 2.88-0.22. But I believe in keeping things in perspective when criticizing the Whitecaps. Marco Carducci had a fantastic game and on another day the ‘Caps could have been up quite comfortably at halftime. It would be better if they kept their foot on the gas the whole 90 minutes and played Cavalry off the pitch but this was not like some of their previous performances where they crashed out against CPL teams. As always, it is important to remember the two key points of Vancouver’s 2022 campaign.

  1. The Whitecaps have been very unlucky.
  2. The Whitecaps are not that good.