Thursday, April 7, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus Revolution

The Whitecaps were two minutes away from collecting an impressive three points considering they played more than 30 minutes with at least one man down and a period of 18 minutes with two men down.  Despite giving up the injury time goal, the Caps turned in their best defensive performance as the entire backline as well as the goalkeeper had their best performances this year.  With the ejections and injuries, the team was playing a 4-3-1 formation and forced many players into the game earlier than expected. 


Atiba Harris- Many had reservations about Harris being a starting forward, with some in the media claiming he couldn’t hit the side of a barn but he does so many other things that make him valuable.  Harris did a great job holding up the ball as his teammates joined in the attack and creating havoc in the final third which eventually earned AJ Soares a red card.  He also leads the league in assists.  GRADE: B+

Camilo- The Brazilian’s second start saw him continue his strong attacking runs towards the box as he did against Kansas City.  Camilo was just as dangerous coming off the wing as he was moved to the midfield in the second half.  In the first he fired a ball just wide of the net and then earned a penalty kick in the second which led to the Caps only goal.  GRADE: B

Eric Hassli- The French striker went from hero to goat in a matter of seconds in yesterday’s game.  Hassli was looking like his dangerous self when he entered the game in the second half when he picked up a questionable yellow on a foul committed against him.  Then after he converted the penalty he removed his jersey and was ejected for a rule he should know. He leads or is tied in the league for goals, cautions and ejections.  GRADE: C+


Nizar Khalfan- After a setting up two goals as a sub in the previous game, Khalfan returned to the starting eleven on the left side.  Khalfan had great pace going forward and tracked back well on defense but was guilty of a couple of giveaways that didn’t hurt the team. After the sending off of Koffie, the Caps were forced to move Khalfan to the centre midfield spot until Harmse was brought in.  GRADE:  B

Terry Dunfield- A captain for Vancouver for the third straight game, Dunfield again had a solid game and was able to spread the ball out wide to the midfielders.  Unfortunately his day did not last long as Dunfield suffered a groin injury and was removed before the first half.  It was clearly a different game after that point for the Whitecaps.  GRADE:  B

John Thorrington- After missing the beginning of the season with a quad injury, Thorrington was called on earlier than expected when Dunfield went down with his injury.  The MLS veteran came into the game and played a solid game but was a little rusty due to the lengthy layoff.  Thorrington suffered a calf injury and will be unavailable for the Caps in Houston.  GRADE:  B-

Gershon Koffie- The teenage midfielder from Ghana was having another strong game before he was sent by a very harsh red card after incidental contact.  Koffie did a great job of slowing down Revolution captain and best overall player Sharlie Joseph as he was hovering around him the entire 1st half.  Including the next game Koffie may miss up to a month as he has been called up for international duty.  GRADE:  B-

Wes Knight- Another solid performance by Knight in the midfield as he is showing more confidence in his new role (he was a right back last year).  He had some great runs coming down the right side in the first half and also did an admirable job defensively handling the very dangerous left back Didier Domi.  Knight was substituted at the half for the eventual goal scorer Eric Hassli.  GRADE:  C+

Kevin Harmse- Playing in first professional game since June of 2009, Harmse did not look out of place on the pitch.  The Canadian international did a solid job defensively covering the right side of the midfield.  He did struggle connecting with his teammates going forward as it seems like chemistry will have to be developed.  GRADE:  C+


Alain Rochat- The Canadian born Swiss international proved he is a world class player with his performance against the Revolution.  Having moved inside for the 2nd time this year, Rochat showed impressive leadership and organization on the backline.  Rochat plays the game effortlessly whether it’s playing defense or going forward with the ball.  Now there may be a question of where he is more valuable on the side or in the middle.  GRADE:  A

Jonathan Leathers- Considering how dangerous New England’s left side is Leathers did an excellent job shutting down the wide runs of both Nyassi and Domi all night long.  Every game Leathers is proving to be a better right back than what was thought when he was selected in the expansion draft.  Each game Leathers is also showing more going forward with his runs down the right side.  GRADE:  B

Micheal Boxall- The Kiwi rookie had his best game playing centre half in his three starts as a Whitecap.  Playing alongside Rochat for the first time, Boxall played his physical game winning his share of balls in the air and solid tackles on the ground.  If he continues to improve at this pace it will be very hard for Janicki or Akloul to claim a spot in the starting eleven.  GRADE:  B

Blake Wagner- For the first time this season Wagner felt comfortable in his position and turned his best performance of the season.  He closed quickly on players when the ball was sent out wide on the right side and allowed very few runs into the box.  If Wagner continues the strong play he displayed against the Revolution, the Caps may have found a solid backup on the left side of the backline or midfield.  GRADE:  B-


Jay Nolly- The biggest bounce back performance from the game against SKC was turned in by goalkeeper Jay Nolly.  Last year’s D2 goalkeeper of the year was much more vocal than previous games and helped organize the backline.  Nolly was great at climbing to grab the ball on New England’s set pieces and made some fantastic saves late in the game.  GRADE:  A-


The Whitecap players that remained on the field played an admirable match as they left everything on the pitch but were unable to hold on for the win.  The ejections also effected the options for who could come in as Swiss sensation Davide Chiumiento remained on the bench as an unused sub.  The backline made very few errors and Jay Nolly proved he is capable of being a starting goalkeeper in the MLS.  Vancouver now turn their attention to the Houston Dynamo and will do so with a makeshift central midfield as their top three choice are either injured (Dunfield, Thorrington) or suspended (Koffie).  The Caps hope to see DeMerit, Chiumiento and Salinas available for full action and will also see the return of Teibert and Salgado from international duty.  GRADE:  B

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