The Vancouver Whitecaps defeat the Columbus Crew 2-1

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Vancouver Whitecaps Match Ratings vs the Columbus Crew 

GK – Joe Cannon – In the first half Joe Cannon played exactly as a sound goalkeeper should. He didn’t make any spectacular, breathtaking saves, and he didn’t make a meal of any low percentage scoring chances Columbus had. In the second half he was caught out of position on the lone Columbus Crew goal. The Crew capitalized on a quick turnover and Cannon was not in a proper position to make a save off of Jairo Arrieta’s shot. To Cannon’s credit he rebounded from that play and was able to shut the door and keep his team in the lead once Kenny Miller scored. Cannon can simply not be caught out of position. If Cannon can stay healthy and avoid any costly blunders it will be his net to lose with Brad Knighton watching from the bench. 6.5/10

LB – Alain Rochat – Rochat clearly needs to work on his free kick attempts. There were numerous times where Rochat was called upon to take a free kick for Vancouver. His attempt to play the ball into the box or score directly past the keeper were terrible. One particular kick went well over the bar in the first half. It does not make sense for the Whitecaps to have a left back taking free kicks. Y.P. Lee, Daigo Kobayashi, Gershon Koffie, and perhaps Darren Mattocks should give it a go when the Whitecaps are awarded a free kick. On the defensive side of the game it was Rochat and Andy O’Brien who were criss-crossed on the Arrieta goal. Rochat is known for his outstanding defensive ability and that’s why he should not be getting forward and involved in the offense. 5.5/10 

CB – Brad Rusin – Rusin came on for Jay DeMerit last Saturday and looked absolutely flawless however he looked a little shaky against Columbus. Rusin fell down going for the ball seconds before Arrieta scored. Rusin seemed to injure his arm on the play but was able to continue on. The best contribution Rusin made was on the offensive side of the ball. In the 43rd minute Rusin was able to get his head on a Daigo Kobayashi corner only to have the ball hit the post twice. First on direct contact and then off the keepers face. In only his second MLS game, and first career start Rusin is learning the ropes when he most likely would be sitting on the bench. Rusin has played superbly in the absence of Jay DeMerit and is a key component on the Whitecaps back line. 6.5/10

CB – Andy O’Brien – O’Brien was unable to coral Jairo Arrieta after he received a pass from Ben Speas. He may not be the fastest Vancouver Whitecaps player but he makes up for it with his smarts, and great strength on defense. O’Brien and Brad Rusin are going to have to be the key stop gauge for the Whitecaps on defense this season. Through two games the Whitecaps have given up 1 goal, and Andy O’Brien is a big reason why. He was able to prevent the Columbus Crew from converting on any of the free kicks, and five corners they had. Federico Higuain is a tremendous player when he is looking to dish the ball to his teammates and O’Brien was a big difference in Higuain not finding the score sheet. 6.5/10 

RB – Y.P. Lee – Y.P. Lee had another great game for the Whitecaps. He was not caught out of position at anytime and he was sound defensively.When he is able to get forward and join the attack he created plenty of scoring chances for the Whitecaps. Y.P. Lee set up Kenny Miller with a beautiful opportunity to score in the first half as well as a lovely scoring chance for Camilo in the second half. Y.P Lee frequently provides brilliant crosses into the box, and it’s only a matter of time before a Whitecaps player connects and scores. Y.P. Lee is never caught out of position and always knows just when to read a play and get forward, he is clearly the best defender on the Whitecaps. 7/10

LM – Jun Marques Davidson – Jun Marques Davidson’s is great at having fans, and media not notice him during a match. He does such a fantastic job playing back in the midfield preventing opponents from launching an attack. The key player for the Columbus Crew is Federico Higuain and Davidson made sure he had little or no time and space to create a goal for his team. Other than free kicks and corners, Higuain was non-existent. Davidson blocked a shot with his groin when he formed a Whitecaps wall late in the game. He was tended to and left the field momentarily. That’s exactly the kind of commitment you need from a player to succeed and gets wins in MLS. 7/10

CM – Nigel Reo-Coker – Reo-Coker’s vision and high pedigree of football experience shone through for the Whitecaps once again. His slick passing and calming effect on his teammates is exactly what a leader and the Whitecaps need. Reo-Coker plays like a general on the pitch with his instructions for teammates that seem to be welcome. Reo-Coker had a brilliant opportunity to put the Whitecaps up 2-0 just before the end of the first half but he missed a wide open yawning net. Reo-Coker sailed his shot well over the net, letting Columbus escape another fantastic Vancouver scoring chance. He will be dreaming about that missed chance while it is shown on blooper shows for years to come. The Whitecaps didn’t acquire Nigel Reo-Coker for his scoring prowess but c’mon your grandma could have scored on that play. Nigel Reo-Coker is a captain in the making for the Vancouver Whitecaps and thus far he has been an excellent addition to the team. 7/10

