It's early in the season, but this could wind up being a big game in the run of things. The win breaks a two-game slide for the San Jose Earthquakes, and gets them something out of this short home stand. With the April 25th home match rescheduled, this becomes even more crucial heading into a now four-game road trip.
This was by no means a complete or dominant performance. San Jose's central midfield remains a concern. Coach Dominic Kinnear opted to stick with the same central midfield and forward set as last match, highlighted by Chris Wondolowski dropping deeper and Adam Jahn anchoring the forward line. So far, this hasn't exactly made the Quakes look like an offensive juggernaut, and it has limited the effectiveness of Wondolowski. It's hard to believe that this is the long-term answer for San Jose.
Nevertheless, there's something to be said for beating league leading Vancouver Whitecaps while not playing your best. The 'Caps were certainly hindered by the fatigue of a midweek match, but even so, San Jose prevented a single shot on target for the entire game. If the Quakes can keep up this defensive stability, they'll have a great chance to get something out of most matches.
View last week's ratings here.
G David Bingham, 7 - Not one of his busier nights, and probably one of the more comfortable clean sheets in his career. His most memorable moment of the match came on a mistake, when he was booked for handling the ball outside of the penalty box. Still did well to interrupt a couple of crosses.
D Cordell Cato, 8.5 - I wasn't a believer initially, but there may be something to this Cato at side back thing. He seemed to turn up every time Vancouver had something going in attack. He got in the way of a couple brilliant Kekuta Manneh runs, and completely outplayed Darren Mattocks on the outside. Also contributed significantly on the goal. Hopefully he keeps this up.
D Clarence Goodson, 8 - Reliable as ever. Wasn't easily broken down and maintained composure in possession at the back. His most significant fault is dealing with the opposition's speed, and this was exposed a couple of times during the match. Clearly, though, it did not do too much damage to the team.
D Victor Bernárdez, 8.5 - The other half of the solid center back pairing. Much of the positives attributed to Goodson can also be said of Bernárdez, minus the composure in possession. Handled the hottest striker in the league, Octavio Rivero, with aplomb. The back line is something to build on for San Jose.
D Marvell Wynne, 7 - Did his job well, although was arguably a little quieter than usual after missing time due to injury. Still great to have him back, as he has made the right back position his own in the squad. In the next game or two he should get back to full flow.
M Fatai Alashe, 6.5 - His performances very much sum up what the Earthquakes are about right now: hard work and tenacity, but lacking some quality. To his credit, he did try to get forward more often in this game. Teammates were simply not looking for him with the ball. He's still very young and his overall game will improve.
M Matías Pérez-García, 7 - Always does well holding possession and moving the ball forward. Often gets fouled in the process. His service from set pieces this game wasn't as pristine as some of the matches earlier in this season. You almost wonder if he'd benefit from more of a clear number 10 role by himself, instead of alongside Wondolowski.
M Chris Wondolowski, 5.5 - It's just not working for him here. He had one clear look at goal all game, and it was a difficult volley that he put wide. As a natural forward, his instinct is to handle the ball in midfield with his back to goal, which leads to backward or lateral passes only. Kinnear's modified 4-3-3 needs central midfielders to turn and look upfield with passes. You just hope that Wondo won't be a casualty of the system.
F Sanna Nyassi, 8 - Caused problems all game, and his goal was well taken. Benefited from Wynne's return on the right side. With Salinas on the pitch, he regularly changed sides of the field, offering different looks to Vancouver's back line. Some of his shots were sloppy, but one hit the net, which made the difference in the end.
F Shea Salinas, 8 - Looked his dangerous self that Quakes fans have gotten used to over the years. Drove at the Whitecaps' side backs and was unpredictable in his movement and passing. Made himself very difficult to defend. His next step will be to improve his shooting when he gets into the space. But he made a good argument this game to retain a starting spot.
F Adam Jahn, 6 - Jahn's best play of the entire match was nullified on an offside call. That finish was clinical and showed what Jahn is capable of at his best. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough of that in the game. As a striker, the most significant thing he will be judged on is his chances around goal and how many he tucks away. So far, none have gone in without the flag up.
M JJ Koval, 6.5 - Injected some good energy into the game when he came in. Drove forward well and helped to press Vancouver late.
M Tommy Thompson, N/A - Didn't have enough time to impact proceedings
M Mike Fucito, N/A