Report Card: Whitecaps Draw SKC

The Vancouver Whitecaps were able to rescue a point at B.C. place against an SKC side that was determined to take the sting out of the game. Let’s see how the individual players got on. 

Yohei Takaoka: 6

Hard to give a grade as he only had two shots on goal. One was a basically unstoppable header and the other was a pea-roller. Was his usual good self with the ball at his feet.

Mathias Laborda: 6

He was ok. A couple of slightly nervy moments but he was never really exposed. Was subbed early with Vancouver chasing a goal. 

Ranko Veselinovic: 7

Vancouver gave up very little in this game and Ranko’s solid play was a part of that. He did get beat for pace at one point but other than that he never looked to be in much trouble. 

Tristan Blackmon: 7

Like Veselinovic, Blackmon never really looked to be in much trouble. I thought he didn’t have his best game in terms of passing, but SKC was doing a good job of plugging up passing lanes.

Luis Martins: 6.5

I thought he was reasonably good. He combined well with Gauld and Vite down the left side. No key passes but he was able to progress the ball through the very narrow gaps on the left side of the field. 

Andres Cubas; 6.5

He did all the Andres Cubas stuff we are used to. This wasn’t the sort of game he really gets to shine in, as it was mostly the Whitecaps enjoying possession of the ball. But he counter-pressed effectively. 

Julian Gressel: 4

Gressel was well below his usual standard. No key passes despite roughly a million attempted crosses and 3 shots that were all low-percentage drives from a distance. 

Pedro Vite:  6

Vite also did not provide a ton of direct offence. I felt he did a decent job of breaking lines and progressing the ball in a game where that was no easy task. I also thought he didn’t look like too much of a defensive liability, which is important. If the Whitecaps can reliably deploy Vite deeper I think that would be better for team offence. Vite’s greatest strength is his vision and ball progression. But he doesn’t have quite enough end product to be part of a front three.

Ryan Gauld: 9

Gauld seemed absolutely determined to not let the ‘Caps lose this one. He scored the penalty, yes, but his all-around play was excellent. He made a number of gut-busting runs with the ball, willing the Whitecaps to get a result. He managed 2 shots and 2 key passes in addition to his penalty. 

Brian White: 6

White had a pretty quiet game, he just does not look as good in the #10 role. He did have Vancouver’s best non-penalty chance of the game. 

Sergio Cordova: 2

You know, I have been at this blogging thing for almost seven years now. In that time I think I have gained a lot of knowledge about the game and talent identification. But I clearly still have more to learn because I am totally flummoxed by how bad Cordova has been. Loyal readers will remember that I expressed doubt he could be an elite MLS striker but thought he could at least provide reasonable output. But he looks so bad. I understand a new team, injuries, and not really having a training camp all play a part. But Cordova looks like he got freaky friday’d with somebody who has never played soccer before. Last year Cordova put up 0.48 xG+xA/90. That’s hardly all-star-level stuff, maybe doesn’t justify using a DP slot on him, but it is pretty solid. This year he has 0.05 xG. Not 0.05 xG/90. 0.05 xG total in MLS play. This game featured his second MLS shot of the season. If this steep drop-off was predictable then it requires a level of football knowledge that I just don’t have. The worst part is, there hasn’t been even a glimpse of Cordova hitting another gear. It’s not uncommon to see a player come to MLS without a proper training camp and, although they struggle at first, you can kind of see the good player that they truly are under the surface. There’s none of that with Cordova. He seems a little more lively than before his injury but that hasn’t even translated to an increase in shots let alone goals. Cordova’s history would suggest he will eventually figure it out, even if “it” is just being a kind of middling MLS striker. But if I didn’t have that context I wouldn’t have any reason to believe that more was coming. 


The subs mostly didn’t do very much. But my eye was caught by Deiber Caicedo. He still doesn’t look quite his old self, but he has taken a dangerous shot almost every time he has played since his return from injury. If he can re-discover his form that would be a nice boost to the team.

15 thoughts on “Report Card: Whitecaps Draw SKC

  1. With the upgrades to player scouting etc how can the organization whiff so badly in Cordova?!?! Aaand he’s a DP for next couple of years!

  2. I gotta disagree with the VAR call. It was a judgment call that leaned towards a goal imo not easy to call but still really unlucky not to go our way. He also missed a pen on Gauld by playing one of the stupidest advantages in the history. Ref was bad.

  3. Got to disagree about the referee. He was ok. VAR did the job as needed. These things happen. Both the referee and the assistant thought the SKC defender got a toe on the ball. VAR sorted it out. No big deal. On Gauld’s disallowed goal Blackmon blocked the SKC defender who could have easily cleared the shot if Blackmon wasn’t in the way. So easy to see….

