Just a few words on what was a pretty entertaining 2-2 draw on Wednesday night in Harrison:
• The contrast in styles made the game. RBNY looked like their old selves, pushing and pressing as high and hard as possible, while Vancouver sat back to absorb – especially in the first half. The 'Caps have done this a bunch this year, and they're getting pretty damn good at it.
• One of the things about pressing that is so obvious you almost forget it from time to time: You need center backs who can move their feet and defend in space. RBNY rookie Sean Nealis was one of the heroes against Atlanta at the weekend, but he was definitely not that on Wednesday. Vancouver went right at him on the break at every opportunity:
The opposite side of that coin is that this was probably Joaquin Ardaiz's best game so far. He made that first goal, and had a bunch of other opportunities where he was able to get into space and cause problems.
But he didn't score. He's now got 12 games and 300 minutes under his belt and has not shown much of a finishing touch, nor much of an instinct for link-up play in possession. You can see the raw talent – he's big, fast, strong, has a good first touch, great change-of-pace and acceleration, and strikes the ball well – but you can also see why he's never consistently produced goals at any of the stops on his career.
Still just 21, though, so he'll get more time.
• Brian White has produced goals everywhere, and now that's starting to include MLS. He got his third of the year and fourth in his MLS career, which is a very small sample size of about 630 minutes.
His goal in this one was just the barest deflection off an Amro Tarek header, an instinctual flick that turned out to be necessary as a 'Caps defender was there to clear the ball off the line without it. On Twitter at least one person called the goal soft, which I think is kind of ridiculous – being in the right place at the right time for a one-touch finish is a skill. Poaching is a skill. Being able to affect the game without needing it to go through you is a skill.
I'm not sure what White's long-term upside is, but again: he's been a reliable goalscorer at every level he's ever played at. And he is, at worst, the third-best backup center forward (depending on whether or not you consider Jesus Ferreira and Tesho Akindele to be starters) in MLS in 2019.
• Both teams rotated heavily. Get used to that as the schedule continues to be pretty damn compact in the coming weeks and months.
• Vancouver probably should have won with a late breakaway, but Luis Robles stood tall and Inbeom Hwang made a shockingly selfish choice to shoot from a bad angle rather than squaring for a trailing, unmarked teammate at the top of the box.
Both teams should be relieved with the point. Both teams should be angry they didn't get more. Midweek MLS at its finest.