Recently, some guy named Alain Rochat was apparently traded off the Whitecaps, causing a bit of a stir in the fanbase. (I kid, we're all butthurt beyond belief) In any case, it got me reminiscing about the rich, storied Whitecaps tradition in the MLS of making horrible roster moves. Yes, this brief list is focusing on the Whitecaps since they joined MLS, not their entire history. For the love of God, if you disagree with the list, remember we're just covering the last few years here.
In any case, here is the eightysixforever.com patented negativity list; The Whitecaps worst roster moves since they joined MLS.
4) DAVIDE CHIUMIENTO IS TRANSFERRED TO FC ZURICH
I thought about not including our dear friend Davide on this list, just because his transfer is still shrouded in mystery. While it was initially reported Chiumiento had asked for the transfer because of family issues, it was later revealed that he might have stayed for the right price. In any case, it seemed like the minute the Whitecaps cut Chiumiento loose, they were trying to get him back. Those rumors only intensified this off-season, when a dinner between Chiumiento and Rennie sent Whitecaps fans into a drooling frenzy (it turned out to be nothing).
Even if this was a family issue, this move hurt the Whitecaps big time. Chiumiento was a creative fan favourite that always had a great quote for the media, and his absence was felt immediately. Without his presence in mid, the Whitecaps would struggle in the latter half of the season, limping into the playoffs before getting bounced by the LA Galaxy. While the 'Caps mid has greatly improved since then with the signing of Nigel Reo-Coker and the emergence of Russell Teibert, this move nearly crippled the club at the time.
3) ALAIN ROCHAT IS TRADED TO DC UNITED
The Return: 2015 2nd round draft pick, conditional 2016 pick
This move is still fresh in the minds of Whitecaps fans, who had to watch one of their beloved fan favourites jettisoned from the squad before an important match with Seattle. It was a puzzling move at a puzzling time, especially considering how little the 'Caps got in return. They cited his high salary and sporatic play in 2013 as the reason for moving him, while Rochat chose to rip in to the entire situation. In an interview with Soccer By Ives, Rochat questioned the humanity of the move, considering he has a pregnant wife at home.
"This trade thing could be OK in the off-season. You can sit down and talk to the guys. ‘OK, it will be better for you to be traded,' said Rochat. "You know, like something human instead of, ‘OK, we don't need you anymore.'"
We all know how this fairy tale ended. Rochat was gone when the 'Caps hit Seattle, and despite holding a 2-1 lead at the half, an injury to Andy O'Brien would leave the 'Caps with a thin bench, forcing Greg Klazura into action. The fearsome foursome of Lee, Klazura, Leveron and Harvey couldn't get the job done, and the 'Caps gave up two goals in the second half, losing the contest. Terrible timing, terrible return, terrible move. Don't worry though; We still have Carlyle Mitchell!
The Cost: $440,000 (salary)
Do I even need to write about this one? When he wasn't screaming at his own players like a six year old that's just lost a shiny Charizard, Robson could be routinely found giving the ball away like a bed bath and beyond coupon at an art sale, or missing scoring opportunities like it was going out of style. Robson was hand selected by Martin Rennie to become the Whitecaps future franchise player, giving him the arm band when Jay Demerit missed time with a concussion.
That would never come to pass though, and he would be gone by the end of the season. How did the whole escapade exactly end? With a meeting with Whitecaps management, where Robson decided to take his ball and go home. While his teammates took to the pitch for training camp, Robson was on a plane headed back home. No one really minded.
1) MUSTAPHA JARJU IS SIGNED
The Cost: $426,883 (salary)
Oh man. Man oh freaking man. If there was ever a poster boy for a complete letdown, it was Mustapha Jarju, the high priced former Gambian International Captain who scored exactly zero goals and added exactly zero assists in ten uninspired matches for the blue and white. It wasn't just the stats that were so unbelievably frustrating for fans and management; Jarju was completely invisible on the pitch, known more for wasting his scoring opportunities than meeting the high expectations that was thrown on him the minute he put on a kit. As I alluded to before, stats don't tell the whole story, but 3 shots on goal in ten games? THREE?
Whether or not Jarju could have been used in a different position is a moot point. Like another red headed DP, Jarju was signed to much fanfare, he did next to nothing, and then he was gone quicker than a fart in a windstorm. Given his expectations, his horrible results and his price tag, the Mustapha Jarju signing tops our list, of the Whitecaps worst roster moves since they joined MLS. Let's be honest; no one here is surprised.