Thursday, July 21, 2011

Report Card: Whitecaps FC Versus San Jose Earthquakes

The Vancouver Whitecaps travelled to California hoping to snap their losing streak and to pick up their first road victory.  While a draw was not the result the club was hoping for, it is a good starting point that could lead the Caps into turning around a poor season.  It was the best game collectively for the midfielders while the makeshift backline had one of their worst performances as a group.


Eric Hassli- With so many eyes on the debut of the Caps newest DP, it was Hassli who stole the show with a brace that brought the Caps to level terms twice.  There is no doubt that the Frenchman is becoming a proven MLS goalscorer as he has a nose for the net and can finish his chances.  GRADE: A-

Davide Chiumiento- After missing the last few games with a hamstring injury, Chiumiento came on for Jarju as a sub in the second half.  There was no signs of rust as the Caps top playmaker looked dangerous playing in a withdrawn role including when he found Salinas down the wing which would lead to the second goal.  GRADE: B

Mustapha Jarju- The newest DP signing for the Whitecaps showed signs that there was good reasoning behind the acquisition.  All that seems to be required is time so Jarju can regain fitness and develop chemistry with Hassli and the rest of his teammates.  GRADE: B-


Gershon Koffie- This match may have been the coming out party for Koffie as he was able to put all the parts of his game together for the first time.  He continued his normal ways of winning the majority of the balls in the midfield but in this match he was able to improve his distribution including on the play that led to the second goal which he started after picking up a loose ball.  GRADE:  A-

Shea Salinas- While Salinas may have started a little flat, he impressed as the match continued with his runs down the sidelines.  Their best player in the preseason had his best game of the season as he assisted on both Hassli goals, with a perfectly wiegted pass and then a pass off the endline, and could have had a third if Camilo did not miss his chance.  GRADE:  B+

Camilo- Similar to Salinas, Camilo had a difficult time at the start of the match but while it didn’t show up in the stats the Brazilian impressed with his play as the game continued.  He continued his excellent delivery from set pieces and almost gave the Caps the lead as missed a header just wide when the score was tied at 2 a piece in the second half.  GRADE:  B+

Peter Vagenas- It was the veteran midfielder’s best game of the season as he has gotten better with every game.  He rarely ventured into the final third and allowed Koffie to become more of an impact player doing the hardwork for the club.  GRADE:  B

Nizar Khalfan- The Tanzanian midfielder came on as a sub late in the second half for the goalscorer Hassli which allowed to Camilo to move forward.  Khalfan was not able to make a major impact off the bench like he normally does but he did not hurt the team either.  GRADE:  B-


Jonathan Leathers- The leader of this group made the defensive play of the match as he was able to dispossess Lenhart in the box to keep the team within one.  He was often caught up the field on the attack which caused holes on the backline.  This performance came with Leathers playing the opposite side of his normal right side to the left back position.  GRADE:  B-

Michael Boxall- The Kiwi rookie had a difficult time when he was the best central defender on the pitch.  As the youngest one on the pitch Boxall needs either DeMerit or Rochat playing alongside him as he allowed Lenhart to get behind and acquire a chance on goal late in the game.  GRADE:  C+

Greg Janicki- It was Janicki’s worst game as a Whitecap this year and his pairing with Boxall allowed to much space for all the attackers.  Janicki has not had too much playing time under Sohen and that  may continue after his performance in his last match.  GRADE:  C

Jeb Brovsky- Normally Brovsky plays in the midfielde of the pitch, the American draftee showed his versatility playing the right back position.  However, both of the Quakes goals were because of slips by Brovsky which allowed Wondo to get into the clear.  GRADE:  C


Joe Cannon- The veteran goalkeeper had very little chance on the two goals scored by Wondowlowski and made a couple of key saves to preserve the draw.  Despite that, the goalkeeper helps with the organization of the backline and the performance by this group reflects poorly on Cannon.  GRADE:  B


The full three points and first road victory would have been perfect for the Whitecaps but a draw considering the holes in the backline is just as acceptable.  While that part of the starting eleven will improve next game with Rochat and Harvey returning to the lineup, it was the midfielders that impressed in this game.  Three of the four easily had their best performances of the season while Camilo continued his strong play.

Both Hassli and Chiumiento returned after lengthy injuries and made major impacts on the game with Hassli’s brace and Chiumiento's playmaking in the second half.  While he didn’t last long, subbing off early in the second half, Jarju played well off Hassli and will look to continue to improve fitness levels.  The Whitecaps now have a lengthy break of ten days to get healthy before they face the Los Angeles Galaxy, top team in the MLS, at Empire Field.  GRADE:  B+

This is not the typical 1-10 player rating scale
A:  Superstar Performance
B:  Solid Starter’s Performance
C:  Should Be On the Bench
D:  Not MLS Quality

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