Three Takeaways: Whitecaps Draw Galaxy On The Road

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park

ANALYSIS – The Vancouver Whitecaps got just their second point of the season on Saturday evening, drawing LA Galaxy in a very open stalemate. With the goal scoring once again falling on the defenders, the Whitecaps’ search for their first win continues.

Three Takeaways: Whitecaps Feisty Draw Against Galaxy

#1: Andres Cubas Already an All-Star

While many Whitecap players put in a good shift in this match, none were as dynamic, aggressive and intelligent in their role as Andres Cubas. The 26-year-old Paraguayan midfielder was electric in the heart of midfield, sprinting left, right and forward to press, anticipate play, intercept and tackle. According to Fotmob, he had a 94% pass accuracy, 7 successful long balls, 10 recoveries, 5 interceptions and 5 tackles, the most out of any player on the pitch.

Even watching him on the screen, you could see the way that he plays relies on an elite-level understanding of space, timing and his opponent’s visual field. Constantly sneaking up on his opponent’s blind spot, he is capable of turning on the switch and throwing his body into a tackle to ensure that his opponent does not keep possession. While there may be major concerns in both the attack and the defence this season, there are no worries about who bosses that midfield. Cubas has it covered. It won’t be long before he is called up to the MLS All-Star game with his form.

#2: Whitecaps’ Attack Drawing Blanks Once More

The last thing you want to see from a new DP forward who has yet to hit the ground running after four matches in seeing him go down injured inside 35 minutes. Sergio Cordova has had a relatively quiet time so far in Whitecaps colours, but to be fair to him, he is still getting up to speed with the team due to a lack of real pre-season.

What is concerning now is how long he will be out due to said injury, and whether he will be able to get back up to speed upon his return. Because if a month or two goes by, and your star striker still isn’t quite there yet, then you are inevitably going to invite scepticism and concern.

On the other side, the Whitecaps still do have another striker in Brian White. The unfortunate part about White is that he can’t buy a goal right now. He had a golden opportunity in the second half to snatch a win when he was put one-on-one with the substitute goalie Jonathan Klinsmann, but his chipped effort went wide. White hasn’t scored an MLS goal since September 10th, in a 3-1 away loss to Colorado.

That’s not the kind of form that a senior striker wants to be in, especially when threatened by a new DP striker. Add that Ryan Gauld missed a sitter, heading what should have been an easy tap into an open goal astray, and the attack this match just seemed to be unable to be clinical no matter what came their way. With zero goals from attacking players so far in MLS, Head Coach Vanni Sartini will be hoping his attack can start to shoulder the goalscoring load sooner rather than later

#3: Nervy Defence Once More

The Whitecaps have conceded six goals this season in the MLS, in just four games. While many were previously pointing fingers at the Caps’ woeful set-piece defending, against Galaxy they actually did fairly well in that regard. What let them down was their organization in the box in open play.

Part of the game plan for Sartini was to sacrifice the width of the pitch to ensure that they protect the middle, but the defence was struggling to do that in the first half. Players like Riqui Puig and Efrain Alvarez were pulling the defence apart, and were unlucky to have two goals disallowed, one for offside and one for handball. The defence seemed just a tad lethargic and struggled to cope with incisive drive crosses from the wing.

Once again, detractors will point to Sartini’s philosophy and tactical set-up, but the players need to shoulder the burden as well. The setup is not revolutionary, nor is it ridiculous. It just requires its players to have to be at 100%, and many defenders seemed to be at no more than 80% in this match. Whether Sartini can adapt to make up for this or if his players can finally step up, it will continue to be a stain on the season so far.

You can catch the Whitecaps’ next game against Minnesota United next Saturday at 5:30pm PST/ 8:30pm EST on TSN or Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass. 


Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports on March 18, 2023, of Javain Brown Headshot and Dejan Joveljic Headshot.