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Report Card: Lucas Cavallini and the Cardiac Kids

A couple of call-ups and El Tanque helped push Vancouver over the line in a critical home fixture.

Houston Dynamo FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Friday night at BC Place, the Vancouver Whitecaps emerged victorious over the Houston Dynamo with a late-game charge that saw them score twice from the 88th minute onward, winning by a score of 2-1.

This is a bit of a tricky one to evaluate for Vancouver. Obviously, you have to be happy with the final result and keeping your playoff hopes well and truly intact. Equally though, the Whitecaps will be frustrated by conceding another unforced early goal, as well as providing Houston with multiple opportunities where they could have doubled the advantage. It felt like a team more consistent than Houston would have buried the Whitecaps for their mistakes well before the late stages and therefore the comeback may never have been on the table. Lucky for the Whitecaps, it was.

All that being said, there were still some decent performances in this match, so let’s dive into it:

Cody Cropper: The American vet made three saves, all of which were inside the box and each was crucial to ensuring the Whitecaps stayed alive after going down early. Strong showing. 7.5

Houston Dynamo FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Javain Brown: A match of highs and lows for Javain. Did a good job 1v1 with Picault but also had some sketchy moments. It was good to see him looking for the early crosses even though they didn’t pan out in this one. 6.0

Ranko Veselinovic: An underrated assist from Ranko on the game-winner and his passing was sharp as always. Some serious miscommunication on the Houston goal but that’s on the whole defensive unit. 6.5

Tristan Blackmon: Another good showing from Blackmon although his passing was probably the weakest of the three at the back, going just 1 for 7 on long balls. 6.0

Leonard Owusu: It was nice to see Owusu look noticeable out there. His passing was solid and the effort level was there, even if he was out-muscled a few times defensively. Ultimately though, it still doesn't look like he has enough to truly be impactful in MLS. 6.0

Russell Teibert: He had two key passes and was sharp with his long balls. Overall both he and Owusu were a bit outmatched physically in the 50/50’s and that’s where this team really missed Cubas. 6.0

Julian Gressel: This was the first match where Gressel felt like the impact player we all know he can be. He and Vite had a lot of good combinations in the first half and I think there’s a lot of potential there with Cava and/or White starting up front. 7.5

Houston Dynamo FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Ryan Raposo: Another good showing from the young Canadian. His shot attempts left something to be desired but his crossing was solid as per usual. 6.5

Pedro Vite: The youngster started the match like he was shot out of a cannon and played really well for the first 25 minutes or so. While he struggled to keep up that pace, it was nice to see him find some confidence again. 7.0

Ryan Gauld: A quiet match for Gauld by his recent standards but still influential with three key passes and a couple shot attempts. 6.5

Tosaint Ricketts: I love Tos as a super sub but it’s clear he’s better in that role than he is as a starter. Just 21 touches in 90 minutes tells quite a story. Tos is really more suited to filling spaces vacated by another forward rather than finding those spaces on his own and it showed in this match, the midfield pivot probably didn’t help his chances either. 5.5

Lucas Cavallini: Cava’s physical presence really upped the level of stress Vancouver was able to place on Houston’s centrebacks in the closing stages. The game-winning shot was also a thing of beauty. 7.0

Michael Baldisimo: I feel like we don’t talk much about Baldi anymore. I thought this was his best showing in a while. Not only was his passing sharp but his battle for contested balls defensively was a lot better. Nice to see. 6.5

Ali Ahmed: One of Vancouver’s most consistent players at the developmental looked up to the challenge of MLS on Friday. Not to slow down the hype train too much, but he is already 21 so the development path might be somewhat limited, for some perspective, he is actually older than Sebastian Berhalter. Nonetheless, he really made a difference for Vancouver down the left and helped them get back in the match. 7.5

Simon Becher: I can’t say I imagined Becher playing for the first team this year, but he did exactly what the scouting reports were saying out of the super-draft, he simply finds a way to score goals in timely moments. Like Ahmed, I do think age is a mitigating factor here in terms of MLS potential, as he’s recently turned 23. If this is Becher’s cup of coffee with the MLS team, it was quite a way to do it. 7.0

Alright, what did you think of Vancouver’s late-game heroics on Friday night? Let me know your thoughts as always in the comments.