CM – Gershon Koffie – Did Gershon Koffie even play in this game? The extremely talented Ghanaian midfielder earned such praise from fans, media, and teammates during the week after his game winning goal against Toronto FC but he did nothing against the Columbus Crew. With his teammates buzzing around the opponents net Koffie was not involved. If he is going to eventually make the move to Europe one day and become a star player like everyone thinks he can he should not be taking games off. Perhaps Koffie was asked to play more a defensive role, if that’s the case he did a great job. However he should be able to excel at both ends of the pitch. Koffie did not leave a stamp on this game, and factor into this game like he should have. 6/10

RM – Daigo Kobayashi – Kobayashi improved on his fantastic second half play last week against Toronto FC early on with a screamer of a goal from 35 yards out six minutes into the match. Daigo Kobayashi caught everyone in BC Place Stadium off guard with an absolute strike from distance that nobody saw coming. His wonder goal got the stadium going and was a catalyst for the plethora of Whitecaps scoring opportunities in this match. The Whitecaps signed Kobayashi for is creative playmaking ability however his ability to read the play and capitalize on an a shot from well out is what led to his first goal of the season. Columbus goalie Andy Gruenebaum had no chance on the wonder strike and did not play the shot very well. Kobayashi had some bad passes that were picked off later in the game but for the most part he was one of the best players on the pitch for both teams. 8/10

ST – Kenny Miller – When the Whitecaps brought Kenny Miller over to MLS last season his game against Columbus is just what they envisioned from him. Miller was running all over the pitch like his shorts were on fire. In the opening half the Scotsman had three glorious scoring chances, and could not convert on any of them. The first was a perfect delivery in the box from Darren Mattocks and Miller could not get to the ball. The second resulted in a point-blank save from Columbus goalie Andy Gruenebaum. Miller had his third opportunity blocked by a Columbus defender before the ball got to Gruenebaum. Instead of coming onto the pitch for the second half disappointed, and frustrated Kenny Miller took his game to another level that Whitecaps fans had yet to see from him in his tenure with Vancouver. Miller broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when he stormed Columbus Crew defender Glauber and took the ball from him. Miller then slotted the ball past the goalie to give his team a 2-1 lead. If that wasn’t great to see, Miller had a breakaway in the 80th minute and looked over to his right and passed the ball to rookie Erik Hurtado who had a wide open net. Hurtado converted but the flag was up for offside and the goal was disallowed. Kenny Miller might not be a long-term solution for the Whitecaps captaincy but on this occasion he played exactly how you expect a captain to play. 8.5/10

ST –  Darren Mattocks – Mattocks created a great deal of scoring chances for his teammates in both halves. Kenny Miller was the recipient of Mattocks passing but he was unable to score from those chances. Mattocks hasn’t had too many chances to score himself, so it’s great to see that he is still staying involved in the play and helping out others around him. Last season we would have seen Mattocks pick up a yellow or red card if things weren’t going his way so it’s nice to see him evolve. With the extra attention Mattocks is drawing from defenders this season he needs to work on using his speed to get open. Time and space are key for a player who can rack up goals like Darren Mattocks, and he isn’t finding any of that thus far. 6/10

SUBSTITUTIONS:

LM – Camilo – Camilo made his first appearance for the Whitecaps in the 67th minute when he came on for a struggling Darren Mattocks. Camilo is making a ton of money sitting on the bench for the Whitecaps and his future with the Whitecaps could be in doubt if he isn’t going to get playing time in Vancouver. Camilo’s greatest chance to contribute came from a cross from Y.P. Lee that he couldn’t connect on. Camilo also had a free kick a few minutes later than didn’t materialize in a goal. Camilo certainly creates chances when he plays but with rookies Kekuta Manneh, and Erik Hurtado in the fold, Camilo’s days in Vancouver could be numbered. 6/10

ST – Erik Hurtado –  Hurtado continues to bring excitement to the pitch when he enters the game. Hurtado almost notched his first career MLS four minutes after coming on as a substitute for Daigo Kobayashi. He had a wide open net and put the ball in the net after receiving a generous pass from Kenny Miller. Hurtado could not believe he was whistled for offside and nether could the 18,078 fans in attendance. Hurtado has had two exceptional chances to score in both games this season, and he continues to makes strides with the first team. 7/10

My Man of the Match: Kenny Miller

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