LAFC coming to the Caps’ fortress as the best team in the league and walking away without any points? A script that should be getting old at this point — but isn’t.
A dominant second half against the best second-half team in the league helped grab another home win for Vancouver, powered by a long-range Andres Cubas finish and some transformational play from a player who to date has not been able to make his mark.
Matches like this make report card duties so, so much easier.
Cody Cropper: 7
Didn’t have to do much but his hands were safe on a couple of potentially tricky LAFC crosses. A fine performance from Cropper.
Javain Brown: 6.5
Everyone struggled building out of the back and Brown was no exception, with a few moments where he put teammates or himself under pressure. His defensive fortitude, however, remains and his 1v1 defending was purring, per usual.
Ranko Veselinovic: 7.5
Steady as the stopper and a physical presence on set pieces. Was rock solid and had a couple tackles that were really vital in shutting down LAFC. Batted 100% on accurate longballs as well, something that was not true of the rest of the backline. The best piece of the backline and a contender for non-Cubas MOTM honors.
Tristan Blackmon: 6.5
Had one moment early in the match where he had a badly misplayed pass and you wondered if he was still rusty. But he turned things around and was a nice outlet both in creating attacking moves and relieving pressure. Liked his presence on set pieces as well.
Marcus Godinho: 7
Was asked to take a bit more conservative of a tact tonight and responded with some solid defensive moments. He had his moments on the ball to be sure, including some smooth dribbling through the LAFC defense. Really grew into this match and his good run of form continued.
Russell Teibert: 5
Good for about one or two brilliant passes or cross a night and not a ton else. Skied his one real attacking opportunity at note, though the turf did him no favors on that one. An anonymous match doesn’t matter as much with Cubas around as it did but Vite’s good form will have Sartini rethinking things, surely?
Andres Cubas: 9
Even against his most formidable opposition yet, Cubas was top quality. His ball recovery and finish on the goal was absolutely world class and sums up a start to his Vancouver career that has surpassed all reasonable expectations. Even before that, he was a real nag and while his pressures were not as obvious as in prior matches, he would often force LAFC to play a backpass or reroute just enough to take the sting out of an attack. I think we can start referring to him as the second coming of Matias Laba.
Ryan Raposo: 7
The Caps really, really like playing through Raposo. Raposo crosses, Raposo playing a one-two with Gauld to try and spring him down the endline — everything. Sometimes you wish they would just play directly down the middle, like LAFC did for much of the game, because I think Raposo functions better when the Caps are less predictable in their build up.
Overall, however, I thought Raposo did pretty well — defensively I was surprised to see he was more engaged than I processed while watching. Just think he’s being asked to do a lot at the moment.
Brian White: 6.5
No matter what the Caps try, getting White involved in the game has proven to be a challenge this season when playing alongside Cavallini. Should have worked a goal anyway but was denied by the goalpost, even as he beat Maxime Crepeau. Managed to help finesse some chances with a pair of key passes and improved when he was the lone out-and-out striker on the pitch.
Ryan Gauld: 5.5
The tweaked formation didn’t seem to get the best out of Gauld, who seemed torn between playing in his normal position, splaying out wide and playing up more as a shadow striker. Seemed to have more sloppy touches and awkward tackles as he tracked back on defensive duties than usual.
Lucas Cavallini: 5.5
Given the quality of the LAFC backline, Cava was going to need to be a physical menace and he obliged. His hold-up play was excellent but he tried to take on too much and this extended to his physical aggression. He earned a soft yellow card and then was lucky not to be sent off after what should have been a second yellow. A tantalizing match from Cava but tough to give a high rating when you’re not on the pitch much.
Cristian Dajome: 7
Another match where Dajome was called on earlier than expected and also got shuffled around position-wise. Added some energy, though he wasn’t quite as crisp as Vite. Still was a needed bit of composure and helped shift the match in the Caps’ favor.
Pedro Vite: 8.5
Was an instant spark the moment he came on and turned the match on its head. He kept up his hot start and his strong performance raises the instant question: Why aren’t we seeing more of him? His ability to execute and make things happen have been sorely missed and his touches were so crisp for a guy who hasn’t played in two months. Excellent stuff and hopefully gets him into Vanni Sartini’s good graces.
Florian Jungwirth: N/A
All came on in the last 10 minutes and didn’t have a ton of impact on the match, though Ricketts’ ability to hold up play and take on defenders was welcome to help see out the match.