Three late winners and all of a sudden the Vancouver Whitecaps have nine points, and at the time of writing this, sit second in the league. Does Vancouver deserve those nine points based solely on their overall performance during the last three games? Absolutely not. In fact, it could easily be argued they would have been lucky with three points. However, points are not distributed based on overall performance.
During post-game interviews players are quick to praise the performance of their teammates and while soccer is a team sport, points are often earned by individual moments of brilliance. A string of individual moments over a 90 minute period makes for a perfect performance. The Whitecaps were far from perfect last night against the visiting Timbers, but they managed to have enough moments of individual brilliance to steal all three points. The two most noteworthy were obviously the stunning save in the 89th minute by David Ousted, followed shortly after by a pinpoint pass by Morales to find Earnshaw, who in turn put into effect all his years of experience to calmly score the winning goal.
David Ousted A
Just another day at the office for Ousted. We were all hoping he would get his third shutout of the season but alas it was not in the stars. Hard to fault him for the Portland goal. His defence should hang their heads in shame for that crime against defending.
Steven Beitashour C
Beitashour continues to struggle this season. He did show signs of improvement but still has far to go. To be brutally honest, he has only retained his starting position due to the fact the Whitecaps lack a solid replacement. If he continues to struggle we could see Harvey switch sides and replace him.
Kendall Waston B-
Waston continues to be a solid starting defender. He has moments when he suddenly finds himself out of position and that is the aspect of his game he must improve.
Pa-Modou Kah B-
Waston and Kah are almost carbon copies. Big, strong, love a strong tackle but at times are a complete liability. Last week in Orlando we saw Diego Rodriguez put in a strong performance. He too is very similar to Kah and Waston but he has a calmness that the other two lack. This is why Kah may eventually find himself on the bench.
Sam Adekugbe B+
The young Canadian suffered a severe bruise last week in Orlando, and I was simply stunned to see him in the starting eleven last night. My shock quickly turned to happiness thanks to the fact that an injured Adekugbe is still the first choice LB over Jordan Harvey.
Matias Laba C-
The Whitecaps lost the battle for the midfield last night, which is a rarity when Matias Laba is on the pitch. Even on a bad night Laba still breaks up countless enemy attacks, which is a testament to his talent.
Gershon Koffie C-
Koffie has been average at best this season. He was largely invisible last night, and I feel I’m being generous giving him a C-. When Russell Teibert returns from international duty he will surely reclaim the DM role.
Nico Mezquida B-
A beauty free kick goal was his best goal since joining Vancouver. He looks dangerous but he like most of the Whitecaps had an off night.
Erik Hurtado C
Erik had a few sprints but was largely irrelevant on the night. With Manneh available for selection against LA, Hurtado will likely return to the bench where he belongs.
Pedro Morales C
Rough start to the season for Morales. He is yet to find his 2014 form. Even with him playing far below his capabilities he still is one of the best players on the pitch. On a bad day Morales only needs to make one or two killer passes which results in a victory.
Octavio Rivero B
Rivero continues to show his skill but still has room to improve. He and Morales still are lacking chemistry, and when they eventually get on the same page the rest of the league should be shaking in their boots.
Kianz Froese A-
Two substitute appearances in a row for Kianz and the young Canadian has impressed both the fans and his coach. He has the build to succeed in MLS and he possesses a cool head far beyond his years. He will continue to improve and earn MLS minutes as a sub. So much talent, it is only a matter of time, maybe as early as 2016, before he cracks the starting eleven.
Deybi Flores A-
Flores signed with the Whitecaps only a short while ago with little fanfare. The simple truth is that we didn’t know much about him. Well, we can all see that Robinson has found yet another hidden jewel. Flores came on for Koffie and he had an immediate impact. His driving runs deep at the heart of the tired Portland defense gave Borchers and Ridgewell fits, and for a few moments I was sure he would cap off his performance by lashing in a long-range goal.
Robert Earnshaw A
He signed. He came on. He forever found a spot in the hearts of Vancouver supporters. His presence as a leader in the dressing room will do wonders for the youngsters and why not sub him in late to score a few winning goals. Another weapon for Carl Robinson to nonchalantly unleash on the opposition.