This is perhaps the most anti-climactic report card in recent memory, as a largely rotated Caps side marched onto the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, despite a 3-2 loss to Real Espana in San Pedro Sula. A host of guys got full debuts and other youngsters popped up over the course of the match. What takeaways are there from this? Probably not many, but here are the grades anyway.
Thomas Hasal: 7.5
Aside from the direct free kick conceded and a couple questionable reads of crosses, this was a very good match for Hasal. Coming up with a couple of big stops to ensure the Caps didn’t have any sort of collapse, this could hopefully be a confidence builder for the young backup;
Ryan Raposo: 5.5
Not as effective as he was in the first leg, though this was perhaps in part due to the rotated personnel on the field.
Tristan Blackmon: 6.5
Was the steadier of the centerback pairing and was less of a liability in the air. No real complaints about Blackmon’s play, though he picked up a silly yellow card before being subbed off.
Karifa Yao: 4
A rough outing for Yao, who doesn’t yet seem quite ready for the rigors of MLS/CCL play. Got cooked a couple of times and also didn’t seem to have the presence of mind and spatial awareness in defending aerial balls and making clearances. Was decent on the ball but going 3/7 on aerial duels when you’re 6’2 is a bit concerning.
Mathias Laborda: 5
Seemed to find himself a bit out of position at times, and still looks like he is still not fully used to playing right back in this squad and divvying up defensive duties. Wasn’t great in the air, though he will have to take a ticket and get in line in that respect.
Ali Ahmed: 4.5
Ahmed had some nice interplay with Dajome and Vite but gave the ball away a couple too many times. While his effort defensively was sound, he got beat a fair amount (losing two-thirds of his duels) and was perhaps still trying to find his feet in his CCL debut. I would rather see him get game time in his natural position.
Sebastian Berhalter: 6.5
The best of the midfield three and a promising performance for Berhalter, who looked good on the ball and deservedly picked up an assist late in the match, with a nice, simple long ball (though Becher finished it out of almost nothing).
J.C. Ngando: 6
I thought Ngando was the best of the debutants, starting quite brightly for the first half and then fading a bit as the match wore on. Has some work to do defensively but was better at moving the ball into the final third and seemed to gel with Javain Brown on the interchange that eventually led to Brian White’s goal.
Pedro Vite: 6.5
I thought Vite was pretty good and probably should have had a goal for his efforts — he put himself in some dangerous spots but couldn’t quite get anything out of them. He also effectively helped track back to help Ali Ahmed defensively (he actually had as many recoveries as Ahmed did).
Cristian Dajome: 5.5
An average match for Dajome, who had some moments where he was fleet of foot and looked quite dangerous and others where he was wasteful. I think he pairs up OK with Cordova but would rather see Pedro Vite (and eventually Deiber Caicedo) out there.
Sergio Cordova: 6
Cordova looked quite dangerous in transition and he was able to carve out some space in a wide open first half. He faded a bit as the match went on and I think his confidence will boost when he inevitably gets off the mark with his first goal.
Javain Brown: 7
Worked hard to win the ball back defensively and was rewarded with an assist on Brian White’s curling finish. Was a steadier hand defensively and was able to help progress the ball more effectively than Raposo was, not hesitating to take on defenders. Hopefully an appearance that will help give him a bit of momentum in league play.
Brian White: 7
A brilliant finish to nab a goal again nab a goal as a substitute and while his lovely curl will be what stands out, I also thought White did the little things well and overall looks more comfortable and confident than he did last year. It should be noted that he got roasted pretty good by his man on the 3rd Real Espana goal but, hey, he is a striker after all.
Vasco Fry: N/A
A first team debut for Fry saw him make exactly one touch, though it was a decent enough long ball forward.
Simon Becher: 7
Becher didn’t have a ton of involvement beyond the obvious: A really nice individual effort off a nice — but largely innocuous — Berhalter long ball. His turn and shimmy past an Espana defender was brilliant and had a finish to match. The quality of the goal makes a nice argument for his continued use in the Tos Ricketts memorial super sub role.
Matteo Campagna: N/A
A nice moment for Campagna to come on for his debut as the human victory cigar late in the match.