Rangers loanee Fraser Aird bounces back on his second start for Vancouver Whitecaps

Rangers FC

The 21-year-old right-back put in a solid performance on Saturday night to help the Canadian club record a 2-1 win at the Seattle Sounders.

After a difficult debut for the Vancouver Whitecaps two weeks ago, Rangers loanee Fraser Aird managed to answer some of his critics on his second MLS start.

The 21-year-old Canadian international joined the Whitecaps in late January on a season-long loan with the aim of replacing departed right-back Steven Beitashour, but a poor showing in the season-opening 3-2 loss to the Montreal Impact saw him lose his place to Jordan Smith.

Smith did not fare any better in the following weekend’s trip to Sporting Kansas City, however, as Carl Robinson’s men fell to a 2-1 defeat after the Costa Rican was shown a straight red card in first-half stoppage-time for a rash challenge on Graham Zusi.

His sending off meant Aird was thrust back into the starting XI for last night’s match at the Seattle Sounders after coming on for the second half against SKC, and having learnt from his disastrous debut, the one-time capped Canuck bounced back with a much-improved performance.

Vs Seattle Total TacklesSuccessful TacklesInterceptionsTotal ClearancesTotal CrossesKey PasssesTotal PassesPassing AccuracyMins Played
Fraser Aird 5 5 1 1 5 1 38 82% 90

Despite facing arguably the league’s best left-sided duo in Clint Dempsey and Joevin Jones, the Toronto-born defender held his own for the most part, recording a match-leading five tackles and an interception to help his side secure a narrow 2-1 win.

He also looked good whenever he had the chance to get forward, sending in five crosses over the course of the match, and he recovered well on the occasions when he was caught out of position.

It certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing, as he committed a few silly fouls on Dempsey during the first half, but for someone who doesn’t have much match experience at the position, most would agree that it was a successful outing.

The utility man’s teammates were also full of praise for his display, particularly goalkeeper David Ousted, who told the club’s official website after the match: “I don’t think we were afraid Fraser wasn’t going to bounce back. I spoke to him and just told him I need him to be solid and do what he does in training every day, which is show up with a lot of heart and get into it, and today he did tremendously. He got in the way of a lot of things.”

The test now will be to see whether Aird can keep improving over the coming weeks and months, but Saturday’s display certainly offered plenty of positives to work with as he adjusts to playing regularly on the backline.

He previously showed a great deal of promise during his early days at Rangers before his playing time became limited in recent seasons, and given that his loan is with a view to a permanent move, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future if he continues to impress.

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