Going in to the off-season it was clear that the number 1 priority for the Vancouver Whitecaps was to address their pitiful striker situation. On Christmas day the Whitecaps confirmed the signing of young designated player Octavio Rivero. As it currently stands, the Whitecaps have Rivero, Darren Mattocks, Erik Hurtado, and, dark horse, Caleb Clarke as their options for the upcoming season at striker. For the majority of last season (after Miller left), Carl Robinson played a one striker formation. As a result, it is unclear whether the signing of Rivero is it, and the Whitecaps are going to rely on last year’s woeful options as backup, or if there is more to come.
Pending the updated collective bargaining agreement (why have we not heard anything about that btw), the Whitecaps are currently full-up when it comes to designated players with Pedro Morales, Matías Laba, and Rivero. Luckily, Rivero and Laba are classified as young designated player which means they only count $200,000, each, towards the salary cap while Morales will count the usual $387,500. A bit of an added bonus, because Rivero was a ‘young DP’, the Whitecaps did not have to ‘purchase’ their third DP slot. What does this all mean? Unless the number of DP players allowed changes, in the updated collective bargaining agreement, the Whitecaps will have to look towards lower priced players to further address their scoring woes. However, because their two young DPs count the same as one ‘regular’ DP, the Whitecaps may have some money to play with that might assist in their search. Don't forget the allocation money from the expansion draft and CONCACAF.
In the article welcoming Rivero, the comments began to shift towards who else could be brought in. In an effort to further that discussion I thought we could discuss some options currently within MLS that might be acquirable. Beginning this discussion, Glass City proposed a potential trade with the Portland Timbers to try and lure away Matías Laba’s former teammate Maximiliano Urruti while Spencer Phinney posited several veteran options in Jack McInerney, Will Bruin, Chad Barrett, Kenny Cooper, Robbie Findley, and Edson Buddle.
While my preference, and potentially the Timbers as Urruti costs less but performs equally, would be Fanendo Adi, however, Adi is a DP so that option is probably out. Urruti is an interesting proposal given the connection to Laba and the Latin feel Robbo is trying to create, however, I do not see the Timbers parting with Urruti given his affordable cost and the one-two punch he has formed with Adi. That is, unless, Urruti has voiced some unhappiness with his playing time, which I have not been privy.
Like Spencer, I feel that McInerney or Cooper would be fine additions and might be available for the right price. I think Chris Wondolowski might be a great option as well. The Whitecaps certainly have some assets to trade but I am not really sure that they would be willing to part with any of them. Unless there is another Salgado situation, where the player is truly unhappy, I do not see Robbo parting with Clarke or Dean or Sampson or anyone else. It would seem to contradict his overall game plan thus far.
One potential option that I would like to float out, that has probably not been discussed, is the idea of bringing in NASL Golden Boot and Young Player of the Year award winner Christian Ramirez. His campaign for the Golden Boot can be viewed at here. At 23, Ramirez is still young, with plenty of potential and would not take an international spot on the roster. While his fee would probably be high, given his recent success, that fee would probably be considerably lower than any other real options given that he has been playing in the NASL.
While a few names have been proposed here, it would be great to hear from all of you as to what you feel the Whitecaps should do, and could do. Do they stand pat? Do they look to the international market? Do they look for a solid MLS veteran?