Report Card: Whitecaps get the horns in Dallas

The Whitecaps fortunes have completely turned once more, as they continue to look for their first road win. After an eight game unbeaten run they have lost their last two, both on the road. There were a lot of questions surrounding certain players, and the performance was unfortunately uninspiring. How did every player stack up? Read on to find out:

Yohei Takaoka: 5.5

Outside of the two goals conceded, Takaoka did his job pretty well. His saves were crucial in moments where the Whitecaps continued to take an assault from Dallas. It’s unfortunate to have conceded twice, but he picked himself back up super quickly, which is an important quality for a goalkeeper.

Ryan Raposo: 4.5

The defense was not where it needed to be today, and Raposo wasn’t able to provide enough defensive support to cover the lacking centrebacks. He carried the ball forward well at times, but 60 minutes without providing any distinct attacking threat means Raposo’s usefulness was very limited.

Ranko Veselinovic: 3.5

At fault for the second goal, Veselinovic was poor today. Usually the stalwart of the defense, for some reason everything went wrong for the Serbian centreback. Errant passing, lax pressure, and horrible positioning plagued a defender who found himself on the wrong end of two goals courtesy of Jesus Ferreira.

Javain Brown: 4.0

In what is going to be a recurring theme from today’s lineup, Brown was woefully out of position. Naturally playing as a right back at his strongest, Sartini continues to experiment with Laborda at RB, leaving Brown to be in charge of holding up half of the centreback partnership with Blackmon out. With Ranko lacking, Brown had to cover more than necessary, and he wasn’t able to do that unfortunately.

Matthias Laborda: 5.0

Laborda looked like a solid centre back option, but unfortunately that was not where he was played. Showing more guile in his tackles than the two actual centre backs, Laborda was not used effectively and as such his clearances only delayed the inevitable attacks down the centre.

Alessandro Schopf: 4.0

This was not the Austrian’s best match, as he struggled with his crosses, passes, and challenges. His mentality doesn’t look to be in the right place at the moment, and the potential he promised isn’t being fulfilled. His impact on the midfield was negligible and questions why Ahmed wasn’t played instead start to arise.

Andres Cubas: 5.0

Cubas had a rare off game and you could really tell. Without Gauld to push the midfield, the group was completely exposed, a rare occurrence this season. It says a lot about how weak the Whitecaps’ depth is in that position. The coverage on both of the goals was very poor, as Ferreira was able to get to the middle easily, something Cubas should have been all over.

Julian Gressel: 5.5

Gressel was the best midfielder of the day, but that was a hollow victory for him. He contributed to the Whitecaps pushing in the late stages, but not being able to build anything in the first half was less than ideal for the recent US international. Still, he did do a good job going forward and passing to the subs who came on, who picked up the slack that the starting lineup dropped.

Sergio Cordova: 4.0

Oh man. We are 1/3 of the season in and Cordova is yet to score a goal. He seems clumsy and stiff on the ball, providing very little attacking threat in comparison to what was expected. The Venezuelan had zero shots the entire game. Considering he is a DP these are unacceptable statistics so far, and makes the acquisition look very questionable at this point.

Pedro Vite: 6.5

The orchestrator of the lone shot in the first half, Vite had his goal served up on a silver platter as Dallas’ keeper passed the ball directly to the Ecuadorian. Outside of that, he looked like the most dangerous of the attacking trio, with his agility and passing on point, or at least better than the rest of the Whitecaps team.

Brian White: 5.0

It was an average display from the American striker. He wasn’t bad by any means, but he cannot create much on his own, especially when he is so isolated.

Luis Martins: 4.5

Can’t fault Martins for replacing Raposo, but he was pretty anonymous when all was said and done.

Simon Becher: 6.0

Becher, while not quite as clinical as his explosive start to his MLS career made him look, is often at the centre of the Whitecaps’ attacking threats. There’s an X factor to Becher’s play that allows him to constantly get the best of a defender’s positioning, even though the Whitecaps haven’t found out the ideal way to utilize him yet. Regardless, it was still a good performance from the young American.

Deiber Caicedo: 5.5

Caicedo looked lively when he came on. Replacing Veselinovic, it was too little too late for the Colombian as his positive attacking play did not amount to anything, but it’s good to see him back in the team.

Agree with the ratings? Sound off in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “Report Card: Whitecaps get the horns in Dallas

  1. Just remember, if Vanni gets sacked, the Caps are not going to bring in some revolutionary coach. it will be a guy who is lower priced, probably 1st time as MLS coach or someone who didn’t do well before, that kind of thing. Another ham and egger looking for a chance and rinse and repeat. So, while Vanni has problems, its not like the next coach will be a massive improvement.

