Well, it had to end sometime, didn’t it? The Whitecaps’ impressive road record streak was snapped by the Houston Dynamo this Wednesday in a humbling fashion with a 4-1 scoreline. It was a harsh snap back to reality for a team that was dreaming of finishing the matchday in a second place position. How did the players do though?
Yohei Takaoka: 5.5
While set-pieces have been a Whitecaps weakness this season, it’s hard to blame Takaoka for the first goal the Whitecaps conceded. Bouncing off the head of Brian White, Takaoka was getting into position to catch the ball, but the deflection put the ‘Caps down within the first 15. Takaoka didn’t really have any blunders, as two of the goals were due to unfortunate deflections.
Tristan Blackmon: 4.5
Blackmon had a chance to bring the game to 1-1 at the end of the first half, but his soft header ended up in the Houston goalkeeper’s hands. Were that to have gone in, that could have changed the complexion of the game. Unfortunately, this play led to a counter attack in which he failed to close down Griffin Dorsey, as the Colorado native shot a rocket past Takaoka. Outside of that he did a serviceable job, but did not light the world on fire.
Mathias Laborda: 4.0
You have to feel like Laborda could have done more on that fourth goal. The Paraguayan crowned his night by getting a limp tackle in that didn’t prevent Ibrahim Aliyou from slotting in Houston’s final marker of the night. His positioning was all over the place, creating openings for Houston to attack..
Javain Brown: 5.5
Brown’s biggest contribution of the night came in the form of setting up the Houston own goal. It was a consolation goal that didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it was still a nice play. Defensively, he was the best on the field, winning most of his duels both in the air and on the ground.
Andres Cubas: 5.5
Cubas did not have his best game in Houston. While Blackmon was at fault for letting Dorsey get a shot off, Cubas was late-arriving to provide support, and it looked like Blackmon was anticipating that support coming sooner. Cubas’ passing was good, which was to be expected, but his duels on the night were not up to his usual standard. It seems clear he’s still not 100%.
Pedro Vite: 6.0
Pedro Vite has shown his class this season. Unfortunately, the Ecuadorian wasn’t able to create much in this match, starting alongside Ali Ahmed, and behind Ryan Gauld. I think an underrated issue that the Whitecaps are currently dealing with is that many of their creative players like to occupy the same areas and Vite is a victim of this phenomenon. While Vite did have a couple of takes at net, none of them were particularly dangerous. Defensively, there were a couple of moments that left something to be desired, one of which we’ll touch on shortly.
Ali Ahmed: 6.0
Ali’s done a good job since joining the Whitecaps first team, but unfortunately, this was a big ask for him and Vite to hold things down in hostile conditions. Houston’s sweaty environment is always sure to unsettle even the toughest of professionals, so it was a taxing ask for the Toronto native. To his credit, Ahmed lasted the 90 and was one of the best passers on the field for Vancouver on the night, while covering his defensive duties reasonably effectively. The Whitecaps have a nailed down starter for the future to be sure here.
Raposo touched the ball the least out of all the midfielders, and had a quiet game generally. He seems to perform best when coming on as a sub or a rotation starter, as when he plays a lot of games in a row, his dynamism seems to be diminished. This was the case Wednesday, as he didn’t threaten the net in his 45 minutes.
Richie Laryea: 6.0
Richie Laryea, while immensely creative, sometimes gets too far up the field to be able to effectively cover his defensive bases. This is what happened for the Whitecaps’ third goal of the night, as the Canadian struggled to keep up with Ivan Franco (Albeit, Vite should have been covering). When he was in a defending position, he did a good job, winning a majority of his duels and having accurate passes.
Ryan Gauld: 6.5
The Whitecaps had a chance to equalize shortly after they first conceded as Gauld set up for a free kick, yet he ended up placing the ball straight toward the keeper, summarizing the frustrations the Scotsman would feel for the rest of the night. You could tell the DP felt like he was just inches away from starting a Whitecaps comeback, but his shots could not find the back of the net. Nevertheless, he was still the Whitecaps’ best player of the night.
Brian White: 5.0
Brian White took one shot the entire night and had just 13 touches, evidence of Vancouver’s failure to get their attacking players involved. For someone chasing down the top five of MLS scoring charts, he does tend to have some anonymous games every once in a while. He was most effective in the air, winning a fair number of aerial duels, but the rest of his game wasn’t not that notable.
Junior Hoilett: 6.0
Hoilett started the second half lively, bringing in a veteran presence and energy that was notable. His creative presence allowed the Whitecaps find new forms of attack for a period of time at 2-0, but unfortunately it didn’t amount to much. He also help set up the play that led to the Whitecaps’ only goal of the night.
Sebastian Berhalter: 6.0
Let’s be clear, Berhalter’s lunging challenge, even though it led to a Houston goal, was a good one. Unfortunately, even if the ball didn’t go in the back of the net, the situation was already in dire straits for the Whitecaps. His “goal” also helped the Whitecaps in theory, but the game was pretty much decided by then. It was good pressure from the American to force Houston to break their clean sheet, but the Whitecaps still didn’t get anything from this match. He did a solid job at covering the faltering Cubas, and it’s refreshing to know there’s backup options if necessary.
Simon Becher: 5.5
Whitecaps fans must be missing the super-sub goal scoring form Becher had earlier this season. It’s been a long time since Simon Becher’s last goal, and the rare cameo appearances must not be helping him too much.
Levonte Johnson: 5.0
Johnson played a brief role, and nothing of his game really stood out. Like Becher, good to see him back on the pitch though.
J.C. Ngando: N/A
Didn’t see enough from JC, but he’s been good this season when he’s seen real minutes.
Do you agree with these ratings? Sound off in the comments below!