Report Card: Dusted

The Vancouver Whitecaps gave CF Montreal a damned good thrashing in one of the most enjoyable ‘Caps games to watch in years (at least from our perspective). Let’s look at how the individual players got on. 

Yohei Takaoka: 8 (Sure, why not?)

Takaoka did not face a single shot on target the entire match. But he did everything else competently. 

Javain Brown: 8.0

Vancouver’s narrow formation naturally sucks everything into the middle of the park. This often opens up a ton of space on the wings. There have been a lot of times this season where the ball has been played into acres of space to one of Brown or Mathias Laborda, both of whom often play as centre-backs and look less than comfortable in the final 3rd. But with three key passes and an assist, Brown was able to provide to attacking threat from the right flank that the team has really lacked this year. Defensively he was at his best, doing well to win the ball high up the field.

Ranko Veselinovic: 7.0

According to the MLS website Ranko Veselinovic had to contest four duels in this game. Four! He did a pretty good job of marshaling things at the back and making sure Montreal didn’t get any funny ideas like trying to get a shot on goal.

Tristan Blackmon: 7.0

Blackmon also only had to contest four duels in this game before being withdrawn, presumably to make sure he was fresh for the mid-week game against LAFC. He never looked particularly troubled.

Luis Martins: 7.0

Martins had a steady performance after getting set on fire in his previous outings. He didn’t really have to do any of the things he is bad at (covering ground, 1v1 defending) and was free to focus on the things he is back (passing, final 3rd contribution)

Andres Cubas: 7.5

Cubas was also withdrawn early with an eye on the midweek game. He was his usual defensively dominant self.

Julian Gressel: 8.5

3 key passes, 2 shots, and 1 goal in 54 minutes of action. Mission accomplished for Gressel who was taken off early.

Ali Ahmed 9.5

8 tackles, 4 shot contributions, and a first MLS goal, all while fasting for Ramadan. Ahmed was simply incredible. He did start to flag a bit toward the end of the game but that was understandable due to the aforementioned fasting. He moved to right-back later in the match and that is something I would like to see tried out for longer and against stronger opposition at some point. Ahmed’s dynamism in the final 3rd could go a long way to solving the problem of not making the most of the open space on the wing that I mentioned earlier. 

Brian White: 8.5

White finally broke the witch’s curse and turned some xG into an actual goal. He continues to play exceptionally well and I am very confident the goals will start flowing from here. His hold-up play and passing were particularly strong in this one, things that had been weaknesses for him earlier in his career. We’ll see how long that lasts but he has been effective. 

Pedro Vite: 8.0

You could tell he desperately wanted to get in on the scoring. He didn’t quite manage that but I thought he turned in another strong performance. He had 5 shot contributions and showed his usual impressive range of passing. 

Simon Becher: 9.5

I can’t quite believe my eyes but Simon Becher looked absolutely incredible in this one. He became the fastest player in league history to reach four goals, scoring two in this one. I have to be honest, I never would have guessed this in a million years. But the question on everyone’s mind is: Is this a fluke?

Well, obviously to a certain extent, it is. He isn’t going to score a goal every 35 minutes forever. But he still looks insanely good. Two things you might expect if a striker’s purple patch was a total fluke would be lots of long shots or shots from bad angles going in or scoring an insanely high percentage of their shots. Now, Becher has converted over 50% of his shots in MLS play and that simply isn’t going to last. but the really impressive part about all of this is that Becher is getting a lot of shots. He’s averaging a shot every 20 minutes in MLS play so far and those shots are almost all high quality with an xG/shot of 0.23. It’s a small sample size and it should be noted that Becher has mostly played weak opposition so far. So I’m not a true believer quite yet. But I am very excited to see where this goes. 


Mathias Laborda came on, lost the ball a few times, and lost a header inside the box. So that’s less than ideal but I’m not going to dwell on it too long after a game like that. Russell Teibert and Sebastian Berhalter came on and basically did what was required of them. J.C Ngando and Deiber Caicedo came on late and showed a few flashes. I think you can tell both players are playing catchup fitness wise but you can see the wheels turning. 

(Image Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps FC)


13 thoughts on “Report Card: Dusted

  1. It doesnt save it for me and I tried several browsers. Also, it seems posts dont show for quite some time. Perhaps you have to approve them? Anyways, I gave it a go, hopefully you can get the save feature working in the future or allow us to create accounts. Good luck.