  2. Man, I see the upcoming string of games and the fact that it looks like some of our better players early in the season seem to be a bit worn out and in need of a break and I can’t help but be pessimistic… My prediction is that we lose a good portion of the next games and that Vanni is out by early June.

  3. Last season I heard Vanni tell a reporter that he doesn’t believe in watching game films. All the other teams do, and it’s obvious.

    This season Vanni was quoted in an article saying that he doesn’t want players to think. That’s also obvious. What effect does that have on players and their confidence? I guarantee it isn’t positive. Players should be incentivized to think on their feet and adjust to each situation on the pitch as it arises.

    Vannni is, at best, a USL coach. Honestly, I don’t give him that much credit. His starting XI selections are evidence he’s not much for developing young players.

    If the defense carries this team it’s because Vanni refuses to have forwards play “forward”. He plants them midfield or lower with the idea that they (White & Cordova) have the speed to beat opposing defenders to long passes forward. They don’t. I don’t think White wants to run. He wants to sit in one spot and be fed. Watch other teams play. I promise you won’t see strikers on any other team standing still.

    Speaking of long or cross passes – every other team in this league has figured out Vanni’s strategy, which isn’t much. Kick the ball as hard as you can with the hope that there will be someone on the receiving end. White routinely “chests” the ball to the ground then passes backward.

    Say what you will about contract options. If the organization doesn’t make a change, there will be players looking to move on. Half of this team is playing to win. The other half is collecting a paycheck. IMHO

  4. Great points. Apparently the caps do spend a lot of time on their defensive structure. It’s based on zonal marking and coverage. I think opposing coaches/players do exploit this.

  5. I agree with the above two posts: I think you’ve been too kind to quite a number of passengers last night, an embarrassing performance.

    The new Canucks coach gave his team what he called a Hockey 101 workshop. This team needs that kind of a wake-up. When defending, the pressure often is way too slow, especially in wide situations; they also need a 101 workshop re. systematic coverage and communication: the second (or second and third) defenders covering the space behind the first defender have to be constantly talking him through it, letting him know where they are.

    When attacking in the final third especially, forwards are far too stationary. (Just watch the players off the ball as it moves into the final third.) There are two reasons for mobility: one is to find a space in which you can receive the ball; the second is to unlace the opposing D by pulling defenders away from a compacted situation and making space for a pass into the space this creates.

    This is all elementary stuff at this level, but like the Canucks, the team far too often seems not to have worked on any of these details. That’s where coaching drills on systems play can make a difference–walking and talking and freezing play in scrimmages to coach corrections.

    Finally, I join the chorus about Vanni’s quality: his overall tactical systems are limited and predictable, and his player selection bewildering. Ahmed and Becher should be at least tried as starters over a run of games. Their play has earned them that much. Players know who deserves to start, and poor selection reduces a coach’s credibility. Time for change before the season is lost.

  6. On Cubas: Consecutive poor performances is not a “rare” occurrence, it’s a trend. He deserves a 4, just as Schopf & Cordova do.

    On Caicedo: His 5.5 comes across to me as giving him more breadth because he was a sub; he was average, made a couple of decent plays but also fumbled the ball away in possession a few times. An average 5 is more accurate.

    On Vite: A 6.5 is too high imo. The gift of a goal was well finished, but I don’t think he had a better performance than Gressel; there was some good, and some average. 5.5 for both is fair, Vite’s wasn’t *that* better a performance.

    And, Sartini should be graded every match, he is part of the performance. 3 for him, another poor and confusing decision making model.

    1. I thought Takaoka, Brown and Laborda were our best players. Maybe worthy of a 6 rating or 5.5? Becher was lively and improved our attacking play overall but everyone else couldn’t do much. Seems Becher is on the end of some tough tackles. Welcome to the big time. We got outplayed all over the field. The game was screaming for Ahmed to come in at halftime. Play him up front!!! Changes were needed at halftime but Sartini sometimes seems oblivious to what’s actually happening on the field. I think we’re better than last night’s performance but it seemed it was going to take a miracle just to get a draw. 2 days rest and then Seattle. Yikes

  7. Vanni Sartini- 3.5- mystifying line-up, player placements and failure to adjust during the game – IMO, it explains why some of the better players are underperforming- a good coach will get the best out of his players

    if he confuses me, he must REALLY confuse the best players who have to submit to his selections, formations and subs/timing of the subs

    Takaoka– 4.5- 3/4 of the last goals have all been low shots near the post and all were saveable IMO – is this a major concern – YES

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