After a busy morning transfer window, in which the club acquired Kei Kamara, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced the 11 players they would be protecting for Tuesday’s expansion draft. As expected, Aly Ghazal, Kei Kamara, Stefan Marinovic, Jake Nerwinski, Tim Parker, Yordy Reyna, Tony Tchani, and Kendall Waston were protected. In addition, the Caps protected Erik Hurtado, Nicolas Mezquida, and Fredy Montero.
There were several players on the fringe that fans were unsure the Whitecaps would protect. While Hurtado and Mezquida made the list, Bernie Ibini, Marcel de Jong, Brett Levis, and Brek Shea did not. However, there were two surprises.
Carl Robinson elected to protect loanee Fredy Montero. With newly acquired Kamara and Anthony Blondell this seems like a bit of a surprise. The only advantage to protecting him is that the Whitecaps retain his MLS rights. However, is that really a big deal? In most cases, a team acquires a player’s rights by giving the other team the minimum $50,000 in General Allocation Money.
The protection of Montero would not be a big deal if it were not for it leading to not protecting Cristian Techera. With the addition of Kamara and Blondell, and the possible loss of Reyna, the Caps have shown that they will again be heavily reliant on corner kicks and free kicks next season. While some may argue otherwise, and they would be COMPLETELY wrong, Techera is by far the best dead-ball taker the Whitecaps currently have on the roster. Yet they leave him exposed.
For the record, I do not believe that the Caps will lose Techera to LAFC. I don’t think that club would be interested, but you never know. He is a good player and had a resurgence in 2017 after a down 2016. Maybe the contract turns LAFC off, but if this risk backfires it could be a big deal for the Caps. When the Caps cannot connect on a set piece next season, and Montero is playing in Portugal, we might be sitting there saying ‘remember when the Caps protected Montero instead of Techera…’
What are your takeaways from the announcement. Of the players not protected, which are you most concerned about losing. Or rather, which would be the biggest losses?
Protected: Ghazal, Hurtado, Kamara, Marinovic, Mezquida, Montero, Nerwinski, Parker, Reyna, Tchani, & Waston
Not Protected: Bolanos, de Jong, Edgar, Flores, Greig, Harvey, Ibini, Nosa, Jacobson, Laba, Levis, Maund, Ousted, Richey, Rosales, Seiler, Shea, Techera, & Williams.