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Beyond the Lens - Dirty Caps?

Dirty or just undisciplined

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

By now, it should be no secret that the Caps have had their issues with discipline. What will surprise you, as it did me, that they are not at the top (or bottom) of the league-wide table. As of Sept 28th, they are 18th, ahead of Orlando and DC United.

At time of publishing, it should come as no surprise that leading (?) the charge is Kendall Waston with 3 red cards. 2nd in the red card parade is Pedro Morales. Normally, when you think Pedro, you don’t think of a player who picks up a lot of bookings. When everything is totalled up, the Caps have been shown 7 straight red cards and 1 after Aird was shown 2 yellows.

After the Disciplinary Committee does there thing, 17 games have been lost either to straight red cards, accumulation or further action. Once again, Waston is leading the charge with 5 games missed (4/30, 5/14, 6/18, 6/25 and 10/2). Morales (6/18 and 10/16) and Bolanos (3/12 and 8/27) are tied for 2nd with 2 matches each. More than half are because of the aforementioned straight reds, which comes with an automatic one game suspension The others are: Smith (3/19), Kianz (3/19), Kudo (4/2), Laba (4/9), Manneh (5/7), Aird (5/22), Rivero (6/18) and Perez (10/16)

When push comes to shove, Carl Robinson can only do so much yelling at the players or however he chooses to communicate with them.

Onto slightly less depressing things. Own goals, not the Caps scoring them, but opposing teams scoring them. If it was an actual tangible stat kept by MLS, Own Goals would be tied for 3rd on the Caps in scoring with 3, beside Waston and Mezquida. Okay, that wasn’t less depressing as much as mildly irritating.

Seriously now, onto brighter things: Alphonso Davies. Yes, 15 year old Alphonso Davies. Liberia born and Edmonton raised. His meteoric rise from the Residency Program up to Senior Team has been told 15 different ways from Sunday. So, it should come as no surprise that Manchester United sent a scout to the home match against the Sounders to watch Alphonso. Former Cap, and current Liverpool scout, Andy O’Brien was also in town, mostly for the Alumni match, but also to watch Davies.

If he’s garnering interested from two English giants, you’d have to believe that other clubs are watching him from a distance. Now, the real questions are being brought to the forefront of the discussion:
1)How soon is he a Canadian resident
2)Can he be legally sold and play abroad before 18?

The answer to the first question depends on how long he’s been a permanent resident, and if the information I have is correct, it’s a minimum of 3 years of being physically in the country to even be allowed to apply for citizenship.

The second question is a bit more complicated. FIFA’s Regulations on Transfer of Minors reads as follows:

Article 19 Protection of minors

1.)International transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18.

2.)The following three exceptions to this rule apply:
a)The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football;

b)The transfer takes place within the territory of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and the player is aged between 16 and 18. In this case, the new club must fulfil the following minimum obligations:

i) It shall provide the player with an adequate football education and/or training in line with the highest national standards.

ii) It shall guarantee the player an academic and/or school and/or vocational education and/or training, in addition to his football education and/or training, which will allow the player to pursue a career other than football should he cease playing professional football.

iii) It shall make all necessary arrangements to ensure that the player is looked after in the best possible way (optimum living standards with a host family or in club accommodation, appointment of a mentor at the club, etc.).

iv) It shall, on registration of such a player, provide the relevant association with proof that it is complying with the aforementioned obligations;

c)The player lives no further than 50km from a national border and the club with which the player wishes to be registered in the neighbouring association is also within 50km of that border. The maximum distance between the player’s domicile and the club’s headquarters shall be 100km. In such cases, the player must continue to live at home and the two associations concerned must give their explicit consent.

3.)The conditions of this article shall also apply to any player who has never previously been registered with a club and is not a national of the country in which he wishes to be registered for the first time.

4.)Each association shall ensure the respect of this provision by its clubs.

5.)The Players’ Status Committee shall be competent to decide on any dispute arising in relation to these matters and shall impose appropriate sanctions in the event of violations of this provision.

What does all that really mean? It sounds as though Davies will be in North America until he’s 18, meaning the Caps have 2 full MLS seasons to develop Alphonso. Selling him at 18 would give the impression that MLS is a development and old timers league. On the flip side, keeping him here may be stunting any future development into a world class footballer.

And then there’s the issue of the Canadian men’s national team. How quickly do you cap tie him to Canada, assuming he wants to play. Do you do it emphatically (start him or give him significant minutes) or one of those “we’ll put you in during 2nd half stoppage time” to tie you things. Ultimately, it’s up to the new head coach to decide that. If I’m him, I’m keeping in contact with the Whitecaps to find out how quickly I can lock the kid in.

Other positives from the 2016 Whitecaps season, and yes, I know there’s still 2 games left include Andrew Jacobson and an apparent resurgence by Jordan Harvey.

As we all know, Jacobson was acquired early in the season from NYCFC for allocation money, debuting on March 19th in Seattle. His ability to play multiple positions in a competent fashion makes this, to me, the best acquisition this season and my Caps MVP.

Harvey has had another solid, yet unspectacular season, for the Caps. While he’s matched his goal total from 2014 of 2 goals, having that calm veteran presence on the backline shouldn’t be underestimated.

There were few moments that wowed and more moments that left Caps fans, supporters and probably the players disappointed. I’ll leave that for another time.