Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grading Vancouver's Performance After Match Two

Two matches into the first season the Whitecaps have now tasted victory and defeat in the MLS as they lost to the second year Philadelphia Union.  Although it was a defeat and the Caps saw their designated player sent off, there were some positives that the Whitecaps can take away from the game.  Below are the grades for the players who made an appearance in the second game of the season.


Atiba Harris-After scoring the winning goal last week, Harris put in another solid effort as he worked hard and earned some fouls for the team.  He still struggles with his touch around the box as he had a couple chances to put the Caps ahead but couldn’t get his shot off.  GRADE: B-

Eric Hassli-He played his typical physical game but it was too physical for the referee of the match as he sent off before the 60th minute.  After receiving his first yellow card,
Hassli needed to tone back his play because once he was sent off the Union applied more pressure to the under manned Whitecaps squad which eventually led to their only goal.  GRADE: C+

Camilo-The Brazilian striker came on for the last ten minutes of the match for Atiba Harris.  Camilo was unable to create any chances as the Union were just playing keep away at that point.  We may see more of him next week as Hassli will be unavailable for the game and Camilo may get the start.  GRADE: C

Long Tan-History was made as Tan became the first Chinese international to make his debut in the MLS.  However he only got 5 minutes of playing time and was unable to make an impact.  GRADE: INC


Terry Dunfield-The acting captain for the match Dunfield had a solid game in the central midfield.  He didn’t have a similar impact on the offensive side but solid in winning balls defensively and closing the centre of the pitch.  GRADE: B

Russell Teibert-It didn’t take long for Teibert to get into the game as he attempted a shot on goal within the first 15 seconds of the match.  He continued his strong play but did struggle with the windy conditions as his normally accurate free kicks into the box were off target in this match. Teibert now joins the U20 team in the CONCACAF tournament in order to attempt to qualify for a spot in the U20 World Cup.  GRADE: B-

Gershon Koffie-The Ghanian teenager continues to impress on the defensive front as he partnered with Terry Dunfield to shut down the centre of the pitch.  He doesn’t look out of place in MLS and it is still uncertain it’s a given that he loses his spot in starting eleven when John Thorrington is 100% healthy.  GRADE: B-

Wes Knight- Coming on for Teibert in the 2nd half Knight brought in his speed and pressure onto the pitch.  While he did have some solid runs down the line and a wayward attempted shot late in the game, Knight was unable to create any significant chances.  GRADE: C+

Nizar Khalfan- After playing a solid game after coming on a 2nd half sub in the opener Khalfan didn’t follow up with a similar performance.  He gave the ball away too much including once that eventually led to the only goal in the game.  GRADE: C


Greg Janicki- I’ve had my doubts about Janicki being able to handle the MLS speed but he proved it in his debut on Saturday.  He was able to close down on the three forwards of the Philadelphia Union (Le Toux, Mwanga, Ruiz) and was the best Whitecap in the first half.  If his first game was any indication Janicki should be a solid starter this year for the Caps.  GRADE: A-

Alain Rochat- Moving over from his regular left back position Rochat acquitted himself well in the centre for the Caps.  Partnered with Janicki, Rochat helped shut down a solid trio of strikers and even had his moments of attacking the Union’s defense down the middle.  With DeMerit returning to his starting spot next week Rochat will move back to his wide position.  GRADE: B+

Jonathan Leathers- The only Whitecap defender to start at the same position for both weeks, Leathers played another solid game and even showed some attacking abilities.  However on the goal he allowed Ruiz to get passed him and stood asking for offside instead of attempting to stop the pass from Le Toux that set up the only score.  GRADE: C+

Blake Wagner- He took over for Rochat at the left back position and there was a definite drop off from the previous week.  Wagner was unable to get forward in an attacking position as he had to concentrate on Le Toux’s runs down the wing.  GRADE: C


 Joe Cannon- The MLS veteran was a late addition to the starting line-up, as Jay Nolly picked up a knock in training, and he proved he has lost a step.  Cannon was not very busy in first half but came up with some enormous saves in the second half keeping the Caps in the game especially after Hassli was sent off.  Cannon had no chance on the only goal that he allowed as it was a 2 man break with an easy tap in.  The only question is whether the performance was good enough to make him the permanent starter for the Whitecaps.  GRADE: A-


The Whitecaps went into their first match without a couple of key starters that tested their depth and there were a few lessons that werelearned.  The Caps can’t afford injuries but if they do suffer some they can grind out games to possibly to get some results. The Caps, especially Hassli, also have to learn the tendencies of the MLS referees and how to adjust it to their style in the game.  It was a tough lesson to learn so early in the season.  The Whitecaps should be in better position next week on April 2nd when they face Kansas City, even without Hassli, as DeMerit, Chiumiento, Salinas and Thorrington could all become available for first team action.  GRADE: B-

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