Canada began their Gold Cup pursuit last Friday (July 7th), against debutant French Guiana, coming away with a 4-2 victory. Both Alphonso Davies and Marcel de Jong started the match, while Russell Teibert came on as a substitute in the 66th minute. Davies made a strong impression, scoring his first two goals, including the game winner. Canada’s second match on Tuesday (July 11th) saw Sam Adekugbe get the start in place of his teammate de Jong, while Davies started for the second match in a row. Thanks to Davies’ fantastic 26th minute goal, Canada were able to eek out a draw with a Kendall Waston and Christian Bolanos-less Costa Rica. Canada concludes their Group A matches on Friday (July 14th) against Honduras. Despite his strong play, Davies is expected to come off the bench as he picked up an ankle injury late in the Costa Rica match.
What are your thoughts on Canada’s Gold Cup play thus far and the Whitecaps players in particular?
ThunderBirds Reconnect with Former Manager
Former Whitecaps FC 2 manager Alan Koch will be receiving some familiar faces to reinforce his USL squad FC Cincinnati. Vancouver announced on July 11th that striker Kyle Greig will be loaned to the club until the end of the season, while ThunderBirds central defender Sem de Wit was transferred outright. The loan of Greig is unsurprising as he has seen little to no action with the Whitecaps. With the return of injured players, and no non-MLS matches on the schedule, it was unlikely Greig would feature this season for the senior squad. The transfer of 2016 WFC2 Player of the Year is a bit of a surprise, but the ThunderCaps have several options at center defense and it might have been that de Wit was looking for bigger opportunities.
The move of Greig doesn’t do much for the Whitecaps roster situation, as he was on the supplemental roster and thus did not count towards the salary cap.
Deybi Flores Returns to Club Deportivo Motagua
In a move that surprised no one, defensive midfielder Deybi Flores rejoined Honduran club Motagua on a one-year loan, through June 30th, 2018. After several opportunities when he first arrived to the club in February 2015, the 21-year-old Flores has been buried in WFC2 and/or out on loan. It seems the Whitecaps are looking to hold on to an asset, just in case Flores every finds his footing, but I do not expect Flores to feature again for the Whitecaps and, at some point, for a permanent transfer to occur.
Unlike Greig, Flores was on the Whitecaps senior roster, and occupied a coveted international roster position, however, him being on loan this past season means that nothing really changes in regards to the Caps roster situation.
What About Sam Adekugbe and Others?
It is expected that the Whitecaps will make additional roster moves this summer, including more loan agreements. One name that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue is left back Sam Adekugbe. Despite my affinity for Jordan Harvey, many are feeling it is time for Sam to get his opportunity to start. This seems like a possibility, however, Adekugbe played well for English side Brighton and Hove and seems eager to return. With the team’s promotion to the first division English Premier League, it is not surprising that Sam would want to remain, but the promotion might result in B&H bringing in reinforcements that sees his playing time reduced. Will Sam finally get his opportunity with the Whitecaps or will he be moved back to England? Let us know your thoughts.
Christian Dean is another Whitecaps player rumored to be on his way out of the club. Last week, Jeff Rueter reported that the Caps are looking to trade Dean to Minnesota. The move is not a surprise as Dean is on a $202,000 salary (yes, you read that correctly) and is not featuring. He had an opportunity to begin the season and started strong, but seemed to go downhill after his hiccup in San Jose. Combined with his continuous injury issues, it seems that a move may be in both parties best interest; with Dean getting an opportunity revitalize his career and get some much needed playing time.
Finally, there have been rumors swirling for a while that Marco Bustos could be loaned away to Chile. Bustos is an interesting case, as he has not featured much for the senior squad, even when the Caps were without a playmaking midfielder. It seems the squad preferred to play Bolanos out-of-position than give the young Bustos a chance. When Bolanos and Mezquida were both injured (and Reyna of course), Bustos still could not find his way into the gameday 18.
Bustos has only made five appearances with the ThunderCaps, but leads the squad with five goals. While there are opportunities for Bustos with WFC2, it seems that his growth will stagnate the longer he stays out of the 18 for WFC.
What are your thoughts on Bustos and his lack of playing opportunities? What would be best for his development?
Vancouver Whitecaps Make Appearance at All-Star Match
While our campaign to get Tim Parker into the All-Star match failed, the Whitecaps will still be represented. MLS announced today that Alphonso Davies will be a part of the Homegrown Team that will face U-20 Liga MX champions Chivas de Guadalajara. Joining Davies will be future Canadian (hopefully) and Montreal Impact player Ballou Tabla and current Canadian, and Toronto FC forward, Jordan Hamilton. The match will occur August 1st in Chicago.
Those are the latest news for the Whitecaps. Any stories that have caught your eye of late?