Report Card: Uncharacteristic Struggles in Portland

Saturday night in Portland, the Vancouver Whitecaps were bested by their Cascadia rivals by a final score of 3-1 at Providence Park. While Vancouver’s unbeaten streak in the league was bound to come to an end sooner rather than later, there were some uncharacteristic struggles in this match which really let the Whitecaps down. Overall, losing a match on the road against one of the toughest crowds in MLS is not that big of a deal, but the Whitecaps are still searching for some big road results to make up for dropped points at home early in the year.

Ok, on to the player ratings.

Yohei Takaoka (4.5) – Simply put, this was not a great match from the Whitecaps keeper. While not egregious errors, the first and third goals were opportunities for Takaoka to keep Vancouver in the match but he couldn’t make it happen on the night. I’m really surprised he played all three matches this week, especially with how busy the upcoming stretch is for this team.

Luis Martins (4.5) – The numbers on aerial and ground duels say that Martins had a good match, but the eye test tells a different story. Martins lacks aggressiveness in key moments defensively and does not do enough on the ball to justify him starting.

Ranko Veselinovic (5.5) – Overall the Serbian is a very solid defender, but every match there are moments where his positioning leaves something to be desired. He stepped forward very aggressively on the first Portland goal even when his back-line was already out of shape, and then at other moments he drops quite deep leaving acres of space for attackers.

Tristan Blackmon (6.0) – To me, Blackmon continues to be the Whitecaps’ best defender. He was a bit unlucky on the second Portland goal, but that play should have been cut out sooner.

Javain Brown (5.5) – I have to be honest, there’s not a lot that stood out from Javain in this match. It’s usually feast or famine with him, but this match was somewhere in the middle.

Andres Cubas (4.5) – A rare poor showing from the Paraguayan was a big blow that helped seal the Whitecaps fate in this match. A loose pass leads to the first Timbers goal and he was caught out with a deft spin move on Portland’s third goal. It goes to show how important Cubas’ performances are to this team’s success.

Julian Gressel (6.0) – Gressel continues to be a service machine, even when the target on the end of those crosses struggles to be in the right place at the right time.

Alessandro Schopf (5.0) – The Austrian did not look great on Saturday, and it was one of the rare days this season where the Whitecaps midfield looked a bit over matched. I think fitness continues to be a real issue for Schopf. It’s great to think about the idea of Schopf at the top of his game, but if he can’t stay healthy enough to reach that level, then that’s a problem for Vancouver.

Pedro Vite (5.0) – While Vite has some really bright moments in every match he plays, he can drift away at times where he does not get very involved in the play. This is more of a problem on the road in a hostile environment, where it’s a bit easier to get frozen out of the match. Overall, the Whitecaps need to continue to tinker in order to find the right front three.

Ryan Gauld (6.0) – The Scot is looking more and more like himself recently and I think that playing a little more advanced has made him a more dangerous player –  it’s better when he is a threat to both shoot and pass, rather than just the latter.

Sergio Cordova (4.5) – At this juncture, Cordova is well on his way to being one of the most frustrating Whitecaps players in recent memory. His dribbling and cross which led to a wide-open Pedro Vite header is not something you expect from a 6’2″ striker. At the same time though, a striker of his stature should have a much easier time getting on the end of crosses from a couple of the best play-makers in the league. It really does look like Cordova has the physical tools, but right now his feel for the game and football IQ is nowhere near where it needs to be.

Alright, those were my thoughts on the match, the Whitecaps are back in action Wednesday night in Dallas.

(Image Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

7 thoughts on “Report Card: Uncharacteristic Struggles in Portland

  1. Exactly. I rewatched the 2nd half and couldn’t help notice the way Martins defends crosses and I wasn’t impressed. He puts his hands behind his back and then jumps and spins so he’s not facing the ball. Twice the crosses got through. I’d rather see a LB getting a foot in. Unfortunately I do think Martins is the best we have right now

  2. Either Gauld or VIte has to become a goal scoring threat if they are playing together in this formation. Neither is.

  3. “The numbers on aerial and ground duels say that Martins had a good match but the eye test tells a different story.”

    He looked very poor on the second goal, pedestrian if you will, and I would like to see an upgrade out there, someone who is more soild defensively as well as naturally left footed. But I don’t think you can summarily ignore the numbers here, either. He clearly has weaknesses but he also does break up plays clearances and interceptions: not as eye popping as shutting down a dribbler 1 v 1 but still needed conributions that probably add to the positive metrics.

    I would prefer a true left footed competitior for his position brought in at the summer window. I don’t want right footed guys masquerading as LBs because their default tendency is to play infield too much and thus take away the width needed to make space inside for the attacking guys in front of them. I saw enough of that from the right footed guys LWBs last season.

  4. Cordova– you repeat the same mediocre, non-confrontative, appeasing comments- no grit, no meat, indecisive and soft… much like the media who could care less about the Franchise and protect the Owners

    we supporters need to lean on the Caps FO and even moreso the Owners- if you dont see that, then walk the mediocre treadmill year-after-year–

    the repeating of the same lines week-after-week comes from decades of support, going back to 1974- its been such a dismal run since coming into MLS- i go for TRADITION with my son… 44 years — had some great times pre-MLS

    the people who dont challenge dont care or they leave… thousands have

  5. Salty, your comments regarding certain players and coach remains the same week in and out no matter what happens. I would give Cordova a 5 or 5.5. I don’t see he did much wrong. He maintained possession with his back to goal. He showed some speed and skill in dribbling past defenders and did deliver a fine cross with, what i believe, is his weaker left foot. Cubas is an excellent player but he has had some defensive miscues that have directly lead to goals against. Anyway, as I have said before, all the caps have to play at 6.0+, for them to win games and that didn’t happen against Portland And our lack of finishing continues to be our biggest problem…..

    1. I think Cordova can do something but man his body language on the field is killing things. Maybe in training he’s making some magic but I hope he gets a little spark. At least with Becher or White there’s the fire. Seeing Cordova warming up the other game he seemed to be enjoying himself.


    1. Cordova will turn-out to be another of the Caps striker bust and will go down as the most money-wasted signing by Axel Schuster– did i say it clear enough ??

    2. Takaoka- should have got clear stops on 2/3 goals- its the only time this season where he cost us a point– but cant really complain as he has won us a lot more points

    3. Martins is just annoyingly mediocre- his statue performance inside our box that gave Portland a goal was a glaring expression of I JUST DONT CARE !! — he should be benched next game IMO- simply not good enough to stand and do NOTHING !

    4. Ryan Gauld was our best player – i look forward to his play in the second half of the season – he will notch up his game

    5. Pedro Vite– Vanni starts him because ????- so inconsistent and doesnt deserve anymore than spot minutes – missing simple header goals in 2 games is just soccer criminal

    6. Tristan Blackmon- i sure wish he were Canadian- our national team needs his type of play

    7. Javain Brown- MR AVERAGE- he fades in and out of games – he needs a rocket shot up his arse every 15 minutes

    8. Vanni Sartini- benching Ahmed and Becher for 65 minutes just reflects how annoyingly stubborn he is – both players have earned starting spots- i would try Ahmed and Schopf on the left side

    SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE– after watching cordova, i was actually missing Brian White

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