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State of the XI: Pre-SuperDraft 2016

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Before we hunker down and intensely scrutinize the college students that may or may not go on to have productive soccer careers, let's see where the Vancouver Whitecaps currently are in their pre-season retooling.

File under "not for sale".
File under "not for sale".
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure we're all excited to see how the Chicago Fire manage to screw up drafting Josh Yaro with the first overall pick at this year's Major League Soccer SuperDraft. To be fair, with Frank Yallop out of the picture and an institutional sense of shame finally taking effect around the club, Chicago may do the sensible thing and draft Yaro, or do the mercantile thing and sell the pick for a sizable package of get-better-now assets. Either way, it would be wise for us as Vancouver Whitecaps supporters to remind ourselves what kind of team Carl Robinson and company currently have at their disposal. Should we be so quick to offer Darren Mattocks and/or Erik Hurtado to Chicago for that pick? Or is there another asset somewhere in the team that could be moved?

(All the players listed below are confirmed, rostered players - no rumours, projections or other silly season nonsense. We're also sticking with the 4-2-3-1 since, until we hear otherwise, that's Robbo's default formation.)

THE STARTING XI
ST: Octavio Rivero
AM: Cristian Techera, Pedro Morales, Masato Kudo
DM: Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie
FB: Jordan Harvey, Jordan Smith
CD: Kendall Waston, Tim Parker
GK: David Ousted

Of our first eleven players, the one player who stands out as a legitimately movable asset is Gershon Koffie. It's entirely likely Koffie may not want to move to another team in MLS (or at least a non-American team, if he's serious about trying for Canadian citizenship in the faint hope the Canadian Soccer Association can work some sort of FIFA appeal magic) if he has an option in Europe still on the table. If not, perhaps there's a move to be made. Koffie is a versatile, box-to-box midfielder that MLS teams would no doubt jump at (hello, New England Revolution; hello, Chicago Fire) provided they're willing to part with comparable assets.

Ignoring the trade viability (or lack therof) of the above players for a moment, that's not a bad XI to walk into March with - question marks at right-back notwithstanding. With one key upgrade on defense, Robbo will have a squad that oozes offensive potential mixed with a solid defensive core.

THE SECOND XI
ST: Darren Mattocks
AM: Kekuta Manneh, Nicolas Mezquida, Erik Hurtado
DM: Russell Teibert
FB: Sam Adekugbe
CD: Christian Dean, Pa-Modou Kah
GK: Marco Carducci

Oh dear. Unless Jackson Farmer is given a massive promotion from Whitecaps FC 2 to the first team, that lack of natural right-backs is glaring for Robbo & Co. Forget trading away players for assets; maybe the 'Caps trade assets for a player and grab an MLS-proven fullback (gee, where have I heard this refrain before... other than every [expletive] season of the Whitecaps' MLS existence). Putting that issue to one side, the two goats up top - Mattocks and Hurtado - will be the knee-jerk players on the trading block for many supporters. If that's what we in supporter land are thinking, how many MLS front offices feel the same way? In other words, do Mattocks and Hurtado have any value left in MLS beyond a token 4th-round pick and an upgrade on hotel accommodations? Perhaps there's a suitor in Europe willing to offer cash; if so, you have to think it'd be a better return than whatever pittance can be begged domestically.

...or, Option B: swindle Caleb Porter out of Fanendo Adi.

OUTSIDE THE XI
ST: -
AM: Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese
DM: Ben McKendry
FB: -
CD: -
GK: -

Hey, look, Canadians! No trades to be found here, barring Orlando City SC losing their minds and swapping all three for Cyle Larin. Or, hey, while we're in crazy cuckoo fantasy land, what about Harvey and one of the three Residency graduates for Sporting Kansas City's Marcel de Jong?

~

All right, armchair managers, let's hear it: what SuperDraft deals would you concoct? Are there any players or draft picks the 'Caps should be prioritizing?