  2. the ONLY change for next Saturday’s game vs Portland would be ryan gauld coming on, probably for Vite– anything else- outside of an injury- would be Vanni trying to be too cleaver- he wouldnt change the dynamic players from last night … would he ??

  3. Your forum software needs to allow to create user accounts. Having to fill in email and name boxes with every post is rather, how can i say, under developed.

    1. Hi Dave, you should be able to check the box to save your info in browser, or alternatively, you can connect a WordPress or social account. Hopefully that works! We’ll keep looking at ways to improve the comments.

  4. It is a bit of a chuckle to see the Caps tying Ahmed and Becher to the FC2 program as a measure of success. When you get two players over 20 years old who play a season with your development squad that doesn’t mean you are developing successful youth players. In over a decade they have developed zero MLS starters other than Teibert (who came to the organization at 17). I know people will say Davies but he was MLS ready the moment he arrived here and Edmonton was the place he truly developed.

    1. Before I get called for it,by “zero starters” i mean by that level of player. Obviously many have started matches but to be long term consistent MLS starters the Caps have failed on that.

  5. MTL are atrocious and were down to 10 men. This was a fun performance but let’s try it out against better competition. I hope Vanni doesn’t overthink this and try something different next week. He needs to give this exact lineup a go against real competition.

    Also, is Kamal Miller turning into Iron Mike Sharpe? His wrap around his wrist seems to have become permanent. (hope some of you get the 1980s wrestling reference)

  6. I am happy and excited for bechers future but I hope he doesn’t try to play too cute or fancy as, as his stature grows, he is going to be on the end of some tough tackles. keep up the creative play but protect yourself as well. we need you on the pitch

  7. Couple of thoughts:

    1. Why would anyone want to put Ahmed at RB when we already have Brown there, who is playing really well. Don’t get the logic???

    2. Why would anyone want take Blackmon out of CB when he’s playing there at All Star level. Don’t get the logic???

    If you want a certain player in the lineup, then fine. But don’t take a clear best 11 player out just to make room. Don’t get the logic!!!

    The ratings are too high. Should be a whole bunch of 7’s and a few 8’s. If there was a rating for the overall team then it would be an 8. The Caps played really well, everyone contributing, despite it being Montreal and a man down

  8. regarding Ali Ahmed, my son and i went to a Whitecaps 2 game last year- after about 30 minutes, i said that Ali was the only player i saw with potential — GOT IT RIGHT– – somehow i didnt spot becher, but his progress in 1 year has been amazing

    2 quality young developing players moving to the first team is unheard of for this Club — congrats to the Youth coaching staff

  9. Becher might turn out to be a flash in the pan but he has had to overcome the usual bias here that American NCAA draft.picks have limited upside (in the last year’s end of season review of WFC2, you had Ongaro as “first team ready” while Antoniuk and Lee were “exciting propects” and all three are now gone, while Becher was in the “show mevsomething” category: I guess he has.

  10. well, i have NEVER seen you report such high numbers, but i really cant disagree with any of them- you needed to give Vanni 8.5 for his starting line-up, especially putting Ahmed in MF – Ali was dynamic and creative and set the tone- alongwith Gressel- for the opening half- Vanni would be smart to go with Ahmed again; i mean, why change the lineup in the next MLS game??

    but i do have a few comments:

    1. our Goalie, Takaoda, is solid- good distributer of the ball, quick reflexes, confident, courageous and organizes the defence- BUT- you knew this was coming– his skill with cross balls is a concern and teams try to exploit this- if he doesnt get better, it will hinder his option to play at a higher level

    2. Ali Ahmed, was dominant in MF and IMO, offers a lot more in this position– sacrificing him to RB seems like a negative move at this point- you gotta go with whats HOT and Ali was hot last night – pouring water on that would seem to be foolish

    3. PSST- while he wont continue with his scoring rate, Becher is the real deal- seen enough of his movement, tricky feet, quick shots and huge ambition to score makes him the find of the season– and it did, and will rub off on White and the MF who see they actually have a striker who can score from seemingly nothing- his 2 goals last night were sublime with how he twisted his body to direct the ball and score- that has come from lots and lots of practice and some good coaching

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