It was a bit of deja vu for the Caps on Saturday night in San Jose, as a positive first half hour was undone as the match slipped slowly away from them over the second half, with the Quakes grabbing a deserved 2-1 win.
A select few players shone, while for most it was a performance to forget. Who fell into what category? Read on for the report card grades.
Yohei Takaoka: 5.5
His footwork cost him a chance at stopping Jeremy Ebobisse’s equalizer and he will have been disappointed to have been beaten near post, though the powerful finish from Carlos Akapo would have been tough to stop. Would have liked to see him be more commanding on crosses as well. But he stepped up in a big way in stoppage time to ensure the Quakes could not grab a third.
Luis Martins: 4
Much has been made about how Martins is not a good fit for the left back position in this formation so I will avoid piling on too much but ... he really isn’t a good fit. Basically all of the Quakes major chances early in this match were from the left hand side, usually off diagonal balls that exposed Martins. Javain Brown has the speed and 1v1 defending abilities to hang in there, Martins not so much. His crossing and work going forward was disappointing as well.
Ranko Veselinovic: 5.5
Ranko rarely disappoints in the air but he will likely frustrated that Ebobisse was able to rise above him for the goal. I don’t know that you can blame him and Laborda for being unable to withstand a rising tide of San Jose chances but it was not the most buttoned up night for the CBs either.
Mathias Laborda: 5.5
Struggled in the air, good on the ground, with some nice last ditch tackles if Brown was unable to recover. Set piece defending was a real nightmare for the entire team (not just the centerbacks) and Laborda was no exception.
Javain Brown: 6
I really like Brown in this role, I just wish there was a bit more consistency there. He still has a tendency to get caught out and this puts some pressure on Laborda to compensate. I do think he genuinely offers a lot going forward and he whipped in some dangerous crosses in the first half when things were clicking. This was a marked improvement over week one.
Alessandro Schopf: 6.5
A nice finish for his first MLS goal and a smart run to set it up. Sadly, he was not quite as tidy the rest of the match. My position on Schopf is generally that he reads the game quite well and has some nice moments but doesn’t have the consistency of the other midfield pieces. There was one point in the second half where he nicely intercepted a wayward pass in the defensive third and then promptly turned it over. More consistency would be nice.
Andres Cubas: 7
Had the most touches of anyone on the pitch wearing White and it showed. Was again massive in the midfield in the first half, smart about when to come up and press and smart about when to sit back and force the Quakes to play around him. His pressure was crucial to the goal and as his influence waned, so did the Caps’.
Julian Gressel: 7.5
Pulled the strings for the entire hour he was on the pitch and swapping him for Russell Teibert was a real hit to the team’s creativity and pressure. Dropped nicely into the center of the park to pick out passes, including his assist, and even effectively dipped deeper at times to spring the fullbacks. Was man-of-the-match for me.
Ryan Gauld: 6
A quiet night from Gauld, who lacked the crispness we saw in the first week of the season. Case in point was being unable to sort his feet to convert a gilded edge chance at a second, a miss that he (and the Caps) would surely rue.
Pedro Vite: 5
Thought Vite was a better fit than Dajome and he had some really nice passes in the first half. That being said, Vite was largely unable to build on that and struggled to get involved.
Brian White: 4.5
Had moments where he dropped deeper, put himself in a good position and then either made a bad decision of couldn’t pick out a pass. Did have some nice moments of ball movement but he remains an anachronism given how this team otherwise likes to play. Was wisely substituted off early in the second half for Cordova.
Sergio Cordova: 6
It has been a difficult task getting a read on Cordova, as his arrival has coincided with a fallow attacking period in both matches (something I don’t ascribe to him). A start is needed to see what he truly can offer but I liked some of the glimpses he showed, though there were some chances where I would have liked to see him make better decisions.
Cristian Dajome: 5
Showed some nice moments of pace in space but didn’t really get any clear cut chances to make an impact.
Russell Teibert: 5
Ironically, it was Teibert who came closest to grabbing an equalizer, when Daniel pushed his one time effort wide of the post. Wasn’t a liability but didn’t offer much and I wasn’t a fan of bringing off the Caps’ most impactful player to one who was largely uninvolved offensively.
Sebastian Berhalter: 5.5
Actually saw a bit of the ball for his 15 minute cameo and moved the ball well enough. He seems a prime candidate to start in the midweek Champions League match.
Vanni Sartini: 4
I always forget to rate the manager but wanted to sneak in an update. I think Vanni’s starting XI is entirely defensible (Brian White is probably the fitter of the two striker options) — but he really left Luis Martins out to dry in this one. Simply put, Martins doesn’t fit the role that Vanni’s system is asking of the fullbacks and once San Jose realized they could effectively bypass the midfield, Vanni didn’t have a cogent response.
His subs were adequate (Teibert is even defensible, even though it didn’t thrill me that he got the call over Seb Berhalter) but there was once again no effective tactical change once it became clear the Caps had lost control of the match.