Report Card: Three Set Pieces and a Funeral

Man, I can’t believe they blew it.


Yohei Takaoka: 7.0

I don’t think much blame could be assigned to him on the goals against. He was involved in a goal for (you know when Takaoka plays the ball long you’re going to see some wild scenes when the camera pans), and made a couple of decent saves.

Mathias Labaorda: 7.0

Honestly, I thought he was pretty good up until the red card. He was a real threat in the opposition penalty area and made some key defensive contributions.

Ranko Veselinovic: 9.0

My man of the match. Tons of key defensive interventions and a goal.

Luis Martins: 5.5

Martins did reasonably well in his wide centre-back role. He did still get absolutely cooked a couple of times but it didn’t lead to any goals. He did manage a key pass. Other than that he didn’t do much to distinguish himself.

Levonte Johnson: 6.5

Johnson did fairly well after being thrust into an unfamiliar position due to player absences. His speed brought a different dimension to the Whitecaps’ attack and he had a few really good moments. Defensively he was a bit shaky (he was also the guy originally marking Chu on Seattle’s 2nd goal). But that’s sort of to be expected since he is a forward. Overall I think his performance was positive. 

Alessandro Schopf: 5.0

Just not a lot of impact from Schopf. His statline is almost all zeroes and it certainly felt like that watching the game.

Sebastian Berhalter: 6.5

I thought he was ok. He was not able to impose himself on the game in the way that Andres Cubas does but he made some good defensive interventions and was generally assured on the ball. 

Ryan Raposo: 5.5

Another player who did not really distinguish himself positively or negatively. There were a few touches that were less than ideal but also a key pass and a shot. Defensively he hustled a lot but did not necessarily have a ton of direct contributions

Ryan Gauld: 8.0

Once again an absolute machine. A goal, an assist, four shot contributions. 

Sergio Cordova: 4.0

After some encouraging signs in previous matches, it was another concerning performance for Cordova. Missing chances is one thing but not even generating any is a bigger problem. Cordova seems scared to act on the field, always second-guessing every decision he makes. One thing that really stood out being able to watch in the stadium is how slow Cordova is to recognize when it’s his turn to join the press. There were so many times where Gauld and White would manipulate the Seattle defence over to one side of the pitch, only for Cordova to be 5-10 yards too far behind and for Seattle to play out of pressure easily. 

Brian White: 7.0

Three shots and an assist for the league leader in expected goals (and 23rd in actual goals). Brian White turned in a strong performance but it sure would be nice if more of these shots went in! I feel like Homer Simpson in that episode where Marge sells pretzels with the help of the mob (but Marge, that guy still hasn’t caught up to his xG yet. You know that guy’s going to regress to the mean eventually and you know it’s going to be good). 


I don’t have a lot to say about the subs. There were a lot of complaints around me that Tristan Blackmon didn’t start but I thought he looked a lot like a player still re-gaining fitness when he came on. Pedro Vite wasn’t able to have a massive impact in his limited time on the pitch. However, I will say that JC Ngando had another cameo where he looked pretty dynamic. Give me more JC!

7 thoughts on “Report Card: Three Set Pieces and a Funeral

  1. Agree with what you’ve said. Laborda had to help Raposo when he could and even then Chu got a cross in which then needed Ranko to cut it out. Raposo is a decent player but Brown is our best right fullback. He bests everyone in terms of overall athleticism. The return of Gressel, Brown, Ahmed and Cubas can’t come soon enough

  2. As long as this is the coaching philosophy, this team will not be successful. This philosophy doesn’t allow intuitive players to step outside their “zone”, especially defenders. There is no room for adjustment by a player even when he knows instinctively what he needs to do for fear of losing favor and potentially losing future game minutes for daring to “think”.

    “I never want them to think, never, on the field,” Sartini added. “A player on the field should take decisions, never think”. – Vanni Sartini

  3. “This was needed as Raposo, probably following coaching instructions as well, was tucked in closer to Schopf, and couldn’t really engage Chu until Chu had advanced 15-20 yards.”

    And Raposo doesn’t have the ability to close him down. Chu hardly, if ever, recycled the play back to midfield when confronted by marking. He just drove forward time and time again. Hustling back and blocking or clearing a cross adds to your opta stats and gives the illusion that you are defending well, but the best defence is when the attacking threat doesn’t take you on. It’s like when Darelle Revis was in his prime as a CB in the NFL and opponents wouldn’t throw his way. Roldan was also afforded the same amount of space on the other side but doesn’t have the offensive skills to beat guys like the Brazilian has.

    The club has spent a lot of time bouncing Raposo around to different positions and that hasn’t helped, I concede, but I think he is what he is. He probably should be a back up winger in the attacking two of the Christmas tree, coming on in the latter stages of games to provide upfield pressure and work rate tracking back in a more defensive role, while he can still pitch in with his offensive skills.

    Tactically, this set up is stale. SKC badly exposed it during the playoff loss two years ago with the same approach, other teams when wing threats can create chances because the focus is on protecting the middle of the park, notably when Cubas is not around.

  4. I had a pretty good view of the Caps press and Seattle’s back line, being seated around the 35 yard line in the 1st half. Chu was in full view as well hugging the touch line, patiently waiting for the ball to come his way. And when it did Chu was consistently able to drive into our defensive third and beyond. Regarding Cordova, I think he was following coaching instructions to take away the easy passing lane to Chu. This was needed as Raposo, probably following coaching instructions as well, was tucked in closer to Schopf, and couldn’t really engage Chu until Chu had advanced 15-20 yards. Cordova did press high with the result being a ball back to the Seattle keeper or, worse yet, an easy outlet pass to Chu. So I’m not going to blame Cordova for lack of a high press. And the comments that Cordova is slow are interesting considering he does from time to time outrun his opposing defenders. However, at this stage he should be coming off the bench for the last 25-30. Becher and Johnston should be getting some starts with White and Gauld. Johnston’s pace alone is going to cause problems for our opponents. The high press is a risk/reward scenario. Reward: cause a turnover and create a scoring chance. Risk: the pass out of the back beats the 3 forwards and if the midfield isn’t in a good position then it’s an easy path up the field. Sometimes the high press works, as it did against LAFC and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s going to cause some defensive problems. I think for the high press to work Cubas and Ahmed need to be part of our midfield. Otherwise our mid can’t make this high press work.

  5. Raposo got owned way too often by Leo Chu. I am not sure why some people were surprised that he got subbed off. He hustled back to block a couple of his crosses but the Brazilian very rarely recycled possession when Raposo was in front of him and just went at him and the Caps defence. The online analytics flattered the Canadian’s performance but he wasn’t effective in his primary role: helping to stop another team’s primary threat.

  6. not having 4 regulars really stretches this team- the Caps can not afford to loose players like gressel, cubas, blackmon and ahmed … and 2/4, plus laborda, will be missing vs an Austin team that is playing well

    the 7 road games coming in late august are looking like Darth Vader and the Black Hole

  7. not having the ability is one thing; being lazy is just not acceptable for a professional footballer… and we all know who i am talking about

    Vanni should not be ‘covering his arse’ anymore- we supporters are not fools

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