Report Card: A Strong Start to Leagues Cup for Vancouver

The Whitecaps welcomed the reigning CCL champions to BC Place on the opening night of Leagues Cup in a very entertaining match. With their recent fortunes, the Whitecaps were looking to give themselves a fighting chance in the group this past Friday, before travelling down to Los Angeles next weekend. They put on a strong showing, drawing against the best in North America at the end of 90 minutes, and taking 19 penalties before conceding the extra point to Club Leon.

How did the individual players do? Read on to find out.

Yohei Takaoka: 6.5

Putting up a fierce battle in the PK shootout, Yohei had a decent game, even scoring a PK himself. He made 2 saves in the 90 minutes, and generally was in a good position to prevent Leon from getting clear chances on target. The two goals conceded were due to a defensive scramble in the box, and a worldie of a hit from Elias Hernandez.

Luis Martins: 6.5

Martins had a solid defensive match. Being dribbled past only once against a very good Leon attack, his defensive quality was impressive. Unfortunately, the only key moment where he could have improved was on the blocking of the pass that led to the first goal. Like the rest of the squad, he did not get off to the best start, yet, he was able to rally and play solid the rest of the way. In terms of penalties, it really wasn’t his game, as he missed both his attempts, ultimately ending the match.

Ranko Veselinovic: 6.0

While the Serbian was decent, he still lacks that commanding presence you want from a centreback that leads a defense. Case in point, the first goal. In a situation where he should have organized the defense and called out potential threats, he was drawn toward the ball along with 4 other players. I think that Leon’s play style was a lot for Ranko to handle, and he looked a bit over-matched at times in this one.

Matthias Laborda: 6.5

Laborda also had an effective match, locking down his side of the field pretty well. He was able to stop a number of Leon attacks, and his distribution was sharp. He’s a natural centreback, so it’s not surprising that he has been able to be effective when deployed in his natural position. He was where he needed to be on both goals against, keeping his mark effectively, but not enough to prevent anything else.

Andres Cubas: 7.0

With the Whitecaps now one superstar short (goodbye Gressel), even more pressure is on Cubas to produce strong performances and lead this team from the midfield. Cubas played well, putting his heart out there on the field as always. His passing was on point, and was able to win most of the physical battles. He did well to keep pace with Leon’s dangerous players, especially in a team that plays with very high intensity.

Levonte Johnson: 6.5

This has been a successful season for Whitecaps super-draft players, more so than in recent history. The players have been able to make an impact when called upon and have contributed to a young starting XI on many matchdays. He didn’t have a standout game, but did a good job holding his own against talented opposition, taking the ball away multiple times and disrupting play. It may have been a bit premature to take him out when Sartini did.

Alessandro Schopf: 6.5

Schopf played a Schopf game. He did a decent job, but not quite enough to make him stand out above the rest.

J.C. Ngando: 7.0

Following up on the draft point made for Johnson, the Cameroonian really showed his strengths in this match. It seems he was everywhere on the night, marauding the field and making his presence known. From accurate passes to winning 50/50s, JC showed he can hold his own at this level.

Sebastian Berhalter: 7.5

Today, Cubas’ understudy looked like the second coming of Joshua Kimmich, with him making the right flank his own. There may have been doubts cast on a CDM being deployed at the wing, but Berhalter has improved on a strong season by showing some versatility as well. His positioning, passing, and tackling were all top-notch. Getting an assist doesn’t hurt either. Berhalter is a player I would like to see a lot more of.

Ryan Gauld: 8.0

Breaking the Whitecaps’ MLS record for assists, Gauld had a DP-level showing for Vancouver. Everything went right for the Scotsman, and he dribbled effectively and placed passes where they needed to be in key moments. This would have been his match to be the MVP once again, but there was someone else who deserves the honour from this match.

Sergio Cordova: 8.5

If you had asked me a month ago to predict the highest rating I would give Cordova this season, I probably would have said 6.0. The Whitecaps panic buying a striker who had only scored 21 goals in his professional career left a sour taste in my mouth and predisposed me to treat Cordova with added scrutiny. Given this, the score today is a testament to how much the Venezuelan has impressed as of late. Four goals in three matches is nothing to scoff at, and his history at RSL shows he has a tendency to catch fire and finish strong. His normally detracting attributes of being tall and big-bodied helped him muscle opposition off the ball, and played a key part in both of his goals. Now that the pressure is off Cordova, hopefully, the floodgates will open for the rest of the season.

Tristan Blackmon: 6.5

Put on for more defensive stability, Blackmon certainly did his job. In his 45, he probably showed the most confidence of anyone in the back line. He was able to block many attacks and intercept the ball whenever Leon tried to carve out a chance. While the Whitecaps did get scored on during his appearance, it’s hard to blame that on the defense. Blackmon looks to be a leader when he gets on the field and is fully fit.

Brian White: 6.0

The leading goalscorer for the Whitecaps was looking to tally his first goal against Liga MX competition on Friday, but was unable to find a breakthrough. Having only played against Atletico Pantoja with the Red Bulls in CCL play before his time with the Whitecaps, White is relatively new to Liga MX competition. Given White’s recent form in the CCL, it would not have been surprising if he found the score sheet in this match. While he was active and had one really good chance, he wasn’t quite able to find the target.

Russell Teibert: 5.5

Someone, somewhere out there, has to have stats of this team’s play with Teibert on the field vs. off of it. He didn’t do anything terrible, but throwing him into the deep end against a top Liga MX team was truly something to witness.

Déiber Caicedo & Simon Becher: N/A

Both took two very nice penalties, albeit with wildly different approaches, but neither had much impact during the match itself.


What were your thoughts on the match with Leon and the grades? Sound off in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Report Card: A Strong Start to Leagues Cup for Vancouver

  1. Johnson failed to track back on the overlapping Leon CB who pushed up on the overlap and provided the cross on the opener and was not much of a positive factor out there, really. The team improved considerably when they went to four at the back..


    i think you nailed the ratings… except for one– and of course, that has to be teibert- he didnt touch the ball for his first 20 minutes; he just filled space which isnt a compliment– Vanni is a stubborn coach and no more than with russell; in this type of game, what was Vanni thinking ?? my rating- 3.0 and another point lower for taking the captain’s arm band from Gauld

    remember, luis martins hit the post on a cracker of a shot from 20 yards out- it would have won us the game – unlucky for Luis

    the most amazing thing about the game… beyond the 16 rounds of PKs- watching cordova run FULL-OUT for 40 yards to catch up to gauld and get the space for his second goal- i have never seen that ambition from sergio before

    1. I can believe the Vancouver coach , having the chance to win the game and defending a 2.1 game with plenty time to add another goal the bring in Tiber ,a man that shouldn’t even be in the reserve of the team he is over pay he is not soccer player never main the captain, soccer is profession for skill people and sorry he have non of those …

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