Report Card: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Minnesota United FC
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Rolling Whitecaps Rue Missed Chances It was was a bittersweet moment when the full time whistle blew tonight for the Whitecaps. On the one hand, the team had played what seemed to be their most inspired performance, while on the other- they gave a floundering Minnesota their first points of the season. It could be a demoralizing defeat, but there’s a lot to unpack from today that can make any Whitecaps fan hold their head up high in terms of performance. With all of the key new signings starting on the field, one would hope to see an improved performance and that is what the fans got. It was a very interesting decision to start a full-strength lineup for this game, as the Whitecaps have another game on the weekend to think about so rotation could have been kept in mind, considering the state of the current Minnesota team. It was a gamble that may not have paid off, but tonight’s focus is on the recent game so here are my personal ratings: Maxime Crepeau: 7.0 Crepeau put on a good display today, and could have had himself a clean sheet. It’s unfortunate that he found himself on the receiving end of a well placed header, and as such, even with his positive performance, it would be hard to justify a better rating than a 7.0. Cristián Gutiérrez: 7.0 At this point, Gutierrez has performed consistently enough that there’s not much one can’t say that hasn’t been said before. He is filling in wonderfully for Adnan, and I bet many Whitecaps fans probably don’t necessarily mind the absence of the DP left back. The only potential downside to Gutiérrez’ game would be not having a more dynamic player in front of him, something completely out of his control. Ranko Veselinović: 6.5 The entire team seemed to be clicking today, and the same can be said for Ranko. If this is the Whitecaps team that sets out every game, then the Whitecaps don’t have much to tweak before the team becomes a potential playoff contender. Solid for most of the game, some wayward marking and defensive instability knocked him down below the team average, but only just. AD Andy Rose: 6.0 Andy Rose could (and probably) should have spent more time on the field. He was great both on defensive duties and the rare attacking occasion, but his night was cut short in order to get Derek Cornelius some well deserved minutes. Unfortunately, it seems that this may have been the wrong move and the 31 year old may have been able to keep a clean sheet. If he played the full 90, his rating would have been much higher. Bruno Gaspar: 7.0 A shaky start from his many appearances at substitution was replaced by an almost full game of good performances, as Gaspar added some impressive speed, skill, and agility to this Whitecaps team. On his first start, Gaspar raised the bar for what the Whitecaps should expect from a right back, and it could be hard to see Nerwinski getting regular minutes if Bruno continues to put in performances like this. Cristian Dajome: 7.5 Probably the Whitecaps’ best performer on the night, Dajome showed on many occasions why he could be considered a good attacker amongst the many in MLS. Building up play and linking with Caicedo and Cavallini, the Colombian is showing a level rising parallel to that of the team itself. While he may be playing a bit out of position up top, his build up play and attacking threat could be part of a deadly attack if he can just find the confidence to continue putting in such high level performances. Russell Teibert: 6.5 Nice crosses and solid passes summarize Rusty’s game today. The team played well and so did he, but it still leaves one to wonder what the full strength of this team would be were a more skilled player to be starting instead of the veteran Canadian. Janio Bikel: 7.0 The Bikel-Alexandre duo is looking more and more like the regular fixture as Bikel put on his best performance of the season tonight. He was able to get stuck in and remove the ball from attackers while also building up plays from the Whitecaps’ own side. He showed a surprising level of play for a CDM that came from a ‘smaller’ league and caught many Minnesota players off guard with his solidity. More of this, and the Whitecaps could have a midfield that is able to stop attacks and advance play. Deiber Caicedo: 7.0 Caicedo seems to be Dajome-lite. Not a bad place to find yourself, but many will feel like he needs to carve out his own identity in order to stand out and succeed on this team. That’s not to take away from his performance, as he also was dangerous for many points in the game. Caicedo is a very solid young option on the wing, and as the team continues to find its identity, one can be sure that he will be doing the same. Caio Alexandre: 7.0 Alexandre was the heart of the midfield today. Complimenting Bikel perfectly, many attacking chances were passed through him and he seemed untouchable for some points in the first half. He is a staple of this Whitecaps side and is someone that looks to be irreplaceable in the future. As the team continues to build, depth will be added and other players better suited to play along him will come into the team, but for now, if Alexandre were to not play, then the midfield would take a huge hit. Lucas Cavallini: 7.0 Cavallini did what Cavallini does, outside of scoring at least. He held the ball well, made some very good passes, and used his muscle to create himself chances. Unluckily, one of his assets isn’t pace, so a breakaway opportunity was reduced to nothing in a play that could have changed the outcome of the game. Outside of that it was a good performance, though. Derek Cornelius: 4.5 Cornelius had his longest feature at a Whitecaps game this season, and it was less than ideal for a defender who already looks to not be held in favor within the defensive pecking order. It was his lax marking on Ramon Abila that led to the tiebreaker which scrambled the Whitecaps’ confidence for a little and one could sense his frustration at squandering his opportunity to mark his place on the team. Disappointing to put him so much lower than the rest of the team, but it was his lapse that led to the deciding goal. Jake Nerwinski: 4.5 Gaspar starting before him really allowed one to see Jake’s limitations as a player. Gone was the agility and speed, and in it’s place was a defender that didn’t look too sure of himself in the field. The addition of Nerwinski wasn’t necessarily a change that inspired thoughts of a full frontal assault from the Whitecaps, especially with Gaspar having played positively throughout his time on the field, carrying the ball forwards with skill and agility. (Something which Nerwinski failed to do on an occasion that presented him with open field.) It seemed a listless performance amongst a team that was playing at a different level. Leonard Owusu: 5.0 Again, not necessarily an attacking substitution, but Owusu did his job. Good to see him back on the field, but it’s tough to not see him as taking away an attacker’s opportunity especially when he’s taking off the weaker wing player in Teibert whenever he comes on. Not enough time to make an impact, he didn’t really do much to change the team’s fortunes. Ryan Raposo: 5.0 The same can be said for Ryan Raposo. Raposo has shown his dynamism and ability last season, and it doesn’t necessarily strike one as that of a game changing sub, so the continued insistence on the 2020 draft pick may seem baffling to some. With other attacking options, maybe someone else could relish the opportunity to feast on a Loons team that was low on confidence at the time. That’s not to say Raposo didn’t play well, but he just didn’t really do much of note aside from some alright touches on the night. Sub 5: N/A Honestly, I feel like I was very optimistic with the ratings for most of the players this week, so I welcome any disagreements if you feel like any number doesn’t accurately reflect the performance on the field. I was just super impressed with how competent the team seemed to play today (Possibly due to my expectations being below 2019 level) but as this becomes the new norm (If it does) these ratings will drop as the standard rises. So take this as a reflection of their performance as compared to their standard. Disagree with any of the ratings above? Sound off in the comments with your opinion.