Report Card: Gauld & the newcomers shine as Vancouver survives late Portland push

The Caps enjoy making things hard on themselves (and us) but they did enough to grab a 3-2 win over Portland Timbers in their penultimate Cascadia derby of the year. There was a lot to like, as the wide players and Ryan Gauld started to click. What does that mean for the report card grades? Scroll on.

Yohei Takaoka: 6

A gutsy performance after sustaining a pretty brutal looking injury while making a fingertip save, in parrying that ball, he passed his toughest test of the night. Distribution left something to be desired but he did what was needed on the shotstopping front.

Richie Laryea: 8

Looked immediately dangerous cutting in from the right-hand side and provides a much more palpable sense of width that opens up space more centrally. Had no trouble taking on defenders himself and went three-for-three in doing so. He also left the Timbers with no choice but to foul him, including when Evander conceded the PK. Laryea is already looking as good as advertised.

Javain Brown: 6.5

Brown was perfectly fine, aside from perhaps neglecting to track Mora on the first Timbers goal, had no major error. He appeared to pick up some sort of knock to force his premature departure.

Ranko Veselinovic: 6.5

Had some loose moments with the ball at his feet and could’ve done better to challenge Felipe Mora on the Timbers’ first. Recovered well in the remainder of the second half, I thought, including a pretty impressive block (with his face!) to deny Evander a goal.

Tristan Blackmon: 7

The most assured of the three centerbacks, coming up with a few really big moments. He was comfortable under duress late in the game as Portland chased an equalizer.

Sam Adekugbe: 7

He already has a great understanding of how to effectively link up with Gauld and Ahmed to force the defense into difficult choices, opening up space that produced chances like the opening goal. Provides more consistent options going forward than Luis Martins or Ryan Raposo.

Andres Cubas: 6.5

Did well to clog up the works for Portland in the first half and really seemed to get under their skin as the match went on. Suffice to say, he did his job and forced the Timbers to go out wide — not necessarily his fault it worked out a couple of times for them.

Alessandro Schopf: 5

Didn’t see much of the ball and didn’t do much with it when it came his way — Schopf just isn’t a real natural fit for this type of counter-attacking game plan. I thought Berhalter or even J.C. Ngando would have been a more sensible player in this type of match.

Ali Ahmed: 7.5

Was a key cog in the attack that led to both goals, thereby doing his job as an outlet in the fluid, transition-based game the Caps favoured. His defensive work rate was leaned on more in the second half and he acquitted himself well there too. The Gauld-Ahmed-Adekugbe triumvirate is already purring.

Ryan Gauld: 8.5

Lived up to his moniker as a working man’s DP with his sweaty goal but showed his panache with a brilliant ball to set up White’s goal, toying with the Timbers defense deftly in transition. He also converted the PK calmly. It was a clear MOTM performance.

Brian White: 7

Will count himself fortunate to get credited with an assist amid a pretty tepid start to the match, though he turned things around in a big way with a powerful header. Could’ve had a second off a set piece but whacked the crossbar instead. Not his best match but tough to argue with the end result.

Ryan Raposo: 6

Raposo is certainly a drop off from Adekugbe which was noticeable in many respects, that said, he was respectable in a prolonged substitute appearance.

Sebastian Berhalter: 5.5

Made no discernible impression on me. Thought he could have come on 10-15 minutes earlier for Schopf.

Mathias Laborda: 6

Lost track of his man to setup the cross that allowed the Timbers to get back in the match late but came back with great intensity in the final moments of the match.

Russell Teibert & Pedro Vite: N/A

Teibert earned his 300th appearance and caused some hearts in throats when fans saw his name on the substitutions board but helped see out the match without issue. Vite charged forward to press but didn’t touch the ball once.


Next up for the Whitecaps is a midweek affair in Chicago. What were your thoughts on the win over Portland? Let us know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Report Card: Gauld & the newcomers shine as Vancouver survives late Portland push

  1. Agree with you. Schopf does a lot that i guess goes unnoticed. And some like to criticize players without really digging into their factual contributions. One overall concern is our midfield (Cubas and Ahmed the exceptions) can’t make it past 70 minutes and this might include Gauld as well. As long as Sartini makes the right subs at the right time then we’re probably ok. But we might be in trouble if we get into an extra time situation. But that’s aways away…

  2. Don’t discount Schopf too much. He would’ve scored if not for White’s deflection, he’s starting to come into the box more often now as a late option. He also only missed 1 pass the whole game.

  3. Can you imagine if we won the west division playoffs and got to host the final against inter Miami. Not impossible imo. The addition of Richie and Sam has made the transformation complete in my mind. It’s taken a while for everything to come together but what a job axel has done. It’s up to Sartini and the players to be at their optimum game in and game out and we could finish 2nd in the west.

  4. having the creative force of Ali Ahmed means its not always on Gauld- Ali is such a surprising player- he fools opposing players with his deceptive moves, skills and quickness

  5. the games are coming fast, intense and super-important– how does vanni keep Ryan Gauld healthy and energetic ? as he goes, so goes the Caps – what a terrific DP signing !!

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