With the first contract deadline day looming only days away, it’s crunch time for the Whitecaps’ front office to figure out who will be on the roster next season. Manager Carl Robinson has hinted that there will be substantial changes to the roster next season and one move has already been made official: the team will part ways with veteran shot stopper David Ousted for 2018.
While MLS guards contract information like Fort Knox, transfermarkt indicates there are a half dozen other players who have contract options which must be decided on by Monday. There are even more (including Brek Shea, Jordan Harvey and others) who have contracts expiring later on this offseason. We decided to take a look at the six players with option decisions due in an effort to start charting a course for the Whitecaps’ offseason.
Have thoughts on who should stay and who should go? Who else should Vancouver be looking to move on from? Let us know in the comment section below.
Fredy Montero: We start with perhaps the thorniest contract issue of them all and that’s the complicated situation of the Caps’ leading goalscorer. We do know that Fredy has a year left on his contract with Chinese club Tianjin Teja and that he will return to China while the Whitecaps brass sort out his future in Vancouver. It is believed that an option to buy was included in Montero’s loan deal but the question will likely come down to whether Tianjin is willing to deal and, if so, what the eventual price tag will look like. Fredy should be back in Vancouver next season but whether he will remains to be seen. Verdict: Keep (hopefully).
Nosa Igiebor: Vancouver didn’t bring him aboard just to cut ties mere months later. Expect Nosa to be back next season and, in all likelihood, featuring in the starting XI next season opener. Verdict: Keep
Marcel de Jong: de Jong isn’t getting any younger at 31, especially for a player who relies on pace as much as he does. But given Robinson’s choice to start de Jong over Jordan Harvey at key junctures of last season, it is distinctly possible that we have a similar situation to Ousted/Stefan Marinovic, with the veteran player (Harvey) on the outside looking in. Personally, I love de Jong’s skill set and think it gives Vancouver many more tactical options versus what a 33-year-old Harvey brings to the table. Keeping de Jong around another year would also buy the club time to increase Sam Adekugbe and Brett Levis’ roles, if that is the route they wanted to take. Verdict: Keep
David Edgar: The 30-year-old was all set up to be a vital depth piece for Vancouver, with the team routinely needing to call upon center back depth because of injury, suspension or Kendall Waston’s international duty. Unfortunately, Edgar injured his knee in a freak accident in pre-season and was out for the season. While Edgar could be an intriguing back-up for Tim Parker and Waston, I would guess that his serious injury will make Vancouver think twice about bringing him back. It is also possible that the team elects to seek out a cheaper depth option, which makes sense for the team’s finances but would be a shame for the former Newcastle and Swansea man. Verdict: Pass
Mauro Rosales: Perhaps his most useful service for the Whitecaps this past season was convincing Fredy Montero of the virtues of Vancouver and helping the Caps seal his signature. I would hope that Rosales rides off into the sunset and elects not to play another season in MLS; regardless I don’t see how Vancouver picks up his contract. It would be nice to see him stay on in a Robert Earnshaw/Pa Modou Kah coaching role, however. Verdict: Pass
Brett Levis: I’m a believer in the skill set of the Saskatoon native and think that he has the makings of a decent MLS fullback. White he benefited greatly from his time with Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (RIP), his breakthrough with the first team in 2016 was marred by an ACL tear, which he spent much of the next year recovering from. But, especially if the Caps elect to move on from Harvey, Levis could be thrust into an increased role next season. The pacey fullback is capable in attack and a competent defender, who would seem to fit in well with what Robinson has asked of his fullbacks recently. His cheap cost will also help bolster his case for remaining with Vancouver. Verdict: Keep