  4. The referee was atrocious on Saturday, but the VAR call on the Gauld goal was correct. Blackmon was behind one of the last two defenders (keeper in this case) and there was definite contact between him and the defender. Did that contact prevent the defender from getting a foot to the ball? Possibly. Was it so clear and obvious that VAR should have overturned it? Maybe not, but it wasn’t the wrong call.

  5. I think Cordova was bad and didnt look like he could offer much more, but I don’t think he was a 2 which looks like he is the reason they didn’t get more offense. I think Martins was poor with several missed crossed, especially late, and often would get into the attacking third only to circulate the ball all the way back to the defence. Bang on about Gressel, with all the poor crosses and set plays he offered little. I would also put Gauld’s rating lower as he didn’t provide much more than a shot and a penalty to breakdown SKC and provide opportunities. I would also put Cubas lower as he wasn’t able to break the first line of press without quickly turning it back to defence. SKC was good but the Caps didn’t have the solution.

  6. so many things to say, and i hope you bear with me: and you nailed most of the ratings BTW

    1. i have been consistent with my comments about Cordova, from the first 30 minutes i saw him play- way, way over-valued, slow, poor dribbling skills and cant head the ball worth a damn, especially for his height- and only 2 weak shots in all his playing time- he ranks up there with the Blundell and ardaiz striker failure signings

    why it takes some supporters to realize what i realized in just a few minutes is a mystery

    2. Gauld was MASSIVE last night- he carried the team – an inspirational performance by the Scot

    3. Vanni messed this up with his stupid starting line-up, all in the hope that it would get Cordova going… that wont happen– it messed the game up for the other 3 vital players, Gressel, White and Vite– will he repeat the same mistake ?? its possible as Vanni is a stubborn coach- his rating gets a 4.0

    4. havent you learned that the very wealthy owners do not believe in spending their OWN money in order to improve the team and game attendance– THEY REALLY DONT CARE– they are making their money in expansion and media – its all about financial return, not on building a winner or market appeal- when the money dries up, they will blow dodge

    5. the Team are playing some attractive soccer and deserve better support

    as a side note, the MLS officiating brass should acknowledge the bad mistake by the ref and VAR on Gauld’s first goal

    1. Your comments on Cordova have been consistently wrong. He showed decent pace getting by SKC defenders. He showed decent footwork and passing in some attacking buildups. He maintained possession when needed. Yes, he over hit 2 crosses. Yes, his header at goal could have been better but other caps are at times guilty of this too but don’t receive the same blistering comments. And on SKC’s goal I’d blame the zonal marking. Both Cordova and Ranko were standing beside Pulido. Pulido got a step on both of them ensuring he got to the ball 1st. Cordova should have been in front of Pulido and Ranko behind. The zonal marking has let us down at times for sure. I do agree with you that Cordova isn’t worth the price tag and this is a problem for both Sartini and Shuster. Becher should be playing more for sure

  7. And why must I subscribe to Apple a Whitecaps game.on TV? That’s absurd!!! You want to share this game and push it forward and make it more accessible yet you even.less accessible by ONLY using Apple TV. On a side note. Wanted to watch some.MLS highlights on TSN or Sportsnet. The last story at the end of the sportscast is MLS. 3 highlights. One Toronto, one.Montreal and of course last on the list, ONE 15 second highlight. Gouldsboro penalty thats it!!!

  8. Gressel had his worst game because Vanni has played him 342 (plus injury time) of a possible 360 min in the last 10 days. Vanni has no idea of how to rotate a squad and he’s burned out his best player right before the Canadian Championship final in the process.

  9. A slightly different take on Cordova because he almost made a contribution … that should have been a red and Cordova would then deserve credit for drawing it. That doesn’t ameliorate everything else bad about him, but this maybe his best effort of the season.

  10. Thought they were lucky to get a point!….but recent games are entertaining for sure…..Just wish Ownership would take steps to fill the 25,000 empty seats and reap the rewards that a full stadium brings… HOW?. spend some $$$$$$ buy 2 to 3 world class players and sell 25,000 season tickets~

    1. Same was expecting Cordova to up his game not this horrific soccer. Also what would you give Vanni this match?

    2. Fill the other 25,000 seats? Not likely … even the Sounders don’t fill a football stadium (yes, Lumen is larger capacity, but the Sounders do ~35,000 as their average).That’s in a fantastic sports town which Vancouver is anything but.

      MLS teams do not sell out football (the other kind of football) stadiums. Only 13 MLS teams break a 20,000 fan average. Less than half the league.

      The more critical question is how to the get back to selling out the lower bowl for big games. That takes a lot of things, it’s not just player signings. Vancouver’s a fickle market and the only thing that gets fans out is winning.

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