For the last five years the Vancouver Whitecaps have been blessed with David Ousted as their first choice keeper. During those years Ousted has been one of the top keepers in MLS, as well as a tremendous club servant and occasional captain. The reason that it’s time to move on has nothing to do with Ousted’s lack of ability.
Ousted is 32, on an expiring contract, and already one of the most expensive keepers in MLS. It’s rumoured that Ousted is looking for a raise, though it’s kind of hard to establish the origins of these rumours, so take that with a grain of salt. To pay even more money for a player who’s just about to enter the tail end of his career seems a little much. So perhaps its time to start looking within for a replacement.
Enter Spencer Richey. He’s 25, just about to enter the prime of his career, cheap, domestic, and has a very charming twitter account. But most importantly he’s been a standout for WFC2 and has clearly outgrown USL. In fact his play has been so exceptional that it made previous golden boy Marco Carducci expendable.
The Whitecaps run WFC2 at a loss in the hope that it will produce some players for the first team. Part of that is trusting players who do well at WFC2 to continue their success by giving them a chance in the first team. If they aren’t willing to do that then there is really no point in having a USL team at all. Richey has been arguably the most consistent performer for WFC2 in its three years of existence, and if they don’t give him a chance to secure a starting spot with the senior squad, they may as well pack it in. At 25 Richey needs a new challenge or he’ll likely stagnate and never be good enough for the first team.
Of course there’s the possibility that Richey will be a total disaster. LA Galaxy promoted Clement Diop to their first team and he’s been just awful. I don’t think that Richey will be a failure on the level of Diop, because Diop was just as crap in USL. However I do think the risk that he ends up failing is worth taking. We can ask ourselves if Richey is really ready until the cows come home but his age, Ousted’s age and expiring contract, and his performances in USL make this an opportune time to give Richey a chance at being the number one keeper. He may never be as good as Ousted, certainly not right away, but if even WFC2’s most consistent performer can’t get a go in the first team then trotting out a non playoff team in front of less then a thousand people at thunderbird stadium is completely pointless.