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.