Yohei Takaoka: 9
This is exactly the sort of game that sub-par goalkeeping would have lost for Vancouver last season. Takaoka did not have to make any extremely difficult saves but he was competent and confident throughout.
Javain Brown: 8
Brown had another strong performance at right-back. He was active defensively and, crucially, showed a certain level of danger going forward. Not necessarily a huge amount of danger, mind you, but Vancouver’s system opens up a lot of space on the right wing and you need someone there who can take advantage of that.
Ranko Veselinovic: 7
He was under a lot of pressure in this match and mostly handled it well. But there were a few less-than-convincing clearances.
Tristan Blackmon: 8
I felt Blackmon had a similar game to Veselinovic but was a little more solid in the air.
Luis Martins: 5.5
I recall at least two high danger chances against that were a result of Martins. He failed to win a header off of a long throw in the first half and gave the ball away in the build-up to Fagundez’s chance in the second half. He did make a lot of tackles and whatnot but I don’t think that’s enough to warrant that high a grade.
Andres Cubas: 7.5
Cubas was back from injury doing what he usually does. He was very active in the middle of the field. He also chipped in with a couple of key passes and a dangerous long-range shot.
Julian Gressel: 7
Gressel was also doing typical Gressel stuff. He took about a million shots and set up a couple of chances as well.
Ali Ahmed: 8
Ahmed provided a lot of energy in the middle of the park. He was effective defensively and good at using his dribbling to get out of tight situations.
Brian White: 5.5
White once again failed to convert a big chance. But that’s not so concerning to me as the fact that it was his only big chance of the game. If White isn’t active in the box, he’s not doing much for you.
Ryan Gauld: 5
A distressingly quiet evening for Vancouver’s star man. He did generate a few shots but nothing high-danger. He missed a golden opportunity to slip Simon Becher in behind in the first half.
Simon Becher: 6
I thought he suffered from the front three being quite poor overall, though his first touch did him no favours. He did have a good chance that he failed to convert, but I do kind of like having a striker who can provide some danger with his speed in behind defences.
Pedro Vite struggled to make anything happen, he was not helped by Vancouver going into a bit of a shell for the last 15 minutes or so. Vanni Sartini defended subbing Dájome on for Gauld by saying he wanted to utilize his speed to exploit the frantic and scrappy nature of the game. I can sort of see how this might have worked. Dájome managed a long-range shot after a nice run through the middle of the park and had another potential chance but the ball died at his feet. So his speed was reasonably effective at leading to chances but he did not have the quality to make the most of those chances. This year Dájome has been walking a fine line between “overpaid for what he brings” and “unplayable.” That’s not a line you want to be walking.
(Image Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps)