Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2 Inter Miami: Player ratings as Robert Taylor shines for the Herons

Inter Miami pulled off a narrow 1-0 triumph over Vancouver Whitecaps without a few important and high-profile players in the side.

The south Florida side rocked up to BC Place in search of three points but were without key figures Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets as the trio were given a rest by head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.

Vancouver pressed hard for the opener with a few solid half-chances created. The Whitecaps were the better side in the opening 10-15 minutes, but they failed to take advantage of their strong start. Even though Messi and Suarez didn’t make the trip to northwest Canada, Finland international Robert Taylor stepped up to open the scoring and put the Herons in front.

Jordi Alba sliced the Vancouver defense open with a simple through-ball that Taylor latched onto, and the veteran winger cut inside on his preferred right foot and sent in a curling effort past Yohei Takaoka. It was a brilliant goal all around to give Martino’s side the early advantage on the road.

Much like the beginning of the contest, the Whitecaps came out swinging in the second half and came close to equalizing. Former Nashville SC player Fabrice ‘Fafa’ Picault’s headed effort appeared to have deflected off one of Serhiy Kryvtsov’s hands — but there was no VAR review. Moments later, the Herons sprung forward on the offense with Taylor causing mayhem once again.

The 29-year-old turned Mathias Laborda inside out with a quick move to the byline before setting up Leo Campana in front of goal. Campana — who bagged the winning goal in stoppage time last week vs DC United — found the back of the net for the second consecutive match to double Miami’s lead.

Vancouver found a lifeline just before the 70th minute when referee Joe Dickerson went to the VAR monitor after Tomas Aviles body-checked Picault in his own penalty area. It was a silly challenge from the young defender who’s inexperience was on display in that very moment — and he may have been lucky to not be shown a second yellow card. Ryan Gauld stepped up to slot the penalty home from 12-yards-out to cut Miami’s lead in half midway through the second half.

The hosts gave it one last push in front of their supporters, pinning Miami back in the final 10 minutes plus stoppage time at BC Place. It wouldn’t be enough, though, as Miami withstood the pressure from Vancouver to pick up their 10th win of the 2024 MLS campaign to remain in first place in the Supporters’ Shield race.

Rojas started at right-wingRojas started at right-wing

Rojas started at right-wing / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

GK: Drake Callender – 6/10 – Didn’t have much to do on the night thanks to solid defending from his backline.

RB: Marcelo Weigandt – 7/10 – Combined with his teammates well up-and-down the right-hand side.

CB: Tomas Aviles – 6/10 – Stepped up to make a few big clearances and interventions before his pointless body check on Picault in the second half to give away a penalty. He was lucky to stay on the pitch having already been shown a yellow card prior to that moment in the game.

CB: Serhiy Kryvtsov – 7/10 – An performance from the veteran center-back after his average display last week vs DC United.

LB: Jordi Alba – 7/10 – An excellent yet slightly frustrating showing from the Spaniard. His pass to setup Taylor was sublime, but he picked up an early yellow card that was avoidable and could’ve grabbed an assist earlier on in the match had he squared a pass across goal to Rojas.

CM: Julian Gressel – 6/10 – The player neither helped nor hindered his side.

CM: Yannick Bright – 6/10 – Struggled in the first half in place of Sergio Busquets, which is understandable due to the difference in quality between the two.

CM: Benjamin Cremaschi – 7/10 – An excellent night from the teenage midfielder. He was just about everywhere tracking back to make recoveries in defense and kickstart attacks going forward.

RW: Matias Rojas – 6/10 – A quiet night from the Paraguay international who didn’t make much happen on the right-hand side.

ST: Leo Campana – 7/10 – Held the ball up nicely at times to aid his side’s progression up the pitch. Remained calm and composed with his close-range finish to add to Miami’s lead.

LW: Robert Taylor – 9/10 – Caused all sorts of chaos on the left-wing. Was very direct and wasn’t afraid to take his man on.

Substitutes

SUB: Federico Redondo (65′ for Benjamin Cremaschi) – 6/10

SUB: David Ruiz (82′ for Matias Rojas) – N/A

SUB: Leo Afonso (88′ for Robert Taylor) – N/A

SUB: Noah Allen (88′ for Julian Gressel) – N/A

Manager

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 8/10 – Managed the game quite well without his three most important players. Even though his side were under duress late on, they stood tall to hold on for the three points.

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