Last time out we took a look at the the multitude of defenders on the Whitecaps roster and awarded season ratings based on objectivity and science.
This time we take a look at the less crowded area of midfielders.
Russell Teibert- The official Whitecaps site archly lists Teibert as a forward. He’s not. This season however (or rather this half-season coinciding with the appointment of Sartini) Teibert demonstrated that he could do more than simply scamper back to receive the ball from a central defender, before returning the ball to the same central defender with unerring accuracy. He hit intelligent forward passes, got some assists and even scored a goal. Aside from the period where Martin Rennie tried to turn him into an MLS Arjen Robben it was Teibert’s most impressive run of form as a Whitecap. That was both pleasing to see and yet somehow tinged with the melancholy of the lingering shadows of all the seasons that might have been had his coaches asked more of him.
Janio Bikel- There were those (me) who hoped that this season Bikel would show the quality to impose himself in the midfield role. Be an upgrade on Teibert and give the Whitecaps the combination of steel and guile they’ve been missing for so long. But it never happened or, if it did, it happened in fits and starts and Bikel was relegated to the bench without ever performing well enough to win his place back. A hugely disappointing season.
Leonard Owusu- During pre-season Owusu earned rave reviews for his performances. Mar Dos Santos took this as unacceptable behaviour and barely played him for months on end. Vanni Sartini did play him and, while he could be fitful in his level of play, Owusu did offer at least some of the steel and some of the guile that the Whitecaps have been missing for so long.
Michael Baldisimo– Sartini tried Baldisimo as a central defender and although the idea of turning him into a Koemanesque lynch pin of the defence seems appealing it didn’t work. Neither did Baldisimo work in midfield this season and it’s hard to see how he ever will while Sartini is in charge. Sartini needs his two central players to be water carriers and Baldisimo’s game is built on accepting the occasional leak in return for the possibility of jets of inspiration. Baldisimo needs to be somewhere where he will play football regularly.
Patrick Metcalfe- There was no shame in Metcalfe failing when he was played in central defence and there was no shame when he failed when played as a wing-back (there was bafflement, but no shame). But on the few occasions when Metcalfe did get to play in central midfield he still remained an anonymous figure. A sadly failed audition.
Caio Alexandre– Injury curtailed his season to make any genuine assessment impossible. But Alexandre showed glimpses of what he could do going forward and the possibility of him linking up with Gauld remains intriguing.
Next time out we look at the forwards!