Etienne Barbara is currently looking for work - Rich Lam
The Vancouver Whitecaps cut ties with three players today in a completely unsurprising move. The 'Caps decided not to renew the contracts of Etienne Barbara, Brian Sylvestre and Tiago Ulisses, which means, well, pretty much nothing.
Martin Rennie made a few easy decisions today regarding his roster, bidding adios to three players that had little to no impact this season.
First up, Brian Sylvestre, who had been with the club since 2010. The youngster - he is only 19 after all- was a work in progress kind of player who didn't see the pitch this season. When you consider the circumstance, his release is pretty telling of the 'Caps assessment of his ability. After all, once Brad Knighton started running with the starting goalkeeper spot, rumors about Joe Cannon's jettison from the squad began flying. You would think that the latter part of the season would have been Sylvestre's chance to really prove himself in practice, to show that he was capable of being at least a solid #2 sooner rather than later. Instead, the 'Caps decided that he wasn't progressing quick enough, so out he goes.
Etienne Barbara is a bit of an interesting case. Acquired from the Carolina Railhawks of the NASL, Barbara was one of five hawks that found their way to the 'Caps following Martin Rennie's appointment as head coach. Matt Watson, Brad Knighton and Jun-Marques Davidson all saw time with the 'Caps this season, with Watson and Knighton truly coming to life late in the season. Davidson saw his playing time early in the season before being firmly planted to the bench, but he still made a decent contribution. That means that the only two that failed to impress were Floyd Franks (already gone) and Barbara, who, in all fairness was battling injuries all season long. Rennie appeared to be pretty high on the 30 year old Malta native, but couldn't justify picking up his option after a very ho-hum season. It's kind of disappointing that we never got to see Etienne at his full potential, because by what the coaching staff saw, Barbara was a player that could've played in the MLS. However, money talks, and in this case, it said spend elsewhere.
Finally, we have Tiago Ulisses, who brought nothing to the 'Caps besides a kickass name. The Brazilian was essentially a victim of too much depth at midfield after the addition of Barry Robson and Alain Rochat's move from left fullback. Ulisses was a long shot to see much playing time anyways, although he was scouted as having some offensive upside. I guess we'll never know now, but it's not like the team is going to be hurt by his departure.
Well folks, you're up to date in the world of minor roster moves. Check back in next week when I tell you if the team water boy will re-up his contract, or if the guy who runs the fireworks machine will sign a new deal. When does next season start